Through this experience I started to wonder about the meaning of “home”. What does it really mean? Is it something inside of each of us that we carry to each new place, like those posters that say “Home is where the heart is?“ Is it a place of familiar sounds and tastes and experiences that calm the mind, and the knowledge that those things will be there for you at the end of a busy day? Is it the people around you who make a home? People who love you and understand not just your language but also the things that you find important? Maybe some of you have the answer, I only have more questions at this point.
Now, here in Italy with my love, we are making a new home for ourselves. This apartment is new to both of us…what a great way to start! Neither of us feels territorial about closet space and there is no question whose chairs to we keep and whose do we throw because none of it belongs to us. We have clothes and books and he has sooo much wine. He has a few kitchen things but not enough to make a whole kitchen.
Our apartment has the basics; bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. It has been fun learning my new home. The front door is solid, but it isn’t a standard American door with a knob. There’s a box mounted on the inside of the door with a button on it. I spent a little while trying to get out, because you don’t push the button, you slide it. And the deadbolt has five pins on the box and a rod that sinks into the floor. I feel that I am as safe as I would be in a bank vault with this door.
The first night I spent alone in the apartment I discovered (at 10:30 pm) that the toilet wouldn’t stop running and the tank and shutoff valve are mounted 9 feet off the floor. I had 2 choices: I could stand on the bar stool whose top is a puffy mound of naugahyde about 10” in diameter or stand there and cry. I have emergency phone numbers, but no phone…and was this an emergency if no water was leaving the bowl? So I scrambled up the stool and teetered on the top…I could just reach the shut off if I balanced on my toes…and then it quit running. I no longer sweat every time I flush, but I do say a little prayer each time, just in case.
Our water heater is mounted in a kitchen cabinet. Do you know the sound effect you hear in movies and TV when something spontaneously combusts?? I think they recorded our water heater when is comes on…mmmm phuwump! You do get used to it, but the first couple of nights I had dreams about fires…wonder why?
I like this apartment. The ceilings are high, the refrigerator is new, the bathtub is clean and big and oh so lovely, The kitchen has a loveseat and a balcony. It’s a little sparse but with time and patience it will be a warm home for us to be in. I have slowly been adding little things here and there as I find them. Towels, sheets, dishes, cleaning supplies. Every day I find something to arrange or clean or move, and in doing this I am finding the way to make this a place to call home. Oh, just be careful when you move things, every time I do I find out why it was placed there to begin with…like the blue paint on the floor in the living room that was covered by the bar…