Three more nights in my old home, then I will be gone.
It is strange to leave a house after more than 12 years. It has grown on me like a second skin. I look out of the windows and know the neighbours and their habits. There is a Lutheran pastor living opposite of me, who often works at his computer till midnight. His son learns to play the trumpet since three years (without much success, as my tortured ears can testify to). In the next house, two women share a flat on the top floor. One of them always stays up until at least 3 o'clock every night, watching TV in a room that is painted a bright turquoise and stuffed with brightly coloured furniture, so that it looks like a fishbowl from the outside. In yet another house, an Italian woman lives on the ground floor. She always dyes her short, bristly hair in a curious coppery purple shade, and she likes to sit by the window and watch people in the street.
The inside of my old house is so familiar to me, I can (and do) navigate it blindly. Some nights I get up from my sofa or desk, switch the upstairs lights off, and walk down the stairs and into the bathroom or the bedroom in darkness.
I am like a hermit crab, comfortable in its old shell, even if it is slightly too small by now.
It will take years to get as comfortable in the new place. It will be a challenge, but like the hermit crab that has to find a bigger shell every couple of years, I now need the space to grow.