Replacing things in the new year

18 Jan

I have now lived in China for over six years – it was on November 1, 2007 that I first stepped off the plane in Shanghai.  When I moved here the first time it was supposed to be temporary – two suitcases and a backpack.  I bought the bulky essentials that first couple of weeks – a hair dryer, quilts, a few dishes.

Moving back more permanently in 2008 I had 9 boxes and a rug.  I brought things that I loved and needed and thought I wouldn’t be able to find.  I brought a cookie sheet that I didn’t use for four years, but now is happily ensconced in the oven and my yoga mat – which is still used regularly.

Now I find myself replacing many of those items – all at the same time!

Within the two weeks since we came back from Christmas we replaced our electric kettle, my blow dryer and more significantly my 8 year old iPod which predated my China days.  It feels like everything is breaking at once.

Growing up, things normally seemed to occur in threes.  I would think then that I was done, but we also put a new faucet on the sink – so I am waiting to see what else is going to kick the bucket.

I like the new year, full of new possibilities and I have to admit that replacing things can be very therapeutic – out with the old… At the same time though, it reinforces how long I have been in China.  I never expected to be here long enough for things to wear out.

What have you replaced recently?  Replacing things isn’t sexy, it makes me feel like an adult.  What should you replace but you haven’t ?

How did you start your new year?


16 Responses to “Replacing things in the new year”

  1. Sherri January 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    When I went through my divorce and moved back to the UK from the USA after almost 20 years spent living there I had to start over in every way, not least of all in buying all new electric items. Just like with you, several years later quite a few of them broke down at the same time. It is annoying to say the least and expensive!
    It’s amazing that you ended up in China for so long when you thought it would be temporary. Life is certainly very full of surprises isn’t it?

    • gkm2011 January 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

      Yes, I think about it sometimes, the path that I have gone on makes sense in retrospect, but at the time seems pretty random. And I agree – replacing things can be expensive!

  2. pollyheath January 19, 2014 at 1:15 am #

    As a firm one suitcase and a backpack person (yup, my whole life weighs less than 50 lbs/23 kilos!), I’m constantly replacing things and/or trying to convince myself I don’t reallllly need x, y, or, z. Having said that, I just replaced my dead tablet and I’m so happy!

    • gkm2011 January 19, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      My new little iPod nano did the same thing. It is a significant upgrade over the old iPod – but the other one did work until a week ago!

  3. CrazyChineseFamily January 19, 2014 at 1:25 am #

    I/we won’t be replacing anything right now but after summer we move away to Germany, after living together in Finland for 4 years. We don’t want to take everything with us so there will be much to replace once we find ourselves a nice new home.
    What I realized over the past years: many electronics such as phones, mp3 player etc break down and I throw them away however for some unknown reason I keep the cables. The same thing my wife has been doing for the past 8 years or so and now we’ve got so many cables, I have no clue anymore what they are used for. I am slowly starting to wonder if we both have a compulsion to keep cables of everything we once owned..

    • gkm2011 January 19, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      We should connect then because I am forever losing cables! I have bought replacement computer cords and phone cables multiple times.

  4. Expat Alien January 20, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    I think I have replaced too many things. Time to stop! 🙂

    • gkm2011 January 20, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      That works for a while, but even the most functional things have a shelf life. Toothbrushes for example!

  5. Every Day Adventures in Asia January 20, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Oh man could I relate to this!!

    I arrived in India in 2003 with 1 box and 3 bags. When moving in with Denz two years ago, was rather horrified to realize it took the packers 90 (yes 9-0) boxes to shift all my belongings. Egads!? When? How???

    At the time, my plan was to gradually replace some of the older items. The only immediate upgrade was to replace the old tube TV with a snazzy big flat screen.

    As for the rest of my ‘wish list’…. let’s just say the washing machine has been repaired thrice. The amp and CD player are constantly conking off – Denz is now a pro at taking it apart, doing some magic and getting it functioning for another week. And I dread that my now 9 year old fridge is going to die when we are away for a week with smelly messy consequences.

    Hmm… maybe I need to add a few more things to my “stop avoiding, get doing” list…. It keeps growing since 1st Jan?!

    • gkm2011 January 20, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      I have another list – but when you don’t own the apartment it can be difficult to justify the time or resources to fix it up. Too much stuff!

      • Every Day Adventures in Asia January 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

        Totally understand 🙂 I figure if its stuff we’ll keep, should go ahead. For the apartment, we have it for 3 years so spent quite a bit fixing it up the way we wanted – including kitchen cupboards and a big bookshelf in the living room that obviously will remain when we move on. But we are enjoying immensely so worth it!

  6. sarahinguangzhou January 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I think there’s something really reassuring about being able to move with just a couple of bags or, at the very most, a small car’s worth. I’m afraid I long since got past that stage too.

    • gkm2011 January 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      I agree and replacing can be a pain!

  7. Matt January 28, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    What should I have replaced, but haven’t: my little RCA MP3 player that I use during workouts. I must’ve gotten it at least six years ago. The arm and wrist bands have broken. The original earbuds are gone, the battery life is so reduced it needs a charge every other day (even if it’s off the entire time in between!) and the “control” button on the top fell off, so I can’t stop ‘random play.’ Maybe 12 months ago I could have worked up a half-hearted argument for keeping it: now it’s only still around because I’m too lazy to act. Hmm…

    …It’ll be gone this weekend.

    I rarely throw anything away. In fact during my past few moves, I’ve had a couple of boxes packed with miscellaneous paperwork and items that simply move from location to location without ever being unpacked. But occasionally I’ll look in there and find something I’m glad I kept!

    I’m too set in my ways to do a significant purge. My only hope is to get married: my future bride will just chuck everything. No muss, minimal fuss.

    • gkm2011 January 28, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      Hope you get that new MP3 player! I realized when I moved into this apartment that there were clothes I had brought from the US four years previously that I had never worn. They are no longer with me!


  1. Replacing things in the new year – part 2 (the scary story) | 中国 Jumble - February 6, 2014

    […] couple of weeks ago I wrote about needing to replace things.  I also made a comment saying I wondered what else was going to need to be replaced.  […]

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