Moving was an absolute pain in the ass. It occurred to me, while I was begrudgingly packing my old room at 9pm the day before I was due to move out, that it was the first time in my life that I ever had to move and do it all by myself. The only other time I moved (apart from moving to Singapore from Taiwan) was when I was 12, and all I did was show up at the new condominium, which remains my current house, after school.
Moving by myself was just awful, plain and simple. Looking for a place alone was time-consuming, stressful and tiring. Going to different flats/rooms in a single day, and doing it for five days in a row, all the while noting at the back of your mind the time pressure stemming from the fact that you had to move out by the end of the week - it left me really exhausted. I saw a few places, including single rooms in flatshares (this was how desperate I got), and finaly decided on a studio flat along Edgware Road that is going to cost me £1,0833 a month. Still - my basic criterion was that the new place had to be cheaper than the old one, and this fit to a T. It's really spacious and although the kitchenette is pathetically tiny, I really like that I have so much space now. Two people could live here, even.
The location, too, is fantastic. I am right along the main road, which is surprisingly quiet at night. I have the window partially opened now and I can hear some traffic but when I shut it, it's pretty much completely silent. Edgware Road is also famous for its massive Arab population - it's where people come for shisha (?). I love that I can get actual, proper food just downstairs, as opposed to crappy sandwiches and shit which I had to settle for when I lived in Old Street and was too lazy to walk more than 5 minutes for food. Also, I can finally shop at Marks & Spencer for food. How awesome is that? There's also a big Tesco just down the road which should be good - not to mention, of course, the Arab supermarkets. It would be interesting to see what kind of groceries I can get there.
I'm also a 10-minute bus ride away from Marble Arch, 15 minutes by bus away from Oxford Street, and could walk to Hyde Park if I feel like it. This place is simply brilliant. I'm very pleased with my choice.
I was ultimately torn between this place and this massive double room in a flat somewhere in Victoria though. I liked the latter because, apart from how it's closer to Arnaud, I really, REALLY liked the guy who was renting it out. He was very friendly and we got along and his wife was supposed to meet me but I was late and she had to leave, but I'm sure she would have been awesome too. The rent is also cheaper (900 quid a month) and I would have taken it, maybe, if I didn't have to share a shower. I really dislike sharing. But honestly, the main thing that I felt torn about was that I really liked the guy and I think it would have been fun to live with them. His wife sent me a text later on that day saying that her husband said great things about me, blah blah, which made me feel so bad when I had to tell her that I had chosen another place. Oh well.
Two things that I need to buy for my flat: a mirror (there is no mirror wtf? Furniture is generally on the old side) and a book shelf. I asked the woman who contacted me about the flat for a book shelf and she was all non-committal, and the maintenance guy said that I should buy my own, so I'm just gonna do that.
The maintenance guy ended up showing me the flat, and when I called him over because I didn't know how to open the window (I thought it was locked but apparently I only needed to press the button to open it), he was like, "You're staying alone in this flat?" I said, "Yeah...?" He said, "You need a man here."
Right. Just - no. I don't need a man. Ever.
My French boy
Arnaud arrived at my new flat a solid 2 hours after his stated arrival time. I was getting testy because my room was in an utter mess and I was SO tired, having slept only 2 hours because I couldn't finish packing on time, and I felt really sad and stressed out and I wanted to see him, and he was taking forever. When he finally showed up, though, I took one look at him and all my irritation melted away.
He couldn't believe how much stuff I had, such that I think he was rather relieved that I hadn't moved in with him after all. He also helped me take out everything from my 5 boxes and two suitcases (among other things) and when he was done, the room suddenly looked habitable. If he hadn't been here, I am sure that my room would still look like a disaster zone right now.
I had a great night with him. He had a great night too, I think. We had dinner at an Iranian/Turkish restaurant, then I forced him to cross the road to Ben & Jerry's (Arnaud: I don't want to go. Me: But I want ice-cream. Arnaud: No, we're not going. Me: Okay, we're definitely going. Arnaud: You are a very strong character!), and then we went to this outdoors-ish shisha bar across the road from my flat. Before that we stopped by for some jackets as it was really cold outside and I gave him my ATP World Tour Finals hoodie, which was the only jacket that I had which didn't look too girly. I wore my LSE LLM hoodie. At the door of the shisha place, the bouncer made us take off the hoodies as they were against the rules, and whilst we did that, the bouncer told some guys behind to be a gentleman and let the women they were with enter first.
Arnaud got into a discussion with the bouncer about that. He was all, That depends on the place...in French restaurants...I'm French...
I burst out laughing. I kept laughing as I pulled him in, around the same time he conceded his case (Bouncer: So you should know about being a gentleman, then?). He earnestly tried to teach me how to smoke but I couldn't do it right no matter how many times I tried; eventually I got sick of almost choking on the smoke so I gave up.
The point, though, is happiness. It's holding the hand of a boy who is gorgeous, a fact that you realised gradually, but which you still marvel over everytime you look at him and take in the sight of his deep blue eyes, his long lashes, set against a perfectly chiseled face; it's kissing him in a dark shisha bar, not caring who was watching, or maybe even wanting a captive audience in front of whom to show off; it's laughing at his cheeky politically-incorrect jokes, at his putting a finger in one of your dimples and saying, You have a hole in your face, at his noticing that your eyes became smaller when you laughed, which seemed to fascinate him quite endlessly (Can you still see? he asked). It's also looking at the way his hand closes over yours, his long fingers filling the gaps between yours, the way your hands look gently enjoined like that, and feeling an entirely self-contained moment of happiness - of pure, uncorrupted perfection.
I have an entry from last week to post. I haven't had time to edit it (it's too soppily-written and not sophisticated enough). It's about Arnaud and - forgive the cheesiness of what I am about to type - the way he makes me feel.
At the shisha place: "You make a good partner...even if you have too many clothes."
The problem clearly isn't the amount of clothes that I have. It is the meagreness of the storage space. Duh?!
Ugh gotta wake up in 50 minutes to embark on my trip to Amsterdam. Bleah.