I’ve spent the last week since Lunar New Year trying to make the flat I’m in a bit more of a home. It’s been empty for a while. I dusted and cleaned every corner.
In 2020, and it will sound absurd, I’ve lived in five different flats, slept in ten, in seven cities. Having to move for work then waiting to leave for Hong Kong. I always think of one of my favourite plays, The Night Before the Forests by Bernard-Marie Koltès when the nameless hero says “If I come into a hotel room, it’s such an old habit, in three minutes I make it my home sweet home, with little things, as if I had lived there forever (…) with all the mirrors covered and next to nothing else, to the point that if someone would suddenly give me a proper flat as a home (…) coming into it I’d make it a hotel room.”
That’s the paradox, each place I’ve lived in was different, but using the same tricks to make myself home, they also have been all the same. I’ve always emptied my luggage on the first night, picked a place for my keys and jacket, lined up my books, bought tea and fruit, plugged then hid the cables of my laptop, moved the furniture around – even at the hotel.
What’s the tiniest gesture I could do to make myself home, if there were no furniture, no keys, no tea, no electricity? I wonder.