I am a youngin’, fresh out of a college that provided housing for all four years, so this is my first time signing a lease, having a landlord, and being responsible for setting up all the systems I have always taken for granted. I know that moving is a serious pain for everyone, but I can’t help but wonder: is it this hard because I’m a first-timer, or particularly because it’s Ireland? It has to be a bit of both.
The cute house in a cul-de-sac that backs onto the Luas line was less charming when we moved in last Friday than it had been when we looked it a week and a half before. For starters, it very quickly became very obvious that it had not been cleaned.
There are three of us, friends from first year. Myself the American, Maeve the English girl, and Danny the Wicklow boy. The plan had been for us three to live together in second year, but then I ended up leaving Ireland. The two of them were housemates for the next two years and stayed friends all through college, and now we’re finally in one house together, almost four years later.
Read more: How I fell in love with Ireland and finally moved there
We attacked the kitchen first, spending three hours scrubbing everything we could get our hands on. There is no fan above the stove (nor a light), so the walls were covered in grease. The drawers were full of old crumbs and the seam between the walls and floors was a crunchy layer of dirt and old food. Maeve rubbed away at the front of the cabinets and came away with a black rag. Standing on the countertop to wipe away dust from the top of those cabinets, I found atop them a bag full of change, some instruction manuals in German, an old rusty mouse trap, and two porn DVDs stashed away! We threw the DVDs away (sticky with grease) and left the rest – there was just too much.
We thought there was going to be Internet all set up. No. Do we have bins? No. Working heat? No. Things we did have, besides the hidden porn, included: a full set of cutlery; a very dented and warped frying pan; four steamers (honestly, who needs more than one?); a hoover (win); a soccer ball; a rugby ball; a star-shaped sign that reads “Do Not Disturb – Hungover;” assorted mugs, glasses, and plates; a wind chime; a teapot with no lid; and half a bottle of whiskey.
Halfway through that first day of cleaning, the maintenance man showed up and deposited a broken oven in our little back garden. I spent over an hour on hands and knees in the bathroom this morning, scrubbing at blackened grouting with bleach. My reward was my first shower, only to discover that the water pressure is the kind that means it takes a solid two minutes just to get fully wet.The only storage in my room is one very rickety wardrobe, and my windowsill is stained with rings from mugs and glasses that I just can’t get rid of.
Of course, it is not all bad. And once we get everything sorted out and put together it’s going to be lovely. We have lots of natural light, and now that it’s clean the kitchen is actually rather cute. We have a great sturdy wooden table, and it’s one of those perfect ones that has a bar to rest your feet on as you sit and drink tea. My window looks out over our little gravelly back garden and the Luas track (I love hearing the Luas swish by at night). The house feels completely safe, and there are no scary nighttime noises. The walk there is along a really pretty street with nice houses and well-maintained gardens.
For now I’m still slinking back to Kev’s house for comfort (and internet and television), but in time, my new house will feel like home. Right?