New years often make you reflect on the years gone by. I’d been in a reflective mood these past few days, remembering some of the places where I’d lived in different countries. How do you define living anyway? When does stay turn into live? Do you distinguish them by the length of time or your intentions? Do we live in a country but stay at a place?
Take for example Japan. If people asked me, I’d say I have lived here for a year and five months but in the present house only a year and four months. I stayed in a serviced apartment in Aoyama during the first one month. I had also lived in Japan for a year and eight months before. Should that be included?
I thought of the studio apartment in Kumegawa my husband stayed for three months during his summer internship and where my two kids and I stayed for only a month. It was rather small and had only one little window which when opened, would show the walls of other people’s apartments. Perhaps, you could see a little bit of the sky. It would feel rather oppressive if you had to stay inside for a long time. For quite some time, I wanted to go back to that place just to see how it looks like now, however my family members were not interested in it at all. Even though I had thought many times of going there alone, I haven’t gotten round to doing it.
Then I also remember fondly of a beautiful house where I lived in the spring of 1990. It had a neat garden filled with daffodils and a garage. It had three large rooms and one tiny one. I shared it with three other girls. The other three took the larger rooms and I was left with the tiny one, which meant I paid lower rent. The room was probably meant to be a nursery or ironing room. I don’t know but it didn’t have any window. However, it didn’t matter. I could go to the living room to watch TV. The living room had a french door which opened into the garden. That house was not far from a park. I loved taking a walk there in the early morning. I still remember the fresh cold air and the bluebells. In those years, blue was my favourite colour, so I really loved the bluebells.
Google Map is a very nice technology. You could type in an address and voila, you have the street view of the place. When we missed a place, we just go and view it on the Google Map. (Or maybe not all, some images are blurred or cannot be accessed).The place might have changed but somehow looking at it will bring a nostalgic feeling.
Anyway this is Google image of the house I was talking about. It was green when I lived there and had a wooden gate. It looks slightly different now, but the bay windows are the same.