I have a new abode. The daily commute got to me, so I checked out some open flats, chose one, moved, and now live under ten minutes away from my office. In fact, the view kitchen/dining room looks onto the lower levels of the International Teaching Center.
I like my new little nest. When I first stepped in to assess it, I felt like I was in a well-loved space. Maybe it was the combination of houseplants and the framed illustrations, done by one of my new flatmates, that fill a bookshelf.
There are things about living in the stratosphere that I will miss…
But I have a new view.
Ever the obsessive planner, after I found out I had a week to move out of my old flat and into my new place, one thought consumed me:
I have two big suitcases. My new apartment is not on a street but rather on a staircase. And the flat itself happens to be on the top floor of a building that has no elevator. How am I going to get my things up there?
This question made me realize I need to befriend more muscular young men. Eventually, utilizing all my networking powers, I assembled a move crew.
My visions of struggling to heave my suitcases upstairs until I was bathed in sweat and tears proved false. It took only one trip to get my possessions from the car to the flat.
After I thanked my helpers with some ice cream, I noticed how, er, well-loved my new room was. Besides the dust of many weeks, there were some odder substances, like the sticky, honey-like drips that ran down the wall behind one shelf. Based on cleaning the room and purging her kitchen cupboard, I pretty much know everything about the previous inhabitant, from hair color to cooking habits.
When I first started dusting the wardrobe shelves, I noticed a shard of glass buried a corner, then spots of blood on my rag.
Five minutes of cleaning, and already injured? I hadn’t even felt any pain. After washing and bandaging my cut finger, I got back to work. I figured it might be wise to dust the top of the wardrobe, and to my horror discovered a decade’s worth of dust up there, soft and thick like gray velvet. From desk to bookshelf I climbed until I had enough altitude to reach the entire filthy surface.
Oh, did I mention my second injury? I had the ceiling fan on, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off, and was kindly reminded of its presence by a smack on the back of my head.
Don’t worry, my skull is intact. After this interaction with the fan, I took a moment to thank God that despite my utter lack of common sense, despite my tendency to zone out and step out in front of oncoming traffic, to leave ovens on until they nearly melt, to use deadly cleaning chemicals and home pesticides without any protection–to do countless foolish things–He’s kept me alive for twenty-two years without so much as a broken bone.
At long last, I have my new room clean and in order. We’ll see how long the “in order” part lasts, but for now…
In my bedroom, I found a masterpiece of folk art already installed on the wall. Let me describe it: in the background, a sunset glows above green hills and a blue lake. If that was all, it would not be so remarkable, but in the foreground, an admixture of mysterious symbols float ominously, stacked on top of each other: a burning candle, a red plant, a blue amorphous streak, and a green face. The face bothers me a lot, as well as the blue streaky thing that looks to me like a headless woman bending over. But the face. Depending on whether you view the jaw as extending beneath the hills, this person either has the features of Gumby (explains the green skin) or a lantern jaw that makes Jay Leno look weak-chinned.
But until I can find enough acrylics to paint over this canvas, it shall remain, silently watching my doorway, waiting for the arrival of some connoisseur of clumsy symbolist art.