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Covered in dust, dirt and little cuts and scrapes, I took a look around.

In the matter of just 12 hours, we’d done it: We’d packed up damn near all of our things, schlepped them across town, and moved into a place we’d only viewed a few days prior.


Seriously. Three days ago, we hadn’t even started looking at places.

And in an afternoon, I’d unpacked the boxes I’d taped up just that morning. Everything was in its new place. And already, it felt like home.

Surprisingly, as it wasn’t what we expected to choose a few weeks prior.

With our lease ending and two years already spent in our first home together, we had decided to move on. The “why?” was easy:

• Our old apartment was grand yet utterly unable to withstand Beijing’s intense summer and winter seasons.

• I was loath to extend the already two years of tedious subway commutes.

• We were finally working in the same area.

So the first decision was made for us when starting the apartment search: We had our eye on areas much closer to our respective workplaces.

Other wish-list items included a proper shower (rather than a nozzle that hangs above the toilet, leaving the entire bathroom flooded with water post-shower); a better kitchen and proper table to eat at (rather than hunching over a coffee table); and a location within walking distance of a subway station.

Our only point of minor contention was size. An aspiring minimalist with an ironically large book collection, I love studios, but my partner clearly prefers more space.

Sifting through listings, we found one to view. I was sold at once by the spacious studio we found. Even Manfriend had little to say — as he put it, my face said it all: This was the one.

I mean, come on: Huge windows. A real dining table. Counter space.

My god, the counter space.

(Really feeling my age with that one. Moving on …)

It was one big room, with just enough furniture. And once I’d unleashed my organizational wonders on the place, it all felt … right.

Adding delight to delirium, we had placed ourselves a short walk from great restaurants and cafes. A week of work gone by, we also found our respective commutes a joy. I’ll take a long walk outside over a cramped subway car any day.

Nope, not much to criticize. We had really lucked out.

“I really love this place,” Manfriend said as we walked back from dinner. “So much so, I wonder if we made a mistake waiting so long to move.”

I shrugged, smiling. “Yeah, I wonder that, too. But you know, I think it’s all happened as it was meant to. The timing was right, and we ended up where we’re supposed to be for now.”

Our walk continued, mutual springs in our steps.

For now — and for a nice, long while to come — this place would do just fine.

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