Monday, November 4, 2013

14 Paces And 37 Kilos

Another move, another country. Barely three years after I moved into my previous apartment, a move that at the time seemed permanent given that I had bought the place, I find myself moving into another one. 

The diagonal bisecting Naamsesteenweg 294 measures 14 paces between the cooking range and the toilet bowl. An existence defined by 14 paces, supported by 37 kilos of my baggage allowance into Belgium. Amongst those 37 kilos, the 2 items dearest to me, apart from my passport, are my laptop and a smart-phone, my twin portals into the world outside my apartment window. A mattress, a toilet, an electric cook-top and a radiator for heating, built into the apartment, complete my support structure. Everything else is superfluous fluff. Pared down to its bare necessities, the things required to support a life are really simple. 

During my time in the middle-east last year, I saw those other expats from the sub-continent, construction workers, whose passports had been confiscated by their employers, make do with far less. I know this meagre collection is going to bloat like the way my 23 kilos, as a 19 year old student, in the year 2000 grew to the mountain of stuff I had accumulated at the end of my 14 years in Australia. Like that 3D printer I'm going to ship from Melbourne with all the little bits and pieces it is going to build. And the things that go into making an apartment a home. A desk, sofa, carpets. What do these things, these accoutrements that one accumulates, add to a life? Perhaps nothing more than a sense of comfort. Customizing a bare apartment in a foreign country to one's minutest needs, just to be reminded of home. 

And then, the time will come to move on again and re-create my life elsewhere. I just wish it could be atomized, transmitted into the ether and re-assembled on command, wherever my itinerant soul next wishes to be.