This past year has been a year of change and movement. But finally, after 13 months of nomadic wandering through Europe and the States, I can finally say that I live in New York.
My visa was confirmed a couple of months ago after months of twitchy waiting; I flew into JFK for the beginning of October, and got myself a lovely apartment a couple of weeks ago. Since then, with lots of help, kind gifts, a trip to Ikea (hello, old friends EXPEDIT and FÖRNUFT and …), and several deliveries from Amazon, it’s slowly starting to feel like home. After a year spent in 15 different cities (most prominently: Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, and New York), having a single point to return to feels like rather a novelty.
For anybody else thinking of spending a year imposing on friends, sleeping on floors and couches and spare rooms, hotels and airbnb – it was fun for a couple of months, fine for perhaps 9, and increasingly stressful after that as the total lack of “home”, stability, and certainty sunk in. Also, it’s remarkable how much of the world functions on assumptions: especially that you have a permanent address; that you live in just one country, and have done so for an extended length of time. And how confused systems, interfaces, and call centres get if any of the above turn out not to be true. Systems have categories and checkboxes, and none of those are “somewhere” or “floating” or “kind of,” even thought those are, surely, commonplace. Things you don’t notice, until you’re missing them. And I’m that I’ve been navigating these things from an extreme position of privilege. Yikes.
I can can’t express my gratitude to Adam for being so understanding during these most eventful of months, and I’m really looking forward to being in a physical- and head- space where I can put all of my energies into Urbanscale, in the studio, with our wonderful colleagues, fully focused on the extremely exciting projects on the horizon.
More than anything, this last year has taught me three things:
- Friends truly are invaluable, and it has been wonderful to discover/reconfirm/be reminded of how generous so many of them are – pretty much the only constant this past year, along with change and movement.
- I’ve become ever more brutally opposed to owning physical stuff. Not only due to the constraints of baggage limits and my poor back, but the idea of wanting “stuff” totally puzzles me (and I was pretty minimalist to begin with). It’s not that I buy less than I did before (never very much), but that I’m now unusually comfortable throwing things out. The flipside of that is a reminder how much I love beautiful products, in extreme moderation. (see also)
- After a year without one, it’s wonderful to have my own home, my own space – a place to make my own, to put the few belongings I have, and to just… live in. I don’t think I could appreciate it this much without the contrast.
So. If you want to send me a postcard, I now have an address. If you want to phone me, my phone number is now prefixed with +1. And if you want to visit, the airport you’re headed to is JFK.
See you soon?