After over a month of living in my very unfurnished apartment, my mom showed up the other week with her magical minivan full of furniture and power tools and other fun stuff. And now I don’t have to eat my breakfast while sitting on an air mattress.
That’s how you know you’re living the adult life, you guys. When your living room stops resembling a campsite.
I know I already gave you a photo tour of my new apartment a few weeks ago, but I thought I’d show you around again all proper-like. You know, now that I have furniture that doesn’t require an air pump to blow up.
So let’s do this thing.
Why don’t we?
The I-Actually-Have-Stuff-Now Apartment TourFirst of all, because I know you have probably all been dying of anticipation, I present to you: my couch!
Sure, it may not be as fabulously orange and as ridiculously massive as my couch in China. But it’s comfy and just the right size for my teeny-tiny apartment.
And the upholstery reminds me of argyle socks. So there’s that.
Plus, it was free! And if there’s one thing I really like in a couch, it’s free.
Also free: this super comfy chair and ottoman!
And even more free: this dining room table! Which I have yet to use for actual dining purposes because I’m an animal and I eat all my meals over my laptop.The reason why all this stuff was free is because my mom has this little habit of picking through trash piles for furniture which she then refinishes.
This was not a habit of hers that I was particularly fond of back when I was a kid. Especially when she would force me out of the car to help her haul an armchair out of someone’s trash when all I wanted was a ride to the mall.
My attitude towards my mother’s dumpster-diving ways has definitely changed since then. Probably because as her broke-ass adult daughter, I’ve found myself reaping the benefits. And by benefits, I mean “free couches,” of course.
I’ve even found myself driving really slowly on large throw-out days, peering at everyone’s trash heaps, because I am my mother’s daughter and THERE MIGHT BE SOME GOOD STUFF IN THERE. NOW STOP GIVING ME LIP AND GET OUT OF THE CAR AND HELP ME HAUL THIS ARMCHAIR OUT OF THE TRASH, YOUNG LADY.
Ahem, where were we?
Oh yes, stuff!Along with showing up with all the fabulously free and new-to-me stuff, my mom also showed up with a whole bunch of boxes of old-to-me stuff – things of mine which have been hanging out in her basement since I moved to Asia.
This is also how you know you’re living the adult life. When your parents show up at your new place bearing boxes full of your old crap that’s been sitting in their storage for the past half a decade or so.
After years of relative minimalism as the result of traveling and temporary living situations, I have to say I’m really enjoying being surrounded by all my old stuff again — including a whole bunch of old stuff I kind of forgot I owned.
Like, this brass tea table from Morocco.
The very same tea table which I had to haul around with me during a two-month-long backpacking trip through Morocco and Spain and then Portugal. Let’s just say that if a Moroccan tea table salesman ever tries to sell you a tea table and then assures you that you will have “no problem” shipping it home, you will have problems.
Speaking of fun travel souvenirs, did I ever tell you about the time I lived in the Brazilian Amazon for a year and came home with a duffle bag full of dried piranhas and jewelry made out of feathers from what’s probably some kind of endangered Amazonian bird?
Or that time I went to Thailand and came home with a metal purse? Because haven’t you ever stood in a crowded market stall and thought to yourself, “Geez, Louise, that’s what my life is missing! A metal purse!”
Or that time I went to Nepal and bought a billion bangles which I never ever wear because I have very undainty, non-Nepalese wrists and I basically have to grease down my entire arm to get them on.
Or that time I lived in Japan and bought ALL THE THINGS. Because, you guys, who doesn’t need a miniature temple gate of her very own?
And a sake set. Okay, sure, I don’t drink sake, but still I NEEDED IT.
Also totally necessary: a bottle opener in the shape of Buddha.
And door-curtains! Because CURTAINS FOR YOUR DOORS, YOU GUYS.
Antique colored glass from my great grandmother.
A stained glass window decoration that my grandfather made.
A pin in the shape of a feather with itsy bitsy seed pearls that reminds me of my grandmother. I’m not even entirely sure if it was my grandmother’s. It just reminds me of something she would wear, so I like having it around.
But I also know that these things have been making me supremely happy.
Probably because all these things – these new and old things – remind me of all the new and old people in my life.
They remind me of my parents and grandparents.
They remind me of my nieces and nephews, who know that the key to my heart is basically anything bedazzled.
They remind me of my friends near and far.
They remind me of my students past and present.
They remind me of the wonderful supervisor I worked with during my first year of teaching in Japan, who let me pick out anything I wanted for my going away present, and I, of course, picked door curtains. BECAUSE DOOR CURTAINS.
They remind me of the woman who ran the orphanage where I volunteered in Nepal. Who called me “little sister” even though I was a year older than her. And who showed me how to shove an armful of glass bangles on to my very undainty and very non-Nepalese wrists.
And, of course, they remind me of a certain Moroccan tea table salesman. Who told me I would have no problem shipping a certain Moroccan tea table home.
Let’s just say, there were problems.What favorite travel souvenir or family memento makes you supremely happy every time you look at it?