When I was a kid, my mother used to tell people that I did not like staying at places other than my home. I would think hard, but always fail, to remember the time when I had actually declared my dislike of staying at different houses. It took me a while to realize that this was my mother's polite way of rejecting the invitations, and of course one of her artful ways to keep me under her watch.
Things changed slightly when I was in college - sleepovers became part of some of my relationships. Yet I never felt that I was sleeping at somebody else's home.
Things changed a lot when I arrived in New York one month ago. For the first 20 days, I stayed at a sublet - a studio that belonged to a guy who was studying engineering at Columbia. He shared the apartment with his wife, and the apartment was decorated accordingly - a huge bed, a huge wardrobe, a huge table in the middle, wedding photos on the walls. It was clearly somebody else's home.
Then I moved here, which is a small room in a young couple's apartment - again furnished, and again temporary. Here I have a loft bed that makes weird sounds when I move in it, and a gigantic desk that I covered completely with my stuff. But, no matter what I put on the desk, I don't feel like I own it - because I don't.
So I have figured out the New York real estate market in 3 weeks, and learned a lesson: Wherever you stay, it is important to feel like you're at home. It has been quite difficult to finally find a place that may in time feel like home - it could be a lot easier if I had a SSN or wealthy American relatives - but I survived. That is exactly what I did - survive! I've kept reminding myself for the past one month that I am a survivor. I tried not to complain, to anybody but also to myself, and apart from one particular night when it was too difficult to keep calm, I managed to maintain my dignity. Though I was a bit boring in the first two weeks of school when all I could think of and talk about was apartment-hunting, now, having seen the worst of New York and having found a place that I can make mine, I don't want to talk about it anymore. Maybe just this: Go to hell brokers!
I'll be living off my suitcase for another two weeks, but after that, I will finally settle down and hopefully have time to explore the city.
(It's a curious coincidence that the last time I wrote on this blog was 16th December, exactly 9 months ago, and exactly 8 months before I started my U.S. adventure.)
(Do I need to also mention that I decided to go to Columbia University, or does everybody who reads this -if anybody is reading, of course- knows how things have unfolded in the 9 months after the last post?)