It feels like home.
A friend who had seen my empty apartment came over a few days ago and was very impressed - she walked in and squealed and immediately said "it is just like you!" I smiled as I realized just how happy that comment made me. My last "home" was a dorm room, identical to or a mirror image of the more than three hundred other rooms in the building. Sure I had my sheets on the bed and pictures on the wall, but the room wasn't me. Before that I lived for 8 months in a lovely but terribly bland furnished apartment in a town a couple of hours outside of Tokyo. It wasn't the same as the next room, but it had zero personality and since I wasn't happy in the town in general and, from the minute I arrived was looking forward to the day I would leave, I had little motivation to make it feel like home. Before that I lived in a furnished apartment in Tokyo that was definitely not lovely and had no personality either. It was dark and everything felt old, used, and mis-matched. It wasn't me either. Before that I lived in the Girl Scout Centre in India - in a lovely sunny and airy room that I really quite liked. But as much as my name was on the door and I did make efforts to personalize the room, the furniture and basic layout were the same as all the other rooms along the hall. I knew that somebody else had lived there the year before me, and somebody else would be moving in a few months after I left.
As I began to think about where I've lived over the past few years, it occurred to me that it has been more than 4 years since I lived somewhere that felt like "mine." Somewhere that didn't feel like I was just staying there for a while. Somewhere to call home.
(notice the Halloween decorations? Thanks Liz!)
(don't mind the piles of junk)
(a washing machine! I bought my first washing machine!)
(I can cook!)