Home at last

April 11

If you can read this, I managed to successfully move everything I own twice, and hook my new place up with internet. As for now, there is at least another two weeks before any of this. I got my little pc installed at my girlfriend’s, keeping me entertained enough not to go out of my mind with boredom. It’s got no internet however, and editing pictures in picasa and Battle for Middle Earth II only keep me interested for so long. Good thing there has been a lot of work lately.

It’s an odd feeling, not to belong anywhere. You don’t nescessarily own the place you stay at, but usually there is at least one room you can call your own. Your bedroom at your parents’, a studio you pay rent for, whatever. However I walk around and am bombarded with this eerie feeling of not belonging there. I can see the world pass around me, but I don’t feel any connection with where ever I am, not even where I’m staying. It’s not my home, because I don’t have any. It’s difficult to explain, it’s a Margritte-esque feeling of being totally misplaced. Of being torn out of context. I have this urge to go home, but I can’t. I’m homesick of a place that doesn’t exist.

Not that it isn’t nice to be staying at my girlfriend’s. Her roommate is off to Mexico at the moment, but she’ll be home tonight. There’s a good possibility she will die of a heart attack when she sees my shit clogging the place. It’s a tiny house, and there’s only so many places you can cram my furniture, including 2 beds, before they get in your way.
My girlfriend should have been flying off to the Phillipines (Chico, anyone? Mtv?) tomorrow and I would be stuck with this roommate for the coming 2 weeks and some. Should have been, because she’s not. She forgot she needed a travelling pass to get there, and between 2 months of preparation no one seemed to find it nescessary to mention this. Whoops. No trip. That is, she is looking to book a later flight, which will cost a fucking fortune, to try and still go. Plans have a funny way of changing, don’t they.

 

She’s a nice girl, this roomate. Cute ‘n all. Lots of under-water jealousy in this building, lately.
However, don’t go into a discussion with her, which is exactly my tendency. Not long ago, we were talking about a 30-something teacher of hers, who left his wife and children for his relationship with an 18 year-old. Her point was, that this man is a pig, and no exception to the rule. Men have hormones, and won’t care about real values or the feelings of others in their pursuit of ass, the younger the better.
My opinion was that you can’t possibly judge this situation just from the gist that we got, and there might be underlying reasons we aren’t seeing. I can’t imagine someone leaving his family, his own children, for some adventure with a girl. Not without other lingering things driving him off. And yeah, she’s barely of legal age (16 over here) but Maynard knows I was this close to getting into a relationship with someone old enough to be my mother and anyone judging us just by age alone, would have me to deal with. It just happens like this, sometimes, and if they’re both happy, why hey, great for them. It’s a little twisted somehow, but that’s no sin.
Anyway! It kept going back and forth, and we got nowhere. All I heard was how it wasn’t just an opinion of hers, it was the situation which she saw clearly and I didn’t want to, probably because I was a guy myself and felt personally spoken to by her remarks.

Now imagine living together for 3 weeks with these clashing personalities. So far we get along alright but then we haven"t spent more than a few hours in the same room. The way I think this will end, is me stabbing her out of self defense or something. She’s got less patience, but I’m more aggressive. Tough cookies, girl.

 

But what am I moving into!?

Back during the industrial revolution, cheaply-paid workers were offered tiny homes to live in with their families. Instead of an appartment by the side of the road which did not exist back then, they made another little street with those little houses on either side. Whole families lived together in buildings no bigger than a few rooms.
Nowadays, most of those houses are old and beaten down, drafty and with outright dangerous electrical distribution. I found (I’m lying- my girlfriend did) me one of these. It’s not so bad really, in relatively good shape.
Gent is famous for its expensive places. That is, I believe, for no other reason than it being a beautiful city. It’s clean, it’s got next to no immigrant issues (which does not mean it has no immigrants), and there are citadels, castles and churches all over, not to mention the old center. Compare this to Antwerp or Brussels and there you have it.

Appartments in or near the center are €500 or more. A month. Studio’s, at least €350. Both come with additional costs, in theory for the maintenance of the building but in practice another way to suck you dry, and they go up to €100. Plus electricity, gas and water (EGW): around another €100 tops. Do the math: I was in for a long search, coming from €150 a month, EGW included.
My blessing of a girlfriend, wonderfully naive, spent some time searching where I never would: right by the edge of town center. I was hoping for something in the outskirts of the city, but she happened to stumble into one of those earlier mentioned houses: €240. Since it’s no appartment, there are no additional "maintenance" costs. Just a few blocks away from the busiest street in town, it remained perfectly hidden for weeks until I called and signed. 3 floors, 3 rooms. Comes with a free couch, left there by the last inhabitant. I wanted to tell the landlord several times how rediculously cheaply the place was, but I was clever enough to keep my big mouth shut.

From 150 to 240 plus EGW, it’s still at least double the cost. And my income ain’t doubling, either. I’m going to have to watch my money, very carefully. But so far, I haven’t had the need to dig into my savings, put aside for the summer or, if paycheck permits, a quad bike in a few years.

 

April 17

Life without girlfriend bites. I knew it already, and I’m feeling it pretty damn well right now. It’s like, a week later, and I’ve been quite miserable about 99% of the time. Sick, too, I can’t remember when I’ve been sick this long. It hurts to even breathe, let alone swallow, eat or speak. Infection in the throat, or something, and it has been spreading to my ears. Fuckin’, ouch. And now, the first day that I’m feeling better, some capoeira teacher decided to take my head and plant his knee in my face. Hey, I missed playing, so sue me. Seventh day in a row, at home with a pounding head. I can think of more pleasant things to do.

