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O.K., I want to stay put now, actually

I may have tempted fate with the title of my last post — damn you, 5ive!

I think it’s rather absurd that this has been the highest frequency of updates as of late, and that both posts have to do with moving house. You probably know about my ~situation from Instagram posts in the last month. I don’t mean to be intentionally weird and vague about it, but it kind of felt like I was slapped in the face and then instead of crying “foul!” I felt embarrassed that I had been slapped in the face at all.

It’s not really a sordid tale; it was just extra upsetting considering that a) I have accumulated so much stuff that I had to move — the selection of which was determined by what was or wasn’t available at the new house, which we shall call Fremont, because that’s the name of the street — and b) we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

Essentially, I was displaced by a man, D, who happened to co-edit a now-defunct journal on migration*, which I found kind of really funny once I found a new place to move to.

Part of the reason why I didn’t/couldn’t really argue my way out of this situation was because I had taken on a rolling contract, which was really more of a verbal agreement, with the understanding that I had planned to stay in the flat long-term (I said, “at least until the end of the year), and his SpareRoom ad had indicated a minimum of a four-month let. I know that’s pretty fucking dumb, but credit checks and housing here is a bit complicated if you’re not employed full-time (which I’m technically not) or if you cannot find a guarantor. Guarantors kind of vouch for you and shoulder the burden in case you can’t pay the rent. As stipulated in many contracts and leases, the guarantors must be a U.K. homeowner based in the U.K. and earn x amount your monthly rent. The last time I had to go through a referencing, I couldn’t get ahold of a guarantor in time for the lease renewal/transfer, and so I had to pay six months worth of rent, on top of a deposit, upfront.

Anyway, so that’s why I thought a rolling contract was better. You go into these things with faith in the people you speak with, really. That they will adhere to the agreements and keep their end of the bargain, like you. After all, he was old enough, gainfully employed, and wasn’t visibly shady. And also, the room was a stunner. The flat was split between two levels, and the shared spaces were on the first level, so the second level — including the terrace — would just be my own space.

I ended up moving a lot of the furniture from my old house, a double mattress, a dresser, a wardrobe, a desk and bookshelf, a chair, an outdoor bench, and a couple of drawers, to the second floor bedroom with the help of Laura (who I miss) and Mark, who did most of the work, even though we’d hired some people. Like I said, I had a lot of stuff. I moved in on the 14th of February, and on the 2nd of March, I was asked to leave by the end of the month.

D’s story is that his partner, who I had met when I moved in because she was visiting from Germany, is moving to London because of a sudden job offer and would be needing the room. This was a possibility that was never mentioned to me. I told him that he was basically kicking me out, and he said “That’s not a very nice way of putting it, but yes,” which made me laugh, but not in a funny-ha-ha way. He also called me a lodger, even though he had claimed to not be the landlord. Based on him kicking me out so a partner could use the rest of the house, him doing pretty shoddy repair jobs all over the house, and also the terminology, I think it’s safe to assume that he is the fucking landlord, which, gross.

I told Mark I was moving again, and the next day, I went to three viewings, and found a place a couple of minutes away that was available on the 14th. My friend, Ryc, from when I was 10!, also helped me out immensely, just as she has been doing ever since I moved here in 2017. I packed up my crap, which I had just finished unpacking, and he found better movers who showed up on time on the day, and now I live in a nice, big and bright room with two girls, S. and S. It’s been rather nice.

I chalked up my discomfort at living in Fremont to not having fully settled in just yet, but I’ve been in this house in way less time, and I feel much more at home. I’ve been cooking a lot again, which I couldn’t do in the last one because I didn’t want to run into him, and his dishes were always in the sink. Everything here is so clean, and both of them are warm, considerate, and funny. There is a Lidl right across the street, and a Vietnamese market three minutes away. So, you know, it worked out.

Apparently moving is one of the three events that cause people the most stress, though that statistic probably changed since the pandemic. Moving during one is not that great, but I am lucky that I still had people to help me, both in person and virtually. I never really wanted to buy a house, but now I can see the appeal of it. Not that I can do that anytime soon, or ever, but you know. A place where I can relax and cook in peace is enough.

Plus, look at these amazing floors.

* rhymes with “schmigrant”