WARNING: This post does not contain pretty pictures. They are only for viewers with a tolerance for messes. They also explain my temporary absence from blogging and perhaps permanent insanity issues I am developing.

Right now we are under Typhoon warning in Hong Kong – signal 9 is issued – 10 is full-on Hurricane. We moved here  one week ago….. looking forward to the great weather that awaited us, after our 2 expat postings right before this one which reached sub-zero temperatures for long periods…….(does the word Russia explain some of the excitement to move to an island and see palm trees out the window?? )….mmmmm……

This is all I can see out my window at the moment. A very stormy sea.

I did not grow up with Typhoons and have neither lived anywhere before where they are part of daily life….so, the gusty winds and neighbors’ facia boards flying over our patio earlier on was quite a show-stopper this afternoon. Wow, nobody can focus on anything else while all that is going on outside. Especially since we have no curtains up yet and live…well…. just about ON the water!  Typhoon Vicente is doing his rounds as we speak and I am keeping one eye on the HK Observatory website while sitting here.

I was wondering whether I should inform the Hong Kong Observatory that they missed the fact that a Typhoon went right THROUGH my house last week. I am not joking. I have never in my life seen a house of mine ever been as big a mess as it has been this past week and still is ! Again….. 5 huge moves and this has never happened – especially not after day 7 already??

This has been the messiest move INTO a country in more than one way !That, after I considered moving OUT of Korea the perfect move – thinking that I have now mastered the skill of dealing with the moving madness. MAIN reason being points 6-8 below although the other points contributed greatly.

“Patience is a virtue”….

“Rome was not build in one day..”

“Keep Calm and Carry on…”

“This will all be over soon…”

“Moves are messy, just go with the flow…”

Yes – whatever little slogan you can come up with, I can assure you that at one point or the other, it has gone through my mind !

Also – the ones that said: “This is insane…moving sucks…..this is the LAST time…. and WHY do we do this??!”

Facebook status updates and short tweets don’t quite give me enough words to explain why I say this, so I decided to jot it down on my blog ! I could probably do 10 blog posts about “How to re-organize your house after disaster struck”, but I am so busy organizing that I have no time to write it down and tell you… I am so sorry for those of you who follow this blog for great organizing tips…. I am failing you right now….but bare with me ! It will get better.

A few downsides to this move so far :

* Before arrival in Hong Kong – gas pipe leak found in the house and handover of the house had to be pushed out with several days. Relief as they did a final handover few days later to my husband who remained in the country, and all were approved to be safe again.

For me and the kids though…

1. A 14 hr flight that was 2 hrs delayed flying in from SA to Hong Kong. Tired and weary before the real work started.

2. Arriving at the  hotel…the room was not ready for several hours. Second time this happened – crappy service, thank you Crowne Plaza Causeway Bay, Hong Kong !

3. Arrived at the house next morning – nanny room and laundry flooded. Too flooded to move anything into those areas. Lots of boxes piled in garage. It appeared to be the aircon but had to be monitored day and night. Nice start on moving day!

4. Landlord came urgently and never left again for 7 days …. investigating and fixing the aircon problem….with a team roaming the house opening several spots – walls, vents and ceilings to locate the leak.

5. As a result of this issue, aircons had to be turned off since day 1 .  We and the packers were dripping in sweat offloading and unpacking. I felt dehydrated, jetlagged and heat exhaustion…not to mention the annoyance I felt for the moving supervisor !

6. Asian Tigers  – I love them, as they have done an amazing job in other countries –  but this time they sent a wise guy with a totally wrong strategy for offloading  and I still suffer the consequences. They offloaded 845 boxes, with no unpacking in-between….. so when it acme to unpacking and assembling, they had no place to turn anywhere….and had to move every room’s boxes out again before they could open them. What a waste of time and energy !!

And I kept wanting to say – I TOLD you so !! I can write books about this actually ! We were not the best of friends by day 3. I suggest, he questions, I explain, he doubts, I get annoyed, he thinks, he does it his way first, I get more annoyed, he ignores me, I demand, he agrees…..and we have wasted another  hour.

7. Day 1 and 2 – purely offloading container. No unpacking staff ?! So, we unpacked ourselves. Day 3 – they sent a “scaled down” team – before they even officially started unpacking?!.  Big mistake – bigger team get called in for the next day.

8. No handyman available untill day 4. which meant  no wardrobes/ furniture into / unto which we could unpack. This one did get nipped in the bud though – handyman rocked up on day 3 mid afternoon……and then could only build the wardrobe the next afternoon anyway – since it took that long for the movers to clear the way and enough space to do so !

He also insisted that I have an exact plan of how each item would be placed in the room BEFORE he would open any of the items??!!  Several calls to their office were required to start solving this problem and the wise ass manager slowly started to comply. A pity that it took him 4 days to start seeing my point?!

9. Our car, our nanny and our dog could not arrive in the first 7 days. Now, we have the dog and that was a highlight…

Still awaiting the car and the nanny….which will come first?? We’ll see….

10. Day 5 and the landlord still here morning, noon and night. Found the aircon leak, replacing and repainting tomorrow. But – New problems arose – flooding in the bathrooms. So, this is also the first time I had to do unpacking “under covers”

11. The landlord and team saw me in my worst possible ….and I did not even care. What I did care about, was when the movers scratched the wooden floor (which was immaculate upon handover!!! ) and scraped off 2 corners of the staircase with a rug they moved in – right the moment the landlord was standing on the step watching it all happen! Not my fault, but I still felt horrible – especially he did not say a word about the movers trampling all over the house making marks on walls and all the rest. Eish?!

