Happiness is being alone in a spacious apartment


This past month I moved into a new apartment. I have never lived alone, not from lack of trying, I never had the financial option. So far I have delighted in keeping it clean, buying new kitchen equipment and generally answering to no one when I am struck by a desire to wake up and paint to music in the early morning.

I would like to take some time to appreciate the roommates, flatmates and housemates past. The good, the bad and glorious.


View from my kitchen window, observe the ornamental bars over the windows. This apartment is five stories up, no one is getting in, but this is Taiwanese.


First and last my dear immediate Jones family, thank you for waiting for the bathroom when I took hour-long showers. Thank you Dee, my obsessive and overbearing freshman roommate who offered a strong incentive to move out and move on. Thank you Nicole, for the frequent physical assault upon my body and happiness. May the shadows in your corners never catch up to you.

Thank you Heidi, for understanding the meaning of ‘venting’ and cocooning to recover on the weekend. Thank you Sarah, for inviting me out in Australia and introducing me to Jewish culture. Thank you Laura for the sublet from hell, and that apartment of summer roommates in Boston including that cute Irish architect Michael who showed me giving up on your after graduation dreams was ok. Thank you Megan and Irene for making me realize three female roommates was too much. Thank you Lindsey for seeing me through a depressing but cheap summer in a frat house. Thank you Loie for signing a lease and then leaving a month later and inviting Belinda to smoke down the apartment for three months.

Finally to my most recent and beloved Taiwan roommates: thank you Scott for your sympathy, thank you Clay for your drunken apathy and food sharing, thank you Chen for organization and giving up on a lost cause.

I know it hasn’t been easy for my roommates either, all introverts need a little cubby of space to themselves the way every extrovert needs to have an ear to listen to them at the end of the day.

In the past few weeks I have tried to categorize the little joys and little sorrows that are living by myself. Mostly joy, reveling in listening to my music when I want it, eating when I am hungry, sleeping when I am tired, taking a shower with the door open, only wearing pants when I have to.


I have finally graduated from my single bed to a ridiculously large California King?

I know for some, they are not afflicted with a guilty conscience if they disturb someone else, but I am absurdly happy everytime I can be awake and not worry about keeping someone else awake. I am happy everytime I can go to the bathroom because no one else is in it. I am happy everytime I see my table with art projects on it that are getting in no one’s way. Even everytime I see my dinner dishes that I wait to do until morning that will disturb no one. Everytime I temporarily leave an article of dirty laundry in the bathroom where it will devastate no one’s modesty.

Every single time I know that the way I live will not harm anyone’s happiness and every single time I make myself a fancy breakfast just for me. I am happy.


My kitchen has an oven, most Taiwanese apartments don’t even have kitchens. The landlord is a lovely eccentric man who delights in refurbishing with western tastes in mind. The water jug is for drinking water which you get from a reverse osmosis pump, like you would gas. The water in Kaohsiung isn’t dangerous the way it might be in Mexico, but it has heavy metals.

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