We lived in a dingy, Indian apartment for three years. We shared square footage with mountain monkeys, mice, and mongooses (mongeese?). The pipes leaked but only when we weren’t experiencing water shortages.
We ended up kind-of loving that place.
A dear family member visited us once and delicately called it a shit hole. After taking a deep breath, I looked around and tried to see it through his eyes in order to cut him some slack. I couldn’t. After all, the neighbors were living in tin shacks. Our concrete floors and lumpy walls had begun to look decent to me. My bedroom with the little porch felt familiar the way pajama pants do, the ones you wore after having your third baby.
Now we’re two years back in the US and we’re house hunting. I find that I’m at odds with myself and Husband about everything pertaining to domiciles. I mean everything. I look at ramshackle houses and love them (memory-soaked walls)/find them repulsive (why must the ceilings be so low and the walls so wood-paneled?) I visit new construction and salivate over stainless steel appliances and shiny wood floors while judging these Americans with their monstrous master bedrooms and cocktail party baths.
I decide that I want to stay in the cottage we’ve been in for two years, the one my parents own. The one in which I crashed and burned upon our reentry into This American Life. But it feels itchy, like arrested development. I’ve got rocks in my nest, as good as it’s been.
I am propelled forward.
Husband will board a plane to Africa today. The kids and I will wave goodbye and then set the GPS to look at another house. I will imagine myself in it. I’ll come away hopeful, then worried about money, then worried The One will slip through my fingers. Or I’ll come away muttering.
I’ll find a house one of these days and it will be good. Time will make it a (temporary) home.