There are many meanings for the word ‘static’. One definition particularly caught my attention: “Pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition.”
In the past two months that’s the only way to describe what I’ve been experiencing.
I arrived here in February, completely blind to what was next. The one thing I knew was I had a place to live.
Such a concept is alien to me. I metaphorically and literally left the concept of a boxed enclosure behind. Watched it sail silently towards the horizon, until it became a dot and disappeared.
So, there I was – walking into a teacher’s apartment. Standard issue by the university I teach at. There was nothing remarkable about the decor. White walls, a 1970’s corduroy fabric couch, a little worn and used with teak wood furniture that dwarfed it, because the strong reddish brown tones and heavy wood sucked all the attention from any other piece in the room.
The caretakers entered, turned on the power and I watched the needle on the hot water tank rise in the bathroom – stared at my washer, in shock that I have one again at all.
I watched them remove sheets from the wardrobe in the bedroom and tuck in the corners as they gossiped. I peered out my bedroom window. I have such a looking glass now.
And then a knowing gripped me – this is all temporary.
A teacher lived here prior to me and another will after me. As I walked around this alien environment, trailing my fingers across objects I haven’t fathomed in nearly two years, what felt warm and gooey in my stomach were swatches of my former life I could now hold precious, instead of wince at with disdain.
The feel and density of small pleasures. Delights and homeyness that I can discover again, polish and leave.
My napping and writing nook:
My adorable kitchen:
My pot holder and oven mitt:
My bunny spoon (I eat yogurt with it):
My Chinese washer:
My wardrobe closet:
My huge bed:
The free rice cooker that was left here (used religiously):
A knife rack, also left here from a previous occupant:
The Japanese style bedspread I picked out at Auchan:
The comforting reality that I can now write letters to my friends again:
The mind of expatriates is fluid, malleable, an ever changing way of existence. In that, we can still find pieces of home.