Additionally, I lost my bank card, so I’m broke. Broke broke. I’ve been living on the €20 that I could borrow from a colleague all week. In short: staying inside, editing pictures on my pc, mixing techno music, playing Lord of the Rings 2. Sometimes wishing I could just sleep until she comes back, a familiar feeling that I have had the privilege to miss for a few years.

The girl who now lives at my to-be home her cell phone broke, she can’t be reached. I went over today but she wasn’t home. You know what? Fuck this, I’m losing my patience. It’s not amusing, living this marginal life. The boredom. The loneliness. Hearing my roommate getting laid at night. Going to bed 2 in the afternoon because there’s just NOTHING better to do. I want to go home, be at ease, but at the moment, I have neither.

I can feel myself getting depressed, and it only frustrates me more. Without someone around reminding you of who you are, it’s easy to start believing you’re a nobody. Why I have this tendency, I don’t know. I can guess but again, I have more pleasant things to think of. But why I’m such an antisocial bastard, is beyond me. I just don’t want to bother anyone with problems that can’t be fixed.

I think I’ll arrange my mp3’s. Yeah.

 

April 24

The new place (now officially named "The Refuge") has no internet. I believe that’s where the bad news ends.

First of all, I feel better. Still stooped under uncertainty and financial worries, but I’m now convinced that I’ll get through those, as well. I wish I was more emotionally stable but maybe I finally learned that lesson (not bloody likely). And then, it was a pretty extreme situation to begin with. BUT!
Facing forward.

So, I moved, girlfriend’s back, and I am -figuratively- piecing my shit back together. In more way than one, as every single thing that I own has passed the revue once more before being tossed into this house. It’s a delight to see my familiar stuff form a home around me as I work. Not easy though, the stairs here are actually retired death traps and the hole is too small for my tiny couch to get through. That’s bad news and good news, because it’s also too small for the previous owner to get her couch out. Ha. Got myself a free couch.
I managed to drag a bed, a rack and a desk upstairs on my own, which is, in retrospect, physically very improbable. These stairs (read: ladders) are damn near verticle.

Since it’s such an old building and cheaply made, the walls are a little humid and under a thick cover, plaster is starting to crumble. Nothing to terribly worry about, but it means I have to pay close attention where I put nails in if I don’t want half a wall coming down.

It’s raining outside now, and somehow it gives a wonderful feeling. Because I’m not in it. I’m home, not-so-warmly-but-at-least-dryly inside. I’m once again beginning to believe that, whatever they throw at me, I’ll handle it. Amazing what it does to you. You think you know, but you have no idea what it is to be without home.

In the words of Maxi Jazz, "It’s difficult to be the sky without my earth." There’s just no arguing with Maxi Jazz. He’s difficult that way.

Of course, it is custom that people living in a cité, which is what these miniature streets are called, are all good friends and take care of the area together. The problem with that, is that I’m an antisocial fuck. They all enjoy sitting outside and yak about everything and nothing, while I’m dragging furniture. I don’t know them, and I’m not inclined to take a seat with them to yak along. It’s just not me. Maybe I’ll get to know them eventualy, it’s kind of impossible not to. Not that I mind, I do enjoy some company, but I’m terrible at making new friends. Perhaps that is why I’m such a weepy little puss when it comes to the ones that I do have.

We’ll see what time brings. I’m hoping for obscene wealth and dito sexual adventures but I am easily satisfied.

 

May 10

"Shelter turns to home" -Tool
Slowly turning the place into my own. It’s far from done, in fact I think that’ll be a few months still, but it’s liveable and I’m starting to find my own personality in it again; a fantastic thing for me and quite scary to others. My work (yes, still same job) has proven to be a welcome resource for all sorts of things. There’s the usual tape and stuff left behind in catering, but just today I closed a doorway here with cloth used to "skirt" a stage, and I’m planning on decorating the wall with red carpet, which I can draw and stencil on. I might even throw a larger project on there, who knows. On top of this, I still have a Coca-Cola flag the size of a wall and a car bumper from that stage at the racing track we built. Though I’m not sure I’m actually going to put that up, it really is a piece of junk.

In a way, still not having internet is a good thing. It allows me to vent some creativity, which I otherwise put into my keyboard, on other things. I made some decoration using old flyers from my RoadKill party, collecting them by opposing corners. I was just thinking, if I connect them for example, by both right corners, their own weight would pull them into a fractal sort of J-shape. I might try that.

I still haven’t said more than a distant "hello" to my neighbors. I can hear them talking outside right now but I really can’t see myself going out and joining them. I’m just not wired that way. If you think it’s easy being an antisocial fuck, you’re sorely mistaken.
I’m content though. Things are looking up. I had forgotten the tax folks still owed me money so I got a lucky fincancial break, as well. Just in time, too. I started this month with €50 in red, I was already making up emergency plans to keep alive until the end of the month. Work is much better now too, so for now my income is secured. For now.

Things are good. I’m good. Last month startled me quite a bit, things were surprisingly tough. Or maybe I just don’t handle stress as easily as I used to. Granted, things were very different back then. There’s essential differences between the challenges I faced back then, and what I was up to this time. For one thing, I had a bed to rest in after a long day.

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