I think everyone needs a sanctuary. I was toying upon the idea whether I should write this online or just in my diary for a long hour. I kind of feeling an itch to use my diary, but then no-one is there to read and judge. For better or worse! And it is not time-proof. Nothing is.. but internet will surly keep my blabbering longer than usual paper. Coming back to our topic.. my home is my sanctuary. I mean the rented place where I live now. Most of my peers do not spent so much for rent. I can easily save a good 400 Euro per month to live a crampy place towards city centre or a bigger one in remote. But this is just the right for me. After living one and half years in a small place in Stockholm, I said to myself enough is enough. I mean, you can imagine how expensive Stockholm is. But that was better than the shitty place in Kiruna. Whoa… I do need to give a little tour of my moving life a bit. So, in India, I lived in my parent’s house till 6th grade when my mom moved out and took a job in a different city. She was head of an institute which trained the teachers to be and also in charge of the girls’ hostel. So we got to live there for free which came with her job. It was not a full fledged quarter, but basically a room and attached private shower and bath. A divider was there to make a place for cooking. We did have a bed, each of us, me , my sister and mom. Mom’s bed was a slider, and could go below mine in the daytime. However, I did not have much complaint. We could use the long balcony. We could run all over the place and garden below when the office was closed, in the weekends.We had mom-cooked meals and I had friends in school. I was doing fine.When I was 16, I had a boyfriend. Now don’t laugh at me, in India that does not mean you can hook up 😉. We jus would meet for an hour or so each week and mostly chat. Looking back I mostly think, I was searching for friend whom I could talk without holding back. In fact, we kissed after going out of a year or so. The guy was completely out of my league, I mean I should not judge but I was ranking in the state and he barely passed high school. I could never think of alcohol or smoking, he was into both. I think I was also missing a fatherly character in my life which kind of led all these. Anyway, at 18, I moved out to Med school and my mom also changed the old place.She was heading a bigger institute in the state capital now. I tried to keep my relationship, but it did not work out. I had enormous studying and practical hours, and that guy also did not show up many times to meet me. In the med school, I met K, who quickly become my study partner. We traveled together, studied together and soon we were into each other. But we still lived in our separate hostels and I shared my room with another budding lady doc. When I traveled to my mom’s she was living in a government quarter now, with 2 bedrooms, kitchen and living room-all tiny, but fairly better than our previous. My sister was in Bangalore, so when I am at mom’s place, one of the bedroom became my sanctuary. I wrote regularly in my diary that time. One time it happened that K read my diary(s) , Yeah .. privacy can be a joke sometimes in India. He read about my first bf in there and we had a lots of flight. Soon, it ended up me destroying all of my diaries and I swore never to write again to avoid giving people a chance to look into the deepest and darkest parts of my life I really don’t want to open up. I mean we all have them. We all have not strictly I would say secrets , but there are things and times and relationships we do not wanna open up with others. Anyway, after med school, I moved back with mom for a year or so to get prepared for my residency. I broke up with K but we still studied together, over phone. It can sound ridiculous, but it was not. We have phone rates really cheap in India and you would be surprised to know our internet cost, which is cheapest amounts the world. Anyway we used speaker phones to study together and we both hit ranks. K in the state and I moved to a different state. In this state, they had a ethnical racism with my ethnicity and I faced lots of drama over 3.5 years of my residency. But I also made friends, impressed teachers and enjoyed a new culture. As a resident, we were give a private room free of cost, though kitchen and washrooms we shared with other residents. So this room became my new sanctuary now. It was in the middle of a tea garden, the whole medical college and hospital was. I live in the third floor and had a private balcony. I still remember the last day in this room when I finished my MD and was ready to come back to my mom’S place. I was standing in the balcony late at night and pondering over the years I spent and the thought that in the next days there will be someone else standing here. I think I cried a bit too. My professor fed me a wonderful parting dinner with local Assamese cuisine. This was the time I was going to leave the education and set foot to professional life. When I was back, mom still lived in this tiny place. I soon left to Mumbai for senior residency but I did not like Mumbai at all. It did not have any place I could keep my piece and it was not for me , at least not that time. My mom was also recovering from cancer and I wanted to live with her. Don’t get surprised, in India we do not move out of parent’S places, like ever! My mom is an extremely strong person, and that hardly describe her. She is beautiful, strong, kind, compassionate , inspiring and sweet. I mean everyone loves her. I can never be such an awesome parent or such a good person. If I start writing about her, can easily make a book. Anyway, she did a miracle this time, she bought