Friday, November 13, 2009

On playing house

I can remember from when I was a kid that I used to play house – while I wasn’t the type to host tea parties for my teddy bears and dolls, I would “cook” in my playhouse, make a little house in my bed with blankets and pillows, or create huge mansions for my Barbie dolls. Even when I played with Lego, it was always about the house. Decorating and making it comfy for those little plastic figures. I think it’s a matter of nesting, and I think (but correct me if I am wrong) it’s mainly a girl activity.

When I first moved out of my parents’ house at eighteen, this interest was revived. Even if the student housing I moved into was of the dodgier kind – including a neighbor with whom I shared a bathroom, a kitchen and supposedly cleaning duties (but I don’t think he knew the meaning of the word “clean”) – I tried to make my room as comfortable and cozy as possible. One year later (after having sworn never again to move in with any man unless he had passed Cleaning 101), I moved into an apartment with two friends from my hometown. In reality, this was to be my first home away from home. The four years I spent in that apartment (with a short break when I was in Japan), will probably go down in history as “the happiest of my life” – the time I look back to with longing when I am a hundred and five and senile. We had some ups and downs, of course, but at least this living arrangement allowed me to nest as much as I liked.

When our landlord needed his apartment back last spring, I decided to make a pit stop back with my parents for a few months, in order to save some money before I went to the US. Since April this year I have lived in temporary homes (even if one of them was my childhood home), and my nesting abstinences are rapidly floating to the surface. Thus, when I was moving back to Oslo where, how and to what mattered.

As mentioned, my student housing experience wasn’t the best. I was not at all happy about the idea of moving in with some random stranger. Thus, the only student apartments I applied for were the ones where you have your own bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. No sharing with strangers for me. However, these apartments are popular (others have had similar experiences as me, doubtless), and first year students have priority. I applied in September, but I have not gotten any replies yet…

Finally, the solution ended up being one I had not considered a couple of months ago. A friend of mine happened to have a big apartment all by herself for a while (actually, for no one, since she’s currently abroad) and thus I was able to move in. It’s a strange experience to move into an apartment where you have visited, but never with the intention of moving in, and especially when you are doing so without the people actually living there present. I’m looking forward to my friend coming back (even though this means I’ll have to move out of the bedroom and into the living room), seeing as I feel like something of a trespasser even if I know that is not the case. In the meantime I’ll do my best to play house in her house, and make myself as comfortable as possible.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think that would be really'd feel a little like a guest, even though your hostess isn't there!

I used to love to play house, too. Not so much fun with a big place to keep up with! :)

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