How can one make space to fit the belongings from an apartment into a house that is equally full of similar items? That is the predicament that I am facing now as I prepare to uproot from Penang. I have been mulling over this for a while already. There are simply too many cherished mementos to be discarded or given way in this process of moving.
The apartment has been left vacant for two years already except for the occasional weekend trips that Wuan and I make up north. It is fully furnished for comfort. Little did I expect that Mum would leave so soon. She lived there for four years only. Nevertheless, I believe it was one of the happiest moments of her life. The environment was pleasant. We had great neighbours who were always ready to lend a hand.
The kitchen is full of Mum’s cooking utensils and appliances. There are kualis, pans, stainless steel, enamelled and aluminium pots that Mum used to cook perut ikan and other mouth-watering local cuisines. The kitchen cabinets are chock-full of plates, bowls and drinking glasses that are from a time before I was born. Those are the least of my problems.
It would truly break my heart if I am unable to take with me the items that are currently sitting in the living room which is lined with bric-a-brac that is of sentimental value more than anything else. There are several figurines of the Laughing Buddha and the auspicious Chinese mythological trio of Fu Lu Shou, a tea set from the post World War II era, a ceramic peach tree that Wuan gave to Mum on her birthday in 2002, and knickknacks that hold special meaning in my memory and heart.
Each has a story to tell. They are the little bits and pieces that make up the jigsaw puzzle that is the family history which I am a part of. They are all that is left of the material possessions that Dad and Mum left to me. Given a choice, I would want to preserve these keepsakes in remembrance of the legacy of my parents.
It is going to be difficult to decide which of those items to keep and which to give up. I had to leave behind many cherish items when I moved to the apartment. Looks like each time that I move, I invariably have to leave fragments of myself past behind. Hopefully, this will be the last uprooting that I will ever need to do. And then I read about the camel and the eye of the needle in Matthew 19:24.