12. Differences of Opinions amongst family members on how to conquer the chaos. Let’s leave it at that. Huge stresses.

13. Day 6 and all beds were assembled but due to the loads unpacked on them in one day – no place to sleep still. We play musical chairs and each person eventually found a spot to sleep. Finally on Sunday, after moving for 6 days, we each sleep in (a)  our own bed again.

14. The moving team were still scheduled for today but due to the chaotic state of the house, we have to first make some space to move in here before any more boxes can be unpacked.

15. One more downside is that we simply have TOO MUCH for this house – too much furniture, too much stuff, too many clothes….. we have only ever gone bigger – this is the first time ever we had to downscale – and even our huge efforts before the move was not nearly enough to cram us in now. Need I even go on??!! I am sure you get the picture and it is getting boring – even for me.

Now we are back to Monday and in the middle of a storm. The temporary helper had to go home because of the Typhoon warning and the Palm trees outside that looked so idyllic yesterday ……


….today only blew away my hopes and dreams for the extra pair of hands I had for today.


BUT…..little things kept me going – like the bunches of “fake flower arrangements” I found all over the house, after my daughter found a box of artificial flowers and said that she will make the place pretty – just like mommy always does !!

Good news is – the leaks are being fixed, we can go in the laundry room and start washing !!! 5 people with piled up washing for 2 weeks after a holiday, is no joke.

Good news is – the nanny’s visa got approved and she will be here in a week

Good news is – the landlord is super nice and was pleasant company, dedicated to solve the problem and sacrificed a whole week to be here in person fulltime untill the issues were resolved. Even brought a cheesecake in today as a treat for the kids.

Good news is – I am working my magic and get little areas done. And even the dog is settling in very nicely.

It doesn’t help that our furniture is completely wrong for this house…but that is a post for another day !

Right now – we are in the eye of the storm and I am thankful that we have a home, which I already love living in. Safely sheltered inside with our precious kids…each having a bed and sound asleep.

Soon we will look back and ask – Typhoon?? Which typhoon??….

If you live somewhere  with Typhoons – do tell !! Would love to hear from seasoned storm watchers …or first-timers, like me !

If you have had a chaotic move – tell, tell, tell !!! I will feel better !

If your move has only ever gone smooth – please don’t tell. Not now. It will not make me feel better !

If you live in Hong Kong – tell me what you like here – I can start dreaming about the days when this will all be over !

As I walked down the stairs taking my messy pictures – I also noted these photos and things stacked temporarily in the window sill….and it reminded me of good times in the past….and better times to come..

Chill… laugh…dream…..

Chin up !!! We are going to love this place.

Have a great Monday everybody.




11 responses to Typhoon

  • Nikki says:

    Hi Ilze,
    Well I’m exhausted reading about your week, and I can only hope it is getting better now!? Griffin looks to have settled in nicely and I hope he had an uneventful trip? I really look forward to seeing photos of the new house when you have finally had a moment to add your “Ilze” touches.
    Good luck with the rest, love and hugs to you all!

    Nikki xxxx

    • Ilze says:

      Getting better day by day thanks Nik! Griffin had the time of his life….might do a post on his journey !

  • Samantha says:

    Ilze – trial by fire!!! welcomed to South East Asia…only thing better is a Typhoon Day with no school. All the bad weather can give you some time to organise all your stuff!!!!
    I once went out to get some take-away in a typhoon and to pick up some kids for a sleep over…the car was blown across 3 lanes, kids screamed, take away wobbled but saved by India from falling over…lickety split we drove home and stayed inside for 24 hours!!! Lots of board games – no cable but at least the power stayed on.The kids spent the whole of the next day getting frogs out of the pool!!! All good!!!
    Good luck Mrs Organiser – you should really be in your element!!!

    • Ilze says:

      Sam – I would love a Typhoon day WITH school !!! Then I could have snugged back in bed and pull duvet over my head…now I had to calm and feed kids !! ;-))
      But love your stories and your midnight calls on skype and quick chats are pulling me through !!! x

  • Brigitte says:

    Ilze, it sounds like you are going through a lot!
    I will talk about our move on FB, I am too tired now!

    • Ilze says:

      Don’t we all hey Brigitte ?!! Hoping your move goes smoothly….yes, big big adjustment to the small spaces after our Korea mansions – I know you have to adjust too…but we will get used to it and love it !! Good luck.

  • Brenda says:

    Gosh! Good luck!I know you can and will change the chaos into beauty and tranquillity soon! Regards! Brenda

  • Sabine says:

    OMG Ilze, I can picture the chaos and dare to say now, better rainy days to get it fixed asap!!! Some pictures remind me when we moved to our new home in NL… We also had to unload all our stuff in the ground floor, as the 1st and 3rd floor were not ready… (we had workers doing construction work). So know all about the unpacking without place and remember Nicolas with a 0.5 l Milkshake from McDonalds to keep him happy while I tried to figure out where to start… But yes, after the storm the calm comes and I’m sure you will make it such a great place -even if the furniture is not the right one-.
    Looking forward to see more of the finished areas and Lara’s creations. Thinking of you,

    • Ilze says:

      Sabine, you surely have settled in nicely looking at all your pics on fb. So there’s hope for me sister !!

  • […] So the Typhoon (T1) turned into a Hurricane (T9) soon after I published my previous post. Read here. […]

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