I apologise in advance for the fact that I am ornery. Yesterday I was sad about leaving America. Today I am annoyed at myself for living like a student in England, and trying to figure out if I can fix it somehow. Since I got divorced (amazingly coming up on 8 years ago) and sold the lovely 3 BR house that I had lived in, with all the modern conveniences, I have had 5 apartments. Three were in the US, and two in the UK. If one was to make a list of the modern conveniences in each of them, my current digs would come out worst or close to it. Let’s take inventory:
- 1BR High-rise, down-town Minneapolis. Loved the apartment, hated the job. It was probably 1980s era but full of mod-cons and the views were amazing out the many windows overlooking the Basilica. Moved out to go back to school to finish my PhD.
- Studio, student-friendly Marcy-Holmes area of Minneapolis. Closest approximation to what I have now in terms of its deficiencies, but benefitted from having a shower AND a full-sized fridge/freezer. And a pantry off the kitchen. And TWO count ‘em TWO huge closets. Although no washing machine.
- Amazing two-level apartment in Virginia. Again, loved the apartment, hated the job. It was new and totally kitted out including an extra half-bath upstairs where my study was, with my books and my computer, in a room over-looking the main living room with windows about ten feet high. Washer/dryer, dishwasher, the works. Bedroom was so big I used a divider to split off a separate music room.
- Temporary furnished flat in England, at least it had a shower. Barely worth mentioning since I was there only three months or so.
- Current one-bedroom digs in the UK. Only improvement on my student accommodations near Dinkytown is that it has a washing machine and an actual bedroom. But lacks a shower, of course has no mixer taps, no garbage disposal, no closets, no dishwasher, a washer but no dryer, a dorm fridge with a mini-freezer, and generally makes me feel like I am not a grown-up. And oh yeah it’s only big enough for a twin bed in the bedroom, due to the need to take up floor-space with wardrobes, which also makes me feel like not a grown-up.
What can I do? I know that not all British flats are completely devoid of mod-cons. I assume that not all British people live without a shower and are okay with it. I have been working in the UK for nearly 3 years, and thus feel quite annoyed that I am living like an impoverished student. Although I love and adore my job 89 or so percent of the time, I have been increasingly realizing that I can’t keep going home to my flat without being increasingly depressed. And as I basked a long and luxurious shower this morning, ahead of my departure for the UK tonight, I started wondering if it is showers that have been driving my near-constant travel this summer. Living out of a suitcase may suck, but living out of a suitcase and getting to shower every single day? Priceless. Funny how the simplest of things that one takes for granted becomes the most important thing in your thinking when deprived of it. Of course, if I vacated my job-subsidized flat and had to pay market rates for a 1 BR flat near where I work, I could say good-bye to ever being able to travel anywhere again. I can’t quite figure my way out of this particular pickle. But it is definitely starting to wear on me, so I’m going to have to figure something out soon.