I seem to have acquired two homes, at the moment, which is a novel experience to me. There’s home-home and flat-home. Home-home is a full semi-detached house in a worn down town, which has barely two streets’ worth of shops in it. Personally, I have never moved house before, so my stomping grounds have never really changed. For the most part, it’s been the same living rooms to drink tea in; passing the same people on the daily grind, familiar faces whether you know them or otherwise; and walking the same corridors or sitting in your favourite seat to do whatever you’re usually doing.
I can visualise my room at home, home-home- bookshelves with all my favourite books on, a big white rug on the floor. Over the years I’ve gathered a collection of my few and favourite duvet sets, and a collection of decorative pillows leaning up against the wall. (Why are decorative pillows so lovely and homely when all I do is move them elsewhere for convenience?) There’s big posters on the wall covering old Blu Tack marks made from even older posters, probably all still bought from HMV. There’s little ornaments dotted about. It looks cluttered, but for some reason I want all of the bits. Even the old glow sticks from that concert (Which concert, really?) that I don’t even notice hooked to the bed frame anymore. I know every nook and cranny in the whole building, and I spend my time there with my mum. I mostly cook pasta and I only wash up when I’ve not got too much college work. Since finishing college, even with free time galore, I was still pressed for time to do the washing but I bravely and strategically managed all the chores anyway. I guess you could say it was a pretty cushy life.
What a surprise uni then was. I cook and I clean the best my poor soul can. I have yet to do the laundry but I’ve spent all my pound coins that I was saving for a laundry card. The kitchen table is stuck down and looks pretty clinical, what with it being stainless steel. (In the table’s defence, we now have a flower on there.) If it is tidy, the kitchen is nice- if not, it is an utter disaster and the meal you wanted to make is truly not worth the effort of moving other people’s pans from the sink to clean yours to then actually cook with your pan. Damn. Nothing homely stays in the bathroom because nobody wants to have to clean it. At least that is simple. Not that I ever thought I would miss the luxury of a bathroom mat when getting out of the shower. (Oh yeah- I’m not en suite. Please don’t make me admit that again.)
But my room… I have a huge window with a gorgeous view overlooking greenery and doggos being walked. Bliss. I went a bit over the top of the fresher’s poster sale and I have flamingo posters to match my homemade bunting (because fairy lights were a fire hazard). I have a collage of postcards with motivational quotes on, or book-related designs, or just funny jokes. Just like home-home, I still have a calendar that I forgot to change for the new month. Unlike home-home, I have a box of biscuits in my room that don’t fit in the kitchen and instead are exercising my restraint muscle, tempting me even as I write this. I have good luck cards on a big blackboard and a drawer full of notepads that I couldn’t leave at home. I have bits of items that were bought for me living away for the first time at uni- a new blanket and duvet set. It’s not one of my old favourites so it isn’t familiar to me; but I look at it and it reminds me of home, and all the preparation and love that went into getting me ready for uni.
“I’ve left it at home,” I’ve caught myself saying about whatever I have forgotten this time. “Flat-home, that is.”
I am living in a flat full of people that I have known for mere weeks. I don’t even recognise my own tea towel. But somehow, it works. Now I’m settled in and actually settling down (freshers went hard), I recognise that this is where I’m staying for the next year. And I’m totally fine to call it home.