a home where every one of us had their own room. I mean, I have a permanent sanctuary now which I can even pass to my daughter 😁 whoa mom, you are a genius! That time my sister was living in Germany working with Bosch, but her room was kept. I lived there around 2 mire years and work here and there. My sister also moved back. But later I got a job in Bangalore and moved there with my partner. The Bangalore place was small, but at the centre. I did not have much privacy, because me and my partner shared everything like bedroom or kitchen or so. We did not have a separate office or such. But this place was sunny and a beautiful roof. The place was really happening, the multiplexes for movie till 2 am, restaurants till midnight, ice-cream parlour behind my flat, grocery in walking distance , shopping mall, street food, bar, spa, gym, hospital, clinic, bank, everything is in walking distance.And the city runs in app. Order taxi or vegetables, pest killer to food delivery, beautician or electrician, everything can be ordered by simple click in the mobile. I worked a lot this time, almost 4 years, as I was heading a lab, then came home after 1-2 hours of traffic, but I earned enough and had really fun time. My partner was not dick that time. We came home late but always had dinner together, watched something or headed to a movie late at night. I did not need the sanctuary that much I guess. Then he moved to Sweden for finishing his master thesis and I was still working to and fro in India or from Stockholm remotely. My subject has advanced tremendously in recent decades and with digitalisation I can do my job from anywhere real time. First we were in Kiruna and shared a house with 5 other guys. Our room was very small and I had to sleep in a bunk bed. We shared kitchen and 2 baths. It was always tensed, because I had to take meeting in the India or US time, either very early in the morning or afternoon. It disturbed the neighbours due to thin walls and all. I left after living there for 3 months . When my partner moved to Stockholm. I also moved there, so the question came if we should leave the place in Bangalore. Obviously I was paying money for both the places. Anyway.I decided to let the Bangalore place go, because it was like having an elephant. Stockholm place was small, actually the landlord sublet the place and turned the living room into another bed room. He had lots of plants in the kitchen and bathroom. Housplants, I liked them. He hardly lived there , but the place was real small. As I got pregnant with Ellie here, I could not be comfortable in such a small place. My partner was completely jerk and never came home before 10. I worked from remote and then was alone and sad. I could not make so many friends there as I was neither working or nor socialising there. Magnus, our land lord was friendly. His daughter was also pregnant this time and he was very kind to me. But he only came some times. Most of the time, it was dark and cold, typical of Sweden and alone. I left my remote job and interviewed for PhD. Luckily I got the position and made myself a promise I am going to stay in a better and bigger place, even I could not save. So, coming back to my current sanctuary .. I found it through an agency. In Germany , everything is easier if you go through an agency. First month was hell, I lived in a hotel for 2 weeks and then in a dorm with other students. The dorm has separate rooms but kitchen and toilets are shared. The 6 month pregnant me was going through a lot. So, when I saw this place I just agreed seeing photos. Here in Germany places are exactly like they are advertised. I have a big bedroom, and a smaller office cum bedroom where my partner settled when he came (after one month of my daughter was born) . Me and my daughter lives in the big one. We have a huge living room,, small but adequate kitchen and a good bath. We have washing and drying in the basement and a beautiful garden behind which is maintained be my downstair’s neighbour Frau Renata. I have a huge balcony where we can barbecue in summer. Rhine river is 7 min walk and bordered by amazing green fields, play places for kids, beer garden, parks , bike streets , walking ways. I am very close to public transport and main station is 15 min by bus. The neighbourhood is very German, so extremely clean, extremely safe and extremely quiet.My neighbours love my daughter and I even have grocery& medicine shop within walk. I alwayes think, this is the only place I am going to miss while leaving Bonn. I had rough last 2 years as you have seen from my infrequent posts. But whenever I come back to my room with a view to the garden, it always give me a calm and serenity I need. It also gave me the idea of how I want to have it when I buy my own home. I think this sanctuary is something in life everyone deserves to have, and many of them don’t. I consider myself grateful when I go to bed and also a little proud that I have earned it with hard work.
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I know what you mean! I didn’t have my own place or room until I moved to the US, if you can imagine such a situation! No privacy until I was 33! And even then, I slept in the living room, so strictly speaking, I didn’t have my own room where I could close the door behind me and be alone until I was 35 🙂
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Yup, I think many of us have not been very lucky in this. It is kind of a dream come true
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Everybody needs a sanctuary and it sounds as though you need it more than lots of people. And Ellie looks very cute!
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