I just returned from spending four hours cleaning my first UK apartment in preparation for handing the keys back. I ache all over and have to go back tomorrow to finish the job. The UK landlords of that place would clearly benefit from a water softener: the amount of limescale remover I have used, and the amount of limescale remaining, is remarkable!
I only fully lived there for a few months, so it’s not even as bad as it could have been. When I moved here I needed a place to live, and a furnished apartment was key since it would be months before my own belongings arrived here. After four months in the original apartment, my belongings arrived and I had them delivered to a new place, one that was partially subsidized by my job such that it was not a disastrous financial burden to carry two apartments for a few months. But the time has finally come and the lease on the original flat is about to end, and I have had to do the painful and inevitable scrub-down on my own.
Just over one year ago, right before I came over to England to inverview for this job, I was not a happy camper. The job I had taken after graduate school had seemed like a dream but was in reality more of a nightmare. I had worked out my one year contract and quit without having another job lined up (although by the time I left I had several options at least potentially on the table, England included). I was leaving my apartment and storing my worldly goods without knowing where I would end up next or what the future would look like. In that time of real trial, my sister came to visit and quietly and competently packed and cleaned my apartment while I was running around like a headless chicken.
Scrubbing hard today reminded me of what a selfless act it was, and how much she has taught me about the meaning of the word “love”. Part of the changes I’ve gone through recently–perhaps best defined as really, finally growing up in the last year since moving here–includes my fully coming to grips with what an amazing thing it was that she did for me and how lucky I have been to have someone in my life that loved me that much. So to her today, a public declaration of my love in return. We may drive each other crazy at times, we may not see eye-to-eye on some things, but at the end of the day no one has taught me more about love than my baby sister.