Sunday, August 26, 2007

first night in the new place

My contract at the old apartment technically ended on Wednesday, but Claire and I were able to stay there a few extra nights because the new tenants had not yet moved in. But every day that we stayed it felt a little weirder, because all of our stuff was packed and we were living out of suitcases, the place looked empty and felt suddenly strange. As hard as it is to admit it, that place is no longer our home. So we decided to stay at my new apartment tonight.

I am sitting on a chair that sort of feels like it might fall apart, in front of a table that seems to enjoy swaying as well. To my left is the linoleum-floored kitchen with dark wood cabinets and a microwave that is so old it has knobs, including one for setting the temperature. Claire says that the apartment looks and feels very eighties; I think I will call it vintage. Most of my belongings are piled up in the living room, where there is a fireplace that the landlords do not guarantee will work (seriously, that is in my contract), and on the wall opposite where I sit, a sliding glass door that does not really slide but rather prefers to stay put, opens, with some effort, onto a little balcony where we will probably rig up a hammock or two (between the two of us we own five). The view from the balcony, and from all the windows on that side of the apartment, is largely populated by the foliage of three or four cottonwood trees, and if you peer between the leaves you can glimpse the Wasatch mountains, which take on a lovely alpenglow at dusk.

The house I grew up in backs up to a wooded lot, and in the summer it is so thick with green growth that you cannot even see the houses on the next street over, and you almost forget that it is not an unexplored wilderness. I have always felt an affinity for my chlorophyll-bearing neighbors, and I cannot help but feel a bit disappointed by the relative lack of greenness here in Utah. Don't get me wrong, the landscape here truly is awe-inspiring, and whenever I leave I find it difficult to adjust to the absence of the mountains, but all the same, since I moved here I have felt a certain emptiness where for my first eighteen years I had found a panoramic view of green trees just outside my back door. Needless to say, it was not with little joy that I found the trees outside my new apartment. Their presence should make this place feel a little bit like home, even if only one of the four toilets is working properly right now.

So we have a few maintenance issues to have taken care of. But Becky has given us an area rug to break up the ugly dark blue carpet, and Ikea is going to help us with the terribly inadequate lighting in place. And if nobody else moves in, we will get to have a library and a yoga room, both of which can double as guestrooms. There is a lot of furniture that we need to shuffle around, and of course I need to unpack the little mountain of stuff that I so carefully packed just a few days ago. We still need to move in the rest of Vanessa's stuff, and the walls are just screaming for something more visually stimulating than expanses of textured off-white paint. So there is a lot to do to make this place start feeling like a home. I know that it will take some time to get used to it; it will be very different from what I have known and come to take for granted during the past few years. But with some diligence and patience and a lot of faith, I think I will like it.


rantipoler said...

I'll come live in your yoga room! I'll be the mat. Wait, that sounds weird. Never mind.

emily said...

it turns out we don't get a yoga room because the apartment filled up, but otherwise you would be totally welcome. well, you are still welcome, you just can't be the yoga mat.