I moved into my new apartment at the beginning of October. Except for the all-too-brief summer between my junior and senior years of college and, pre-New York, a few months spent in Bucharest, this is the first time I’ve lived on my own.
I kind of love it.
I still don’t have a curtain that properly fits around the tub—or the windows, for that matter. I walk on tiptoes through the living room, because I was in a ground-floor apartment for so long that I now have no idea how my footsteps might sound to downstairs neighbors. Boxes of things I probably should’ve gotten rid of before the move are stashed, untouched, in various corners of the place; my posters, prints, and photographs lean against the walls, waiting for me to commit to a paint color before I hang them. It’s a work in progress, this space.
The kitchen, though—that room is nearly finished. The movers were hardly out the door before I was unpacking my cookbooks and organizing my pots and pans; I have a whole cabinet devoted to spices, which, honestly, makes me a little giddy. Even so, it took weeks to acclimate to the point where I really wanted to put any of those tools to use.
And then, something clicked.
I had a free afternoon, and the day called for warmth and comfort and nourishment. I chopped garlic and onions, sautéeing both in olive oil with a pinch of chili flakes, dried thyme, and crushed rosemary; I stirred in some leftover chicken breast and a cup or two of chickpeas (cooked earlier in the crockpot), a container of broth, and a serious dose of lemon juice, and let the pot simmer a bit before adding Israeli couscous to the mix. Once the grains had cooked and the flavors melded, I swirled in a heap of spinach, let it wilt, and promptly ladled out a bowlful. I ate, leaning against the sink and looking out on the thoroughly unremarkable courtyard. My apartment finally felt like home.