When I used to imagine my first apartment, I envisioned a balcony, bay window, wine cellar, clawfoot tub, rooftop terrace with a crackling hearth, maybe an exposed brick wall or two, an unconventionally cute neighbor to help me carry my bags…you know, the usual. When I actually began searching for my first apartment, I adjusted my criteria a little. The three factors I considered while apartment hunting were location, number of dead bugs, and price of rent–in that order.
I really like my new place. It’s probably not as cute and cozy as I think it is–sort of like how no one’s dog is actually as sweet and adorable as they think it is–and maybe it doesn’t quite meet my original expectations. But it’s in an awesome location–the square where all the gypsies and homeless people of Nantes convene to yell at their dogs (that’s how you know it’s a good spot), it had the fewest dead bugs of all of the places I visited–which isn’t to say that there were none, and I can actually afford my rent on a teacher’s salary. In other words, jackpot. Of course my apartment does have its quirks…besides all the homeless people and their dogs. For example, I have three sinks, yet no closet. I guess that’s for those times when two sinks just isn’t enough? And maybe the past tenant was a nudist? I also don’t think the bidet needs its own room. I tried to channel my inner Francophile and embrace the bidet room–or seize the bidet, if you will–but in the end I built an Ikea shelf over the top of it.
Speaking of furniture, I built my own. I feel like Destiny’s Child circa 1999. I’m an independent woman.
The bed I sleep in? I built it. The week of cold showers I took until my hot water was turned on? I payed for it. My wifi that works most of the time? I set it up. “CAUSE I DEPEND ON ME.”
But I’m not gonna lie, I do question my carpentry skills. My dresser is crooked and rickety, and if you pull out one drawer without pulling out the one below it, it will fall on your foot and break off your toenail…not that it’s happened to me twice or anything. And it’s a good thing that I’m pure and chaste because my bed probably couldn’t withstand the weight of another human body. I’m not sure a foreign country was the best place to learn how to operate a power drill…
I also wasn’t looking forward to living by myself, but living alone has its perks. For example, there’s no one to judge you for drinking pink wine.
The downside of not having a roommate is being alone basically whenever you’re in your apartment. That’s why I decided to befriend everyone in my building! I left notes on all my neighbors’ doors, just kind of introducing myself, giving them my phone number, inviting them to come over and hang out that night…no one came. So now I’m that girl. As if that isn’t embarrassing enough, the next day in class when I introduced myself, one of the girls in my class said, “Are you the Lucy H*bb from apartment 24?” Yeah, one of my no-show neighbors is my student. Needless to say she’s already seen me in my pajamas twice and my underwear once. Starting the school year off right.