Recently I've noticed that I've done things in my life that I've either barely metioned or not blogged at all. Some small (making pasta for the first time on Saturday with the new pasta machine I've been eyeing for years now), to really, really big things (like going home to Australia for a week, and for all my bitching and moaning surprisingly enjoying myself in a way that I never thought I could have).
The biggest, life changing event right now is that I'm buying my first house. I put my offer for my new place the very day I left for Sydney, back in August. In fact, as I was going through passport control at Heathrow, I had the blood sucking estate agent on the phone, congratulating me because my offer had been accepted. Since the Flatmate is finally moving back to Australia, I've been trying to find a new place to live for months (if you remember my first dismal attempt, or the nest of geekdom that was the second place I liked). This apartment however is different. It's a huge ex council 2 bedroom ground floor flat, about 5 mins from two tube stations. And it's lovely on the inside. A few years ago, a couple of architects had redone it and it's just my sort of taste. Really crisp white walls, dark floors, big bedrooms, and a kitchen that blew me away, mostly because it was bigger than the 3 by 2 foot one I'm living with now.
So why didn't I blog it? Why didn't I say anything? I've been wondering about this for a while, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: I am dead shit scared. And if I don't mention it, don't talk about it, it's almost like it's not really happening... though £530 worth of surveys will tell me otherwise. Scared of a mortgage I'm worried I can't afford, scared of possibly living properly on my own, scared that since this is a ground floor flat my complete paranoia will lead to me never ever opening any windows in case someone breaks into my house whilst I'm sleeping, steals all my stuff, kills me, then uses my scalped skin as a suit to dance around in. (Oh believe it, I am this crazy.)
So first thing's first. Fear of a huge crippling debt: I couldn't work out why people were always so scared of having mortgages, but now, after the sleepless nights of me staring at the ceiling wondering if I can possibly afford to do all of this, I understand where that deep fear comes from. What if I lose my job? What if, despite all my careful planning of my finances, I've fucked up and in fact I'll be able to pay my mortgage every month, but have to start eating cat food because I can't afford anything else, and at least cat food has more nuitrients than cheap 2 minute noodles? What if I end up booted out of my house, having to sell all my possessions to pay the bailiffs, wondering the streets with a shopping cart?
Living on my own on the ground floor: Ever since I've left Australia, I've lived with the Flatmate, so whenever I heard anything vaugelly scarey at night, I'd run into his room, fearing we were getting robbed. I did live in Belgium for almost a year on my own, but since I went back to London on weekends, I never really felt that bad. Besides, it's hard to feel scared when you live in an apartement hotel, with a concierge downstairs. This new place will be completely different, mainly because this is a GROUND FLOOR flat. For the last 4 years the Flatmate and I've lived in a 4 storey block. The bottom 2 storeys are a marine engineers office, and the top two floors are our apartment. There's no one else in our building. You'd have to break into the building first, then the dead locked apartment door, before you've got a shot at getting into our place, so essentially I've been living like that princess in the Never Ending Storey, i.e. in a huge, tall, fuck off tower. And on top of that, this flat has been my home for the last 4 years. It's the first place I really felt at home in, and I've had so many memories here. I really love where I'm living now, and ever time I walk home from work, it feels like the last time and I end up like Barbra Striesand in the "The Way We Were", all teary eyed, singing "Memories... like the corners of my mind" (i.e. pathetic). I'm paranoid as all hell in our current fortress like building. God knows what sort of wreck I'll be in my new flat. They'll find me, sitting in the corner of my new bedroom, tennis racket in hand, trying to pathetically defend myself from intruders, windows and doors bolted shut from all air and light.
Despite all of this, it's too late to back out. The surveys are done, I've got a lawyer, I've got a mortgage. Like the song goes "nothings gonna stop us now". And despite all of these fears (most of which are really unwaranted, and frankly insane and stupid), I wouldn't back out even if I could. I'm shit scared, but I'm also excited. This is how I felt when I left Australia to move to the UK. Scared of what could go wrong, but wanting to find out what is happening next. This is a huge turning point in my life... I never would have missed moving to the UK, making all my friends, and having the most amazing time of my life here, I don't want to miss out this first proper step on the property ladder, on this new home... I just hope I have the courage to open my windows...