View from our new home!
Last Friday, my phone wouldn't stop beeping. This was the weekend that EVERYONE was in town and wanted to see me. And I had to turn them all down, as my Friday was spent packing up my entire life into boxes.
When you're flat sharing, your limited lifestyle leads you to believe that actually, you don't own that much "stuff" at all. Which is largely misleading, and you realise that on the day that you're tasked with the mission to pack all the aforementioned "stuff" into boxes. That's when you're faced with the stark reality: your "stuff" has completely taken over your life.
In my case, I was quite relieved to see how little of the stuff was actually mine. Most of the contents of our 25 boxes, four guitar cases and four suitcases (yep) were either amplifiers, amplifier accessories, guitar accessories, music cables, sheet music, music books and other, extremely space-consuming, things that indicated the presence of a guitarist. One that took his passions very seriously. Really, the few boxes I could claim as mine only were the ones containing books and shoes.
When we began wrapping up (what we thought were) the final boxes on Friday night, we were optimistic. We didn't have "that much stuff", really, otherwise how could we have fit it all in a room in a flatshare? Plus we'd already packed lots over the weekend. We'd be fine.
Fast forward four hours later, 2 am and both of us sprawled fully clothed on our bed, staring up at the mountain of boxes. In six short hours, we were to get up and continue our tiresome yet hopeful journey towards a London home that housed only the two of us.
In the morning, our first realisation was rather dire: we needed (even) more boxes.
Off to Tesco I went (I've seen tweets from people complaining about how expensive boxes are - just go to your supermarket and ask for a few!), when a phone call came in from our new landlady, who'd offered to help us out by renting a van. She was now saying that there was no way she could get the van...but she'd be glad to come over with her car. I froze in my tracks, imagining how David would take the news. No van? There we stood with 25 boxes, three guitars, four suitcases and NO VAN. Cue total and utter panic.
Thankfully, our landlady's car and a friend's car were enough. A few trips back and forth (okay, and some rather heavy lugging) and it was time to leave the busy, dirty, malfunctioning place we'd been calling home ever since we moved to London.
Rather strangely, this was the first time in my life (and I've moved on quite a few occasions) that I was leaving a place and not feeling sad about it at all. Not even the slightest. Will I miss our area? Hugely. Will I miss the park and farm we spent so many sunny afternoons in? Immensely. Will I miss being able to walk or just take a quick bus ride virtually everywhere? Of course. But the room and flat itself? Not one bit, except for maybe how exceptionally light it was (I hate darkness, even at night). This never felt like a home - it was always so temporary. The dodgy, messy kitchen that no one cleaned, the bathroom continuously left filthy by our flatmates, the heating that remained switched off all through November but went on full blast in July - good riddance. It felt like a chapter of my life had closed and I was staring at a new, white, beautifully blank page.
Stepping into our new flat for the first time, watching the evening sun pour in through the windows that now were ours, I felt a sense of relief and excitement come over me at the same time, a feeling I recognised from the first time I came to London, or the first time I moved anywhere. The feeling of something new, something fresh and unexplored, a clean slate...but also, a cosy and comfortable feeling of home.
We took a walk in our new area, went food shopping, watched our new huge TV with Sky (yes!!) and had dinner with the kind friend who helped us move. It was a perfect evening in its imperfection (we don't have a table yet and there are boxes everywhere) and I instantly felt at home.
Three days in and I feel like I've always taken the train from "our" station in the morning, like I've spent all my evenings on this comfy couch in front of Sky and like I've always washed my face in this luminous, beautiful bathroom rather than that dirty and depressing place I used to sleepily stumble into every morning just a few days ago. The house-sharing days feel like ancient history. This is home now. It feels like I've always lived here...but still brand new.
Strangely enough, it just now feels like I live in London. Like we're proper People Who Live Here, rather than just drifting temporarily through an undefined existence. I love coming home every day and I love waking up here every morning. Having a home feels like a dream come true, and I'm left wondering how we put up with living in a shared house all that time.
Or maybe I'm just seeing my new home with rose-tinted specs - in that case, can I keep them on a bit longer?