Tag Archives: house

In which I’ve had a weird day

Standard

How weird? Well, it was a perfect balance between good and bad…and it’s still not over so who knows what the final verdict will be. I mean, I slept really bad. Like really bad; nightmares, jumping awake for no reason, trouble falling back to sleep, the whole nine yards. Which is nothing new for me. Whenever I’m out of a particularly stressful situation it takes my mind a week or three to re-adjust. It’s not helped by the fact that I’m now moving on from the stress that is the dissertation to the stress that is putting a roof over my head for the next year. House hunting itself, I do not mind so much. The phone calls that come with it though? Helloooooo mild anxiety attack! I’m not joking. Three months’ worth of intensive research and writing did not leave as mentally exhausted as an afternoon of phone calls. It could be that I rely on body language to quite a large extent in conversations with strangers, it could be the whole not-my-mother-tongue deal, could be that I always end up somehow having to deal with people with heavy accents (and the phone reception in my building leaves much to be desired). Let’s just say I did four phone calls yesterday, one after the other, and then spent a couple of hours trying to convince myself that gorging in chocolate would only change my dress size and not much else.

On the other hand, the weather today was lovely for the most part, which meant I could go for a long walk and actually enjoy it. There was a big sale in one of the stores and I got me a pair of shoes for 10 quid. Pumpkin Spice Latte is back! (Yes, that deserves a separate mention, this drink is freaking awesome!) And…. huh! I just realised I didn’t do as much today as I thought! Or perhaps it’s harder to talk about stuff you enjoy -or at least it is for me-. Ok, something else… Hm…I’ve only had to swallow down my anxiety twice today and was mostly successful? I don’t know, I still have a phone call to make so we’ll see about that. Oh! And I  need to prep my bag and outfit for the house viewings tomorrow! It might sound like I’m going on a field trip, but honestly, I  kind of am. It’s a nearly five hour coach ride (which will hopefully be shorter since we leave at what-the-hell o’clock in the morning so there shouldn’t be any traffic) and then a shorter train ride to the actual town. No, I won’t give specifics until I have concrete results. Call me superstitious but I fear I’d jinx it if I did.

Alright! Let’s try that call now. Hopefully they’ll pick up this time… 😛

“I’ll call you later.”

Sure man, whatever! I mean, I only offered to rent from you. Ya know? Offered to provide you with a bit more income?

I’m being mean. For all I know the  guy was in the middle of something serious. It’s just, ugh! I just want this to be over! Never mind historically weird ceremonies! The rites of passage to adulthood that late 20th century-early 21st century youngster have to go through are pretty much the reason we’ll all be suffering from an early onset of heart diseases in a couple of  decades. It won’t be pollution, bad eating habits or aliens. It’ll be too much stress early on.

This is the future folks! Gaze at it and invest in  a good frying pan to knock yourself out with when the time comes.

 

 

 

P.S. Halleluja! They called me back! Three house viewings confirmed tomorrow and I’ll still have some time to explore the town! What do yo think internet? Should I make a travel post about it?

In which I debate house and home

Standard

Synonyms are such a bizarre thing, wouldn’t you say? “House”…”Home”… They’re usually used interchangeably even though their connotation is rather different. I say this as a person whose first language uses the same word for both concepts (and then some). I do find myself leaning towards “home” in preference though. “House” feels so impersonal, a word that should be used to describe a building instead of the (hopefully) warm and fuzzy feeling that is “home”. Yes, I think “home” is a feeling, a state of being if you will, instead of a particular place. It’s being safe and comfortable and familiar with all the quirks that come with it.

For me home is Athens (some parts of it more than others), Paros, Norwich, heck! at a stretch I’d add Nottingham. Goodness knows I’ve grown at least used to this confused whirlwind of a city. But home for me is also fire crackling, swimming surrounded by waves, getting lost in a library, walking in the countryside or a very select playlist on my mp3 (no, you don’t get to learn what songs). I’ve travelled, not nearly as much as I wish, and there have been places that felt welcoming, like almost-homes or potential homes, and places I couldn’t wait to get out of. As much trouble as I have reading (real) people, places and atmospheres are open books. Don’t know why. Must be the story-teller in me. If a place has potential for stories to be told in the years to come, you can bet your glossy pages I’ll want to be there!

