We are moving this weekend, and my mental state can best be described as quietly freaking out.
The new apartment, which in theory we are supposed to be living in as of Saturday, is not yet ready. An entire bathroom has yet to be installed, and there is a huge pile of construction paraphernalia in the middle of the living room. None of the doors have their handles attached yet, which has resulted in at least a few hilarious-but-terrifying situations in which one of the workmen gets trapped in the bathroom and nobody notices because his knocking sounds like a hammer. There is still no kitchen sink.
Despite all the chaos, I still think I’ll feel calmer as soon as the movers deposit all of our stuff inside and I can finally focus on putting my life back in order instead of packing it up into boxes.
This apartment – the old one, I mean – has slowly turned against me over the past couple of months: The washing machine sounds like it’s about to crash off the balcony every time it slams into what has recently become a wild, unbalanced spin cycle. The bathroom sink has sprung a leak from the hot water pipe, and the plumber has informed me that the pipe is too old to repair – the pipe, and consequently also the faucet and at that point also the entire sink – will need to be changed to stop the incessant drip-drip-dripping. Yesterday I opened a window and the handle, which is easily over 100 years old, fell off in my hand. I re-attached it with a piece of a hairpin and some crazy glue.
I thought I would feel sad about leaving this apartment. I don’t. There are some things about it that I’ll miss – the impressive wood-beamed ceiling that’s loaded with history and quintessential Roman-ness, the view out onto Via Giulia, the wavy old glass in the living room windows and the way the floor in the hallway slopes upward, unexpectedly, at a certain point.
But there’s a lot of it that I’m just done with. The aforementioned washing machine on the balcony, to start with; I’ve spent eight years avoiding doing laundry when it’s raining because I’m terrified of getting electrocuted. The kitchen, which can’t exactly be described as tiny in a country where minuscule kitchenettes wedged into improbably small spaces are startlingly common, but is also very far from qualifying as spacious. And the bathrooms – the bathrooms! – with their dodgy plumbing and the overwhelming sense that somewhere within a wall or the floor, a pipe is right on the verge of bursting dramatically.
It’s better like this, I guess. This was the apartment I moved into when I first arrived in Rome, and I adored it. I always said that if it was for sale, I would want to buy it. But I feel like it’s gently pushing me out now. Valerio and I have spent the past year wrapped up in searching for, waiting on, freaking out over, purchasing, planning, designing and gut-renovating the new apartment, and now it’s time for the next step: Actually living in it.