Remember all that stuff I was looking forward to doing once I started living on my own again? The cooking, the not washing dishes, the unmade bed? Yeah, I’ve only been doing one out of those three things. I’ve been cooking…and actually washing up and making my bed (mostly). Apparently, I’m more responsible than I thought.
The dishwashing situation is pretty straightforward: on day one in my apartment, I realised that I don’t want roaches, therefore I won’t do anything to attract roaches, therefore I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Simple. Every now and then I’ll leave a mug or plate filled with water overnight when I can’t bother to wash it or fall asleep before I get to it, but that’s about it.
As to the bed, it’s also pretty simple. I want to snuggle into a warm bed at nights and I can’t do that if my comforter is all over the place. Now, I’m not claiming that I make the bed properly every morning, but I do throw the spread more or less into place. So on reconsideration, I can see where I’ll likely be making my bed properly when I have that home sweet home I told you about a while back.
When it comes to feeding myself, I’ve been keeping it very basic and simple. I don’t eat out that much because why? So far I’ve been buying whatever vegetables are on offer at farm stands all over town or at the farmer’s market (both of which will be gone come winter) or at the mini mart downstairs and I throw them together however my mind tells me to for lunch or dinner. Breakfast is usually oatmeal with a fruit cut up in it. And I always have bread in my house because fresh bread is the best of all foods ever. The best. Of any food. ANY. EVER.
I’m keeping my meals simple for three reasons. First, I’m not trying to be lugging home a tonne of groceries from the bigger supermarkets on a regular basis – the mini marts are the most convenient so I prepare my meals using whatever I can buy there. If I go on a jaunt that takes me close to the farmer’s market or pass a farm stand, then I branch out a little but generally speaking, it will be all about what’s on offer downstairs for the foreseeable future.
Second, my apartment is sadly lacking in cooking tools. I have exactly three pots, two of which are large saucepans for some reason. Since I have zero plans to buy pots that I’ll have to leave behind when my time here comes to an end, I’ve decided to be satisfied and make do with what I have. When I just arrived, there weren’t even cooking utensils in my kitchen – not a cooking spoon or spatula or egg lifter to be found. I have one small cutting knife. Again, I’m not trying to stock up on things that I’ll have to leave behind or ship or fight to get into my luggage when I leave here, so I bought one cheap wooden spatula that will be my jack-of-all kitchen utensils. My two inherited dinner spoons, forks and knives will have to make up the deficit in the cooking utensils department.
I also find myself cleaning my place regularly. You guys already know that I hate a filthy living environment. I just can’t relax and live in one like it’s no big deal. So although my contract with my employer stipulates that it’s my responsibility to keep the place clean that they’ve provided for me to live, that was a given for me anyway. Other than last year, my living environment has always been clean. On top of that, I don’t want a build-up of grunge that I’ll then have to deal with in a big way, so I clean weekly. That means I’ll scrub my bathtub and bathroom sink and wipe through the entire apartment every week. That takes me fifteen minutes tops; spending fifteen minutes a week keeping the place clean seems better to me than having to really put in the elbow grease for two or three hours every month or six weeks.
Full disclosure: while I’m neutral about cleaning (I don’t love it or hate it, I just do it), I hate dusting so I only do that every few weeks since I have to psych myself up for it. I don’t have much furniture to dust anyway.
All of this is taking place in the context of apartment living. I’m in a middle unit so I have neighbours on both sides. I’m also about halfway up the building so I have neighbours above and below me. I’m literally surrounded on all sides. The last time I lived in an apartment, which was over ten years ago, I was in a ground floor end unit. I had one neighbour beside me and one above. Noise was minimal and not a problem.
It’s a good thing I’m so chill now. There’s noise all around me where I live. To be fair, it’s not that bad. I’ll hear some walking around in shoes in the mornings and kids running around and playing in the hallways in the evenings, and other random pushing and dragging and dropping and knocking noises. I try to keep my noise to a minimum but I imagine that my neighbours hear some of the same from me. That realisation also helps me to not take their noise too seriously. Plus, I think it’s just something you get used to after a while; it’s become the background noise of my home life. It helps that I can sleep through practically anything, so even if the kids are running screaming down the hallway at midnight (which they have done), the only way I hear them is if I’m awake anyway.
One more thing. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in charge of ensuring that the common areas, like stairwells and lobbies, are kept clean in my apartment building so those parts are a little grungy. But it’s nothing compared to last year’s grunge so I don’t let it bother me.
I’m content in my apartment here in the middle of Yakutsk, but apartment living has reminded me of why I like to have my own standalone house, which I will have again someday, somewhere. Not a townhouse, but a proper house with acreage. Apartment living has reinforced a dream I’ve been nurturing for the last two years or so and will help make the realisation of that dream all the sweeter.
“Just as the Lord your God promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will give you a land with large and prosperous cities which you did not build. The houses will be full of good things which you did not put in them, and there will be wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant. When the Lord brings you into this land and you have all you want to eat, make certain that you do not forget the Lord who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.” Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (GNT)