Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What an occaision...my first post!

Greetings all,

Thanks to Larkin for allowing me to post my thoughts here. I hope they are interesting to her readers, and that they spark good and fruitful discussion.

First, a bit about why I'm interested in blogging here. Second, a bit of background. Third, some thoughts on "me + Compacting."

First, I'm interested in blogging in the hopes that I'll get some helpful advice! Yep, my family and I need it. When reading about how the Compact Movement got started, I saw something of us. Hopefully you all have too, and we can learn from each other. The thing that rang true for us was that we too are fed up with recycling and other fixes that seem to fall way short. While we've tried our best, we'd still really would like some support and advice from others in changing "The Way It Is."

Second, as you read the posts, you should know a few things about me and us. We're a family of five, and we live in Hong Kong. We already feel "on the path" with The Movement...even if we do give ourselves certain slack. For example, we have never owned a new car. We mostly take public transport, even though we do have a car. I can count the number of pieces of new furniture we've bought in 15+ years of marriage on two hands and still have fingers left. We go clothes shopping about every two years. We pretty much eat at home and cook our own. We do our best to go local and organic.
I wish I could say all of this was because we're so dedicated. Honestly, a lot of it is simple necessity. For example, we eat organic and local because eating food from China is just plain scary. For example, who wants to risk melmine poisoning? As for buying clothes, there aren't always the right sizes around here. (Being Caucasian, I'm a bit larger than you're average Asian, you see.)

Finally, we've been saving quite diligently for a house and for the kids' educations.
So, in the end, I guess we're what's being called "frugalistas*." Considering our location - Central Command for The World's Factory - it is also interesting to compare and contrast the attitudes we run up against all the time. Some of our friends are equally frugal and concerned. Others are still dropping litter from their car windows. Its also interesting to be working with the world's factory workers and see how they live, hear their aspirations and what they think about the products they are making. I hope to share insights and information here! Finally, some initial thoughts on compacting: Its hard. Especially knowing what to do! For example, we have birthday parties for the kids. This year, after getting piles of junk that A) we knew was made of bad materials B) wouldn't really be played with and C) don't have space for, we thought about saying "no presents, please." However, that raised all sorts of questions and problems. "How will the kids feel when they don't get any gifts?" "What will the other parents do anyway?" (i.e. Will they listen?) "If we accept the gifts, can we give them away somehow? And how will the kids feel if they have to give them up?"

Also, I should admit my weaknesses. I said we allow ourselves some slack! For me... I love games. Video games. I do my best to wring every penny from them, but I often buy them somewhat impulsively. I also love coffee. Starbucks coffee. I don't know what I'd do without a little walk and Starbucks break. I am on the quest for the perfect hat. I have more than one (meaning...more than I have heads for), but still wind up getting them from time to time anyway.
I am also on a quest for the perfect messenger bag. (And no...it doesn't ruin the clothes shopping assertion above!) Seriously, these are among the tougher challenges I'll be facing in order to further decrease consumption!

Thanks and happy reading.

("frugalista, defined as “a person who lives a frugal lifestyle but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying secondhand, growing own produce, etc." On Language, by William Safire)


Anonymous said...

Chris, what a great post! I'm one of your fellow Compacters and am thrilled to see international representation here. Looking forward to your future posts... k8

Larkin said...

Th is is so awesome. I, too, cannot wait to hear more!