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October 13, 2011

I realized recently that, in some ways, my apartment is the first space that I’ve ever been able to truly call my own. Since 2002, I’ve lived in 11 different apartments and 2 dorms, not including the occasional week or month spent at my parents’ house, and two eventful weeks of homelessness and couch hopping between my junior and senior years of college. I’ve had a combination of 14 different roommates, plus a husband, in those 13 residences; only in 2 places did I live alone (my first and second apartments in China).

The two dorms and two of the apartments were arranged for me by universities; three apartments were arranged by the staff of the organization with whom I went overseas (one with my input); three apartments were found by my roommates at the time (four if you count the first apartment my husband and I shared, as he had been living there almost a year before I moved in); one apartment was really the basement of some relatives. And my current apartment, the last on the list, he and I found together.

The longest time I was in any of these arrangements was 11 1/2 months, in my second apartment in China. The shortest time was two or three months, that summer with relatives.

In some sense, I went through much of the transition that a move involves when he moved out, even though I stayed. I (and my wonderful friends) did his packing; I woke up in an empty home; I had to start almost from scratch and redesigned my life in the new space.

As this year draws into fall, I recently commented to a friend that this will be the first time I haven’t moved within the calendar year. By the end of the holidays, I will have been in this apartment longer than I’ve been in one place in almost ten years. With no plans to move in the immediate future, this is a very positive thing for me. I hate moving, hate the transition, hate the upheaval. Plus I love my apartment. For the first time in my life, I have a space that is truly 100% mine. (Okay, technically speaking, yes, I am still renting, it’s not like I own it, but American landlords are nice in that they don’t just randomly show up at your door with a bag of oranges for you and expect to store a bunch of crap in your apartment. Instead they leave you alone and let you take ownership of your space.) And I really like it. This is an awesome apartment, and I’ve furnished and decorated it to my own taste. I like it here. I feel at home here. I enjoy spending time here. I have my own little nest, and I love it.

It may be hard to see the significance, but the fact that I feel at home here is a big deal for me.

I almost moved out when he left. I remember lying in bed with tears running down my face, thinking about how when we moved in, just after the holidays, we had talked about getting a real Christmas tree the next winter; I laid there and wept, wondering how I could live through the holidays in this apartment without him. That single thought was enough to nearly drive me out of this place. But I’ve come through that pain, and I’m not a bit afraid of the holidays here without him. After all, this is my home.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Charis permalink
    October 15, 2011 3:35 am

    dudette… Im so proud of you xx

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