Monday, July 25, 2011

My first apartment to my first year at home.

My very first apartment in the city was one room. It had the tiniest kitchen one could imagine, a "galley kitchen," if you're into real estate lingo. The stove and refrigerator were mini versions of the usual appliances. All of the cupboards were metallic, and at that time, there were enough to hold my paltry collection of mismatched dishes and pots and pans. I had a rather large-sized microwave that had to go on a cart outside the kitchen because it just wouldn't fit inside the kitchen.

My parents had helped me move, and my mom spent the night the first night. She took me to Target to get essentials such as spatulas and a dish drying rack. She also was with me as I drove around my new neighborhood for AN HOUR AND A HALF LOOKING FOR PARKING when we got home that night. (As a side note, never trust apartment rental agencies' assurance that parking is available in a neighborhood. They will like through their teeth at you resulting in the sale of your beloved Dodge Neon. You know, if you were cool enough to drive one of those around town.)

My living area consisted of a love seat and matching chair, hand-me-downs from my mom, lovingly decorated with green slip covers. I had a full-sized bed and a table, also hand-me-downs. My nineteen-inch White Westinghouse television sat proudly on an entertainment stand that my parents had received free with the purchase of their last television. I placed all of my case books in a bookshelf that I had gotten when I was a cashier at Menard's. Truthfully, when I first moved into that apartment in late April 2003, really nothing in that apartment was my own.

In May, I left for Europe for over two months. For over two months post-moving in, that apartment sat empty, housing a random selection of odd furniture and belongings.

Yet I made it my own. I got back from Europe and found Oxford. I eventually got real matching dishes. My dad had helped me assemble a book shelf from Target. I got rid of the old table and bought one of those cool fold-down tables that was more conducive to studio living, thanks to Ikea. I bought a new bed (file that under top ten purchases of my lifetime.) I bought a nice comforter and flannel sheets for the winter. Eventually, I got my first job, and the large walk in closet started to contain more suits than jeans.

Four and  half years after moving into that tiny apartment and attempting to make it my home, I moved into a more northerly neighborhood. I got an apartment with my very own bedroom. I bought a new couch and a chair. I bought an entertainment center for that same beloved nineteen inch television. My cool fold-down table fit perfectly into my vintage kitchen. I killed my own cockroaches. (I know, that's disgusting, but it's true.)

I moved again. This time, I bought no more furniture. I had everything I needed by then. But I did paint a wall. I found my birds, and my dad helped me hang them. I hung photos by myself, using my level.

Nearly a year ago, I moved in with P.I.C. While there were some (rather heavily documented) adjustments, this place has become a home. We have hung artwork. Eventually, we will get some of our wedding photos framed and on the wall. Despite attempting to make a home for myself in this city for the past eight plus years, I feel I finally have one.

From tiny studios on the north side to a tiny bedroom on the west side, I have finally settled.

That's not to say we won't move again in a year and make our home elsewhere. Just not this year.


  1. Love this.

    Hubby and I have yet to make a home, really. We skipped the part about buying decent stuff for our apartment and went straight to having babies. Our furniture is either hand-me-down or Ikea, and all of it is broken in some way.

    Someday, when my kids are in college, I'll have nice things. :)

  2. Home is where the heart is. Nice things aren't necessary, but comfort and love are. Glad you found both!

  3. Awww, love! reminds me of my own travels. :)

  4. I love this. I remember my main criteria for an apartment during law school was one where I could stay for 3 years and STOP MOVING. Since high school, I'd never lived in a single place for more than a year, and often less than. I've discovered that painting the walls makes a world of difference toward feeling like home. And living with a husband does too. I hope you can rest and feel at home now.