What has onset my latest bout of philosophical rambling, you ask? My ever-un-pleasant, ever-stressful job hunting. Word to the un-wise: your chances to get that dream job you’re sighing longingly over are probably higher if you stay positive about it, no matter how farfetched. And what better way to do that than to indulge in some daydreaming of walking around the place you’d be living in (if you’re like me and likely to move), find your dream house (never mind your paycheck, this is a daydream after all!)? I didn’t even realise it at first, but one of the most recurring questions running through my head while I was going through Zoopla ads (after “How far from the rail station is it?” and “How do they get away with charging this much for a hole in the wall?”) was “Could I make a home out of this house?”

There’s a question that’s loaded, terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! Especially in the few cases when, while going through apartment pictures, I found myself mentally assigning places for my stuff or imagining what kind of posters I would put on which walls… I mean, I have no concept how far out of my budget I’d be in the places I was looking (probably less than I fear). I suppose that’s the nice thing about dreams. Unless you’re desperate to make them your reality, you are allowed to be as grandiose as you wish…

 

 

 

But what does it say for me, that my idea of grandiose is a successful job interview, an decent apartment with a kitchen I can cook in (and bake, and have a fridge all on my own) and not having to worry about money by the end of the month or whenever bills show up? Welcome to the 21st century, I suppose….

In which I ponder the word home

Standard

Haven’t used this tag in a while, have I? Honestly I only stopped because I was having trouble coming up with names. I know mine a hardly the most imaginative of titles most of the time but let’s just say that usually they are what takes the most time in a post…. Also, this will be one of my all-over-the-place posts. I’ve been slingshotting between angry and hyper all day. Sometimes it sucks being a girl… So what’s with the title? Lately I’ve been doing a lot of interpreting of (sometimes badly) translated texts and that’s got me thinking of how concepts transfer from one language to another, from one time period to another. To use a hopefully not-cliché example, an elf in medieval England would invoke veeeeery different images than what Tolkien immortalised in his work….

  

Shrink the scale significantly (I love alliteration!) and you have a 20-something student wondering what exactly it entails to call a place your home. Is it where you come from? Can’t be because eventually you leave your parents’ house. Is it what official forms, rather unimaginatively, call “permanent address”? Can’t be that either. Students (or at least Yours Truly) have the habits of migratory birds: moving around a lot. Yes, you say, but even migratory birds have patterns. Ok, not my best metaphor but you get the point. Is it the place you feel most comfortable in? I suppose there’s a point there. But how can you feel comfortable in a place where you know you will only be for a very limited amount of time?

One of my flatmates was surprised at the amount of things in my room when she first saw it (posters, throws, books, decorative skulls…) I suppose that over the last few years things accumulated but strangely when my room was still undecorated, although it looked bigger, it also felt kind of…claustrophobic. Like a box… I guess turning it to an explosion of colours and patterns was my attempt to make it feel like a safe place if not a home. I’ve always been the kind of girl who will curl up under three blankets and half a dozen pillows when feeling down. I still remember waking from nightmares and hiding under my duvet not to hide from the shadows but because that was my little burrow and no one but me could enter without my permission. Ironic that I grew up to the girl who watched Rise of the Guardians and wanted to hug the Boogie-man…

But back to my point…(I had a point? Right?) Remember the inevitable playing-Sims phase when you’d spend more time designing houses than actually playing with your characters. Like this I’ve been daydreaming my first home for the last four years. By no means the castles I used to build in Sims 2, it’d be a one-bedroom flat, maybe with a tiny garden I can realistically take care of, but it’d be mine. Everything about it would scream me, because for once I wouldn’t have to co-ordinate with someone else’s preferences. True, I can only afford pre-furnished flats at this point, but the positive of incredibly generic flats is that you don’t need to work someone else’s sense of style. You get a simple basic (like good make-up) and work your way up. Also, the right combination of pillows, trinkets and fresh flowers can transform a room. I would know…

And who knows? Maybe it won’t take me a decade before I can afford to rent (no chance on buying and I’d like to avoid going in debt for as long as possible, thank you very much!) an unfurnished apartment and really let loose creatively. A girl can dream. Until then, that’s what Amazon wishlists are for. I’d stick to Sims, but unfortunately my laptop is not able to support the graphics.

Do I have a conclusion? Some sort of last minute revelation? I suppose if I were truly pressed for an answer I’d say that home is where you truly feel safe. Whether this is your parents’ place, the tiny studio you first rented with your own money, a mansion or the tiny coffee shop that you go to when you’re feeling down because the owner reminds you of your grandmother (and no, for once the example is not taken out of my life) it doesn’t matter. Bottom line, we all need a place to be ourselves and when we actually find it, it’s just beautiful.