When I was eighteen I left home and went off to college. It was an exciting time and I was anticipating the freedom and independence that came with leaving home and being out in the real world, finally! In my senior year I got a great opportunity to finally move out of the dormitories and live in a brand new modern apartment located right by the campus. It had all the apartment specs one could want, including my own room, a washing machine and drier and high speed internet. Life was good! When I graduated and moved out, I knew that it would be a while before I stayed in a place like that again, but was ready to take on some new adventures whatever they might be and didn’t much think about where I’d be living from there on. Freedom, was the most important thing for me, and as long as I had that, life would be enjoyable, spontaneous, unpredictable and maybe even a bit dangerous. I was just getting warmed up.
After 17 years of moving, I have finally arrived, and opened the door to a place of my own. It’s been an adventure for sure, one I never expected, that has taken me through quite a few houses and apartments, across continents and through clogged bathtub drains, mildew, mice-infested quarters, shared hallway bathrooms and kitchens, couches, mattresses on the floor, the actual floor, as well as basements and three floors of stairs to climb. Bed bugs and sleeping bags not included. After 17 years I finally got a place I can say is mine. When I think about my initial arrival to Krakow, I’m stunned at how it has all come full circle. I ended up finding a place 10-min from the center of town and paid about 300zl a month, what a dump it was! I loved that dump though. We had old, stained carpeting, a small boiler over the kitchen sink, whose pipes froze in winter, meaning we had to do our dishes in the bathroom tub. We had old windows that I stuffed with cotton, and taped shut to block the freezing draft, but I was free. We had a gas stove with a gas canister under it and a small plastic dangling tube connected to it so we could eat something warm. I didn’t care. Our fridge worked, that’s about all it did but we had high-speed internet!
As time passed though, I started feeling the wear and tear. With each subsequent move I got a bit more weary and craved some comforts, just a few, that would now be enjoyed and appreciated more than ever before. From dorms to an apartment, from hostels to rented rooms, from the basement to a terraced house and from a 50-year old Kamenica to a 30 square meter studio, full circle indeed my friends. After 17 years since I left for college that day has finally come. After a month of frantic work by my father-in-law with help from wife and I, we walked into our place this past Saturday for our first night, in our new home with a feeling I’ll never forget. It’s indescribable when you think about all that’s come to pass and which has lead to this moment. Pure joy, relief, pride, feelings of accomplishment, gratitude and appreciation for all of it, every single nook and cranny, inch and centimeter. A feeling that can never be forgotten or taken away. I’ll drink to that, hell, I’ll have a couple to that. A journey always has its rewards, the trick is to take that journey not knowing where it will lead. Sthn Ygeia mas!