I remember the first time I visited the house after receiving the long awaited keys. I was accompanied by my boyfriend and parents and I cried, like a baby. All the tension from the time leading up to this moment came rushing out. Isn’t it funny how we are usually able to keep our tears in check, but when mom (or any other person you love) is around, they are so eager to get out? The past six weeks had felt like a rollercoaster of emotions. Starting with the joy and excitement of getting the house, which was soon followed by the stress of figuring out the next steps and all the things I had to take care of in that small amount of time: six stressful weeks to get everything in order. Closing in on the official signing day this was replaced by humble happiness and relief. And when that big day finally came knocking on my door, I actually felt far from ready.
But as time went by, and believe me I did spent a lot of time over there (I had been spending all of my weekends and most of the evenings in that house for 6 months straight), it felt like my place more and more as each day went by. I got a tiny bit more excited about this apartment that I would soon call my home. However, I still could not help but feel like my home was in Northern Amsterdam. In the terraced house where I had moved when I was only two years old and where I had been living ever since and grew up to be the person that I am today. That impatient perfectionist who had to paint the door frames six times, and then got annoyed about it, because it had to be absolutely “pretty”.
It’s funny how living at home I used to dream about having a place of my own where I could jump on the sofa when I got home from a long day of work without having to take part in conversion. A place where I would be able to do whatever, whenever the hell I wanted to. To be angry or cranky and not having to worry about the people around me. To be able to binge-watch a whole season of my favourite show with popcorn and a salted caramel chocolate bar on my lap and not being judged by anyone other than Netflix itself.
But sitting alone in that still unfamiliar green and white living room of mine, having to hang out with my parents on their couch did not seem so bad after all. I felt lonely most of the time and tried to plan things to do in the evening which did not involve being inside my house. And it probably sounds silly for my fellow late twenties who surely have been living on their own for a while, either it being in a house of their own or sharing a condo with other students. But for me it is a big thing. I. Am. A. Freaking. House. Owner. The day I signed the contract I felt so mature. This is what adulthood feels like, I thought. Owning a house and paying serious bills. And probably eating dry bread and drinking water for a while…
I recall everybody asking me urgently if I was sure that I had saved enough money, telling me that buying a house was really, really expensive. “Don’t underestimate it.” Of course I waved it away because yes, I did indeed save up enough money and yeah, I did think it through. At least if it wasn’t for the bank acting all hard to get on me in our second meeting and making me invest all of my savings in the house. Something they had forgotten to mention earlier on in the progress. There went my dream couch and big ass television screen, dishwasher (sadly I am taking over his tasks right now), and dining table to thrown famous dinner parties on (I’m just fantasising here), right. Down. The. Drain. But hey, who cares, I own a freakin house!
One thing I learned from this adventure is that there is no such thing as having saved enough money. If you think you have saved enough, you should save even a little bit (scratch that: a lot) more. Especially if you take in account those nasty, small items I had to buy every freaking week, such as paint, pencils and brushes. I remember awkwardly walking around the apartment on the viewing day as if it was only yesterday. How naive I was thinking to myself: ‘oh well, that just needs a bit of paint, and that needs a bit of paint. Let me tell you, it is never “ just” a bit of paint. If I have to count all the money I spent in hardware stores for materials to pimp the house I’d get a headache. Who knew the Praxis app would become my best buddy? Or that the lovely lady behind the desk at Kwantum would ask me if she would see me again next weekend… That’s when you know the house shopping really has to come to an end. And after six months of pouring my heart, soul and a lot of sweat in that apartment, it finally did.