Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lucky (move) number 13

So I worked out when preparing my "Decade in Review" that I've moved 13 times in the last ten years. Oof! In fairness, most of the early moves just involved me and as much stuff as I could carry (which, contrary to my father's nay-saying, was around 40 kilos). But on the other hand, all except two moves (in Tours and Brussels) have involved changing cities and/or countries. That is, how you say, a pain in the arse no matter how much stuff you have.

The most recent move was prompted by the boyfriend moving in last October. My old place was 45 sq metres (I think? Like my glasses prescription, this is something everyone else seems to know - for themselves - but I always forget), which was great for a single gal plus cat but not so much when Jules moved in and inconveniently insisted on bringing things like books and clothes with him.

So we gave notice just before our trip to NZ and once we got back the hunt was on to find a new place before the end of May. We actually only saw three places, ending up taking an apartment one street over from our old place. I would have liked having a direct transport link to work, but otherwise, we know and like the neighbourhood, so it made sense to stick with this area.

Plus the new place ticked pretty much all the other boxes. It's way bigger, a duplex (two floors) around 140 sq m (although a lot of space is lost to things like the stairs and the sloping roof on the top floor. Talking of which, a slopey roof was, unsurprisingly, not one of our requirements, but we are very pleased to be on the top two floors. As my sister can testify, in the old place a demon child lived above us who loved nothing more than to rampage up and down on our ceiling making as much noise as humanly possible. So now we get to be the ones annoying the downstairs neighbours, with no retribution. The third big problem with the old place was that it only had a small fridge with a freezer compartment. Even the motorhome we stayed in in New Zealand had a bigger fridge! It was a real pain having to shop basically every other day since we couldn't have much frozen food and anything big like a big bag of spinach basically took up 1/4 of the fridge space. Lastly, it met the terrace and bathtub requirements, so pretty much a home run.

New terrace. On, like, the only sunny weekend this summer, in which we spent 90% of the time indoors moving house
Finally, a move with a furniture lift! I'm so easily impressed

Bob surveying the empty (old) apartment. He has been a super trooper with the move! Even knew how to go up and down the stairs from day one!
 A bigger place meant more furniture, so we have spent the last couple of months busily shopping at IKEA and assembling our purchases. We had the idea to get a nice mid-century sideboard and found a few in antique shops that were gorgeous (and expensive!) but we didn't get our act together to buy one before the move, and then afterwards there would be the problem of how to get it into the apartment. It would basically mean hiring a lift, with all the hassle and the expense that involves. So, sadly, we stuck with our all-IKEA decor since that, at least, we can haul up the narrow stairs ourselves.

The light in the kitchen was the worst. Ugly as hell and hung down too low

We switched it out and added extra bench space - the right-hand side is all new, from IKEA (I'm sorry I didn't take a before picture of the kitchen, because this was where we made probably the biggest change)

Then the finishing touch (almost, there's a couple of bits and pieces we still haven't sorted out) was the long-awaited arrival of a few boxes of things from New Zealand. Mostly books and a few paintings, this was stuff I'd left behind 7 years ago when moving to Europe. I'm so excited to have all my old university books back, many with notes and highlights, all reminding me of my student days. I don't tend to over-sentimentalise books too much (it irritates me if you see some craft project using books online, like a découpage or something, and all the comments are HOW DARE YOU DESECRATE THIS BOOK? Yeah, this mass-market paperback of which a billion copies exist. It's not a sacred object. End rant) but yeah, my uni books are still special to me!

It was like Christmas when all my stuff arrived from NZ
The finished product

I still dream of a room with floor-to-celing built-in bookcases. But a wall of Billys (already full!) is a start

My (and Jules's) preciouses
The week of the move, we had just come back from Berlin (I swear, I can't move without sticking an international trip in the mix, just to stress myself out), and that weekend was also the Brussels Food Truck festival. The evening before M-Day, we snuck out after a full day of packing to get some fresh air and sunshine and conveniently have dinner without needing any of our packed-away utensils. Win win! This year, for security reasons, it was held in the Park Royale - which was actually great on a hot day, with plenty of shade and grass to lounge about on.

It was a popular event on a Friday evening

Jules tucks in

Peko peko was one of our favs from last year

Wine and some sort of fried cheese-chorizo lollipop makes a happy Gwan

This is actually a different park. But another nice day (rare)
So, as moves go, #13 was relatively stress-free. It's been fun decorating and fixing up the place and we're pretty happy so far. Signed a three-year lease, so long may that continue!


  1. We need more Billy bookcases, and more Peko Peko!

  2. I love rediscovering all the things I left at my parents' house years ago too.

    Happy flatwarming!

    1. Thanks, time flies, we've been here over three months already!

  3. Your flat looks really fab. (The kitchen is great!) You must both be over the moon. Mx

    1. Thanks, yep we are pretty pleased! Great having lots of bench space (cupboards seem to fill up as soon as you acquire more though)

  4. I agree with canedolia and there are plenty of things left for you to discover amongst the debris downstairs!

  5. I spy nice Kandinsky prints! Not sure about the cheese chorizo lollipop...

    1. I'm so pleased to have my Kandinskys back! I ordered the prints online when I first moved out as a uni student, and got them custom framed for $50 each. It was a lot of money to me back then, but I think I got a real bargain, framing is expensive!

    2. I also have a dream of having floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. One day... I'm hoping we'll have space for at least one Billy at our new place. Love what you've done with your place!

    3. Thank you! To be honest, I was sceptical about the wall of billys, I thought it might be nicer to have different bookcases. But I do think now it looks good! Puts the emphasis on the books since they are so plain.

  6. Your new apartment looks lovely, Gwan! Thanks for giving us a peak inside Jule's and your "home sweet home". :)

    1. Oops - that should have been "peek" not "peak"! ;)


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