At last. We have done. Our new home!
It has been a long and at times, hard and emotional journey over the last year when eviction proceedings started. The months since early December when we were made homeless, have been one of the most emotional, stressful experiences of my life during which I have learned an incredible amount about myself, attitudes of others and just what it takes to get through being homeless and still come out as a family unit still.
Had you told me a year ago what I would go through and that actually, I'd come through it just fine, if not stronger, I would have laughed at you. Yet, here I am. My family and I have got through it, not without incredible love and support from so many people, many of whom we haven't even met. So thank you all.
So this morning arrived, with me being woken at 6 am by the alarm. I spent a good 30 minutes enjoying a cup of coffee in peace, mulling over what we would be greeted with. I am sure Clara won't be offended when I say that I kept reminding myself it couldn't be much worse than the house which she was given and yet, with hard work and help she now has a beautiful home.
At 8 am we left to trek the other side of town. At least it felt like that as we had to take two buses. We could have walked 20 minutes and got one bus but that would mean walking up a couple of steep hills and at that hour I wasn't up for it. Heck I struggle most days anyway!
We got there 15 minutes before our scheduled time but luckily the woman, whose name escapes me now, was already there waiting for us.
My heart sank as we couldn't find the flat on the ground floor, which we were sure we had been told the flat was. It then sank even further as we were led up the stairs to the flat door.
I'll admit, the photo was taken on my phone which doesn't have a flash but even so, it gives a fairly realistic idea of how dark the concrete stair way is. There are lights apparently, seemingly set on a timer. The person who showed us around didn't seem to know but assured us she shall investigate and call us tomorrow.
If possible, I was disheartened further by the woman's incompetence at opening the door! It turned out that there are a total of 8 keys for the flat. I think colour coded key-rings will come in handy.
My mood lifted instantly once we stepped inside the flat.
I have no idea if a washing machine will fit in that gap but I assume so. To the left is space for either a gas or electric cooker (bring back the gas cooking!) and over on the right (I didn't take a picture, sorry) there is space for a tall fridge freezer. Unfortunately not enough for one of the American style ones of our dreams but hey, it's our HOME!
There is another door as well, which was rather mysterious. It turned out this is kind of like a shed type area that can also be accessed from the hall. So if you have particularly muddy pushchair or shoes etc, you can go into that area to remove before walking through the flat. It's most likely to be used as a dumping ground!
The lounge is bigger than the entire room we are in now! Well perhaps not quite but it's certainly close. Yes, that is Harry running around and laughing! The whole time he was shouting "Wow Mummy wow!".
I won't bore you with photos of the bedrooms. There is not a lot to see other than the same flooring and magnolia walls. The master has a built-in cupboard, of which there are in fact several throughout the flat. The second bedroom is a small double or, as it will be used a large single. When we told Harry that would be his room, he kept shouting "Mummy, Daddy stay OUT. This is MY ROOM!" before promptly slamming the door. Hellooooooo teenager!
Finally the bathroom.
After sharing a bathroom, at some points an utterly disgusting bathroom, to have our own bathroom once more. Well. It is a wonderful feeling.
So as you can see what we have is basically a shell. But it is our shell. A place that we can and will make our own home.
That feeling, as a famous card company might say, is priceless.