Four years….

Today’s post is written amongst the boxes, bags and general debris of my final clear-out of my teeny tiny, much beloved little flat. Tomorrow I hand in the keys and head up north to my parents, before then returning to my new home in London. And what can I say, I’m feeling a little wistful.

I’ve lived here for four years. Four whole years. That may not sound like much, but for me, ex-military brat and then student who moved a fair bit, that’s looooooooooooong time. I’ve lived in twenty-plus locations in my twenty-eight years, so a four year stretch is pretty impressive! It’s also the first place I really made my home – I bought things for it, cleaned it, moved stuff around….

I have so many memories of this quirky little space. The first time I saw it, all sunny yellow walls and tiny kitchen (and I remember thinking, “where’s the bed?”). Long evenings sinking bottles of wine with friends who came to visit, good chats and silly adventures. Learning how to cook on my trusty ancient brown cooker – not just student fare but real food – roasts, cakes, sauces.

I recall a hundred evenings curled up reading, or on the phone with Hannah or Henry or Naomi, or sat at the table writing a letter, or sending a card of congratulations (wedding, engagement, baby, job, home…), or singing along to showtunes because I was all on my own in the big house. Days wandering around the gardens, Bob bringing me fresh produce, Janet prepping flowers for another village occasion. Emma-dog woofing a greeting as I clicked through the gate, all wagging tale and bushy mane.

Waking at four or five am and writing reports, old episodes of ‘Sex and the City’ on in the background. The lonely, lonely nights after late stints at school, stuck far away from my friends. The first Christmas I had Dave, my tree, and the delight of adding a few new ornaments each year (one chosen by me, others gifts from friends and pupils). Listening to the rain on the flat roof during summer storms. The total crisp quietness of winter snowfalls.

I’ve done a lot of growing up here. As well as the aforementioned cooking, I’ve relaxed into myself over my years here, I think. I’m happier, I’m healthier (and 20 pounds lighter), and I think I know far better what’s important to me. I’ve started to truly love what I do. I’ve learnt how to drive. I’ve travelled. I’ve learnt. I’ve fallen in love.

I leave this little flat so very happy to be starting the next phase in my life, but also immensely grateful for the thing things I’ve learnt and the times I’m spent here. And so glad I now upgrade to a proper bed (can you believe I slept four years on a couchbed? :-)).

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  1. Jenna
    29th July 2009 / 11:57 pm

    Hey Claire!! Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog! I hope this finds you doing well – looks like you are on the brink of a big move. Good luck with everything! I loved reading about all your memories. So neat.

  2. Riot Kitty
    30th July 2009 / 12:32 am

    I totally understand – I have moved so many times that people ask if my parents were in the military. Nope – we just moved a lot :)But London, baby!!

  3. Miss Ash
    30th July 2009 / 12:54 am

    Four years on a couchbed??? That can't be good for your back but otherwise the memories sound lovely!

  4. Hansen Family
    30th July 2009 / 12:56 am

    Thank you so much for the birthday wishes today.

  5. morethananelectrician
    30th July 2009 / 2:31 am

    I think the ex-brat in you makes you accustomed to moving and maybe even welcome it as a new beginning.Best of luck!!!!

  6. robin-bird
    30th July 2009 / 4:39 am

    oh claire i am so glad i came to visit you on this memorable day! what a wonderful farewell you have written to your little flat called home. i almost feel wistful myself having met you more than a year ago here in your country cottage 'home'. and in love…that is the very best. and moving to the big city! how exciting! and a new job and friends and music and so much that's new to experience!! happy , happy moving day miss claire :)OX

  7. Band of Brothers
    30th July 2009 / 5:24 am

    thanks for popping by with your sweet words…all the way from the UK! good luck on your journey back to london. worry you have to leave your beloved flat:(

  8. Jon
    30th July 2009 / 3:33 pm

    I completely understand how you feel about the old place. There's one place will always have that feeling for me. But new beginnings are always good.

  9. Tater Mama
    30th July 2009 / 3:36 pm

    Hey there! Thanks for stopping by my blog last week! I have enjoyed reading some of your recent posts and wish you well on your big move. Your bio says you're a teacher. I'm returning to teaching this year — Monday, in fact. Yikes! Our inservice starts next week and the kids arrive the following week. This go-around, it's 5th grade for me. We'll see how it goes, what with a toddler and a 3-month-old at home. I may very well lose my mind over the next 10 months!!I visited London after my senior year in high school and loved every minute. I have a cousin who lives there with his family. They're wild about it and will probably stay there forever!Hope your move proves to be full of excitement!

  10. Bethany
    31st July 2009 / 5:48 pm

    I felt similar sentiments when moving out my last apartment. It was where, after many years of singleness, my future husband and I chatted and snuggled on the couch and eventually fell in love. After the wedding, it was our first home as man and wife. So many memories. As much as I love our new house, that place will alway be special to me.I hope your next home will hold even more lovely experiences and memories for you. 🙂

  11. steve
    31st July 2009 / 10:21 pm

    Moving is tough but the memories are what makes grow as people….zman sends

  12. Rachel
    31st July 2009 / 11:42 pm

    Hey Claire; I knew I didnt come up with "rainbow-farting unicorns" myself, but I damn well couldnt remember where I picked it up from. 'twas you? LOL. suffice to say its a phrase that stuck in my mind 🙂 awesome.

  13. Emily
    1st August 2009 / 2:38 am

    Four years would be a long stint for us! We're on move #8 in 5 years.

  14. Lucy Marie
    1st August 2009 / 2:58 pm

    Hi Claire, Thanks for stopping by and leaving the sweet comment on my blog. All the best with the move. I hope you can make even more great memories in your new home. God bless.

  15. Jesse
    1st August 2009 / 6:45 pm

    Good luck with your move!And enjoy your real bed!!! 🙂

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