As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the few downers we've encountered since our arrival is that we're living in temporary housing until our permanent place is set up. And on top of that, we don't know exactly how temporary our current living situation is. Will we be here for a couple weeks or a couple months? We just don't know.
For the most part, this really isn't that big of a deal. The apartment Rachael and I are living in right now is spacious, clean, comfortable, and safe. The air conditioning works, and although there isn't a view or much natural light, it's not a bad place to live. The downside, though, is that we don't really know how much to unpack and how much to get settled. It didn't take long after we arrived last week for me to start to feel like we were living in a hotel. There are all the trappings of a modern house (fridge, cookware, bedding, etc.), but all of it is sort of cheap, and none of it makes me feel at home.
So one night, out of a kind of unannounced desire to do some nesting, Rachael and decided to start rearranging furniture and decorating. It began by breaking out some magnets a friend gave us recently (thanks, Maura!) and photo prints we'd brought from home (many of these came from my sister, Kjerstine). We put a few of ourselves and our family on the fridge, and even that made a gigantic difference. I'm not sure why, exactly, but having a picture of someone you love stuck on a fridge says, 'You're home.' Then we broke out some other picture frames we'd packed and set them up in our entryway. Rachael had a wall hanging that we used to replace some ugly, generic, hotel room art, plus a painting from Ecuador that we propped up in the kitchen. We also put down some nice pieces of fabric on the coffee table and our breakfast table.
Then, it was on to the furniture (see above). We turned one of our couches a few degrees to make the living room more cozy, angled the dining room table to make it easier to move through the apartment, and found a cloth to cover up the television when we're not watching it (any modern Portland hippie worth her salt knows this trick).
All of this only took us about 15 or 20 minutes, but oh, what a world of difference it made. We may be in temporary housing in a dusty town in the Middle East, but I'll be damned if it doesn't feel a little bit like home.