Today we had the lock changed.
Ι have spent the best part of last week going from IKEA to Praktiker and from Carrefour to local shops, shopping for things for the new flat. I have moved several times during the last 13 years, and this time it was relatively easy, as a sofa, a bookshelf, the bed and the triad of appliances (fridge, cooker, washing machine) had already been delivered in the recently and painstakingly renovated place. Still, the trauma of moving made its presence felt: a sleepless first night, pricking up my ears in the dark to make sure no noxious ambient noise would disturb my sleep, thankfully, the bedroom is not facing the street and is delectably quiet; the inevitable rows and tiny disappointments, e.g. the bed being huge for the bedroom after all; the unfamiliarity with the do’s and dont’s of a flat built around the time I was moving from my mother’s milk to more varied foodstuff; the shock at urban noise occasionally drowning your voice while chatting in the front balcony, as seven years in the Outpost upstairs to elderly hard-of-hearing landlords may get you inconveniently used to deathly silence and to your stereo being the only source of sound; the puzzles of navigating and managing a place designed for a small family and not for two “Outposters” (as we have been erroneously and venomously identified by neighbours — yuk!); wondering whether all those badly needed space-saving IKEA shelves and racks will stay fastened on the wall during the night (and the following day); getting to know the local grocer, greengrocer, locksmith, checkout assistant, haberdasher, baker, pharmacist, kiosk owner, coffee shop owner; and so on.
It is the first time I have had a place of my own, of our own, in Home City. This was quite an experience: all those old friends are visiting and spending time with us, and they may even spend the night here, and no parents are to be seen.
The flat is small. It is also, as Jod’s brother claimed, in the centre of the world: all public transport networks (all of them) are at walking distance. It is 20 minutes from the beach, ok, not the most glamorous one, but a beach all the same. We can walk to all major hot spots in Home City. The neighbourhood is urban and friendly and leafy (by Home City standards). The spaces are light and airy (except for the kitchen, which we transformed into a den in fiery red). It is near live music clubs and strip joints and a park. Finally, the balcony gives a view to the One Glorious Ruin, the landmark of Home City. Yes, trite as the statement is, I can see the Athens Acropolis from my balcony.
Wish me luck, folks. I have waited very long for this. And please, don’t envy me. Just come and pay a visit. I will soon buy a shaker, too.