Moving is not fun. Sure, there are some good parts. Looking for an apartment can be fun, for a week or two. Your imagination goes wild with interior design possibilities as you visit one apartment after the other. But once you have skipped your lunch break twice, left work early five times, and generally spent every free moment for weeks looking up real estate ads on the internet, the whole process begins to grow tiring. So you settle for the next good thing that comes along. OK, it is not perfect. There is a shower instead of a bath, and you always wanted an american kitchen but got a kitchen cupboard instead. But it will do.

That is when the real hell begins. You try to fit your life in boxes that don’t fit half of what you own. You are on a tight schedule, but sit for hours on end looking through old photo albums that you found at the bottom of a drawer. You cry when you have to throw away birthday cards you got from people you barely remember. You take apart all that IKEA furniture that you spent frustrated hours putting together only a few years ago. You go box hunting on shopping streets on garbage day, and look desperately for bubble-wrap but settle for newspaper. When you think everything is packed there is still enough junk for three more boxes.

The moving itself can be almost painless, if you spend hundreds of euros on a company to do all the heavy lifting. Otherwise you’d better have a few strong friends willing to help. Or plenty of time to drive back and forth. No matter who does the lifting, things are bound to break and get damaged during the move. Boxes fall apart from the weight, china clinks alarmingly when a box falls heavily onto the floor. The sofa hits the wall and gets scratches. And then there are the things that get inexplicably lost. During the years to come you will intermittently remember that useful thingamajig you used to own that you have not seen around for a while. Actually, now that you think of it, you don’t remember seeing it since the move. But perhaps it is still around here somewhere. Maybe it is in one of those unpacked boxes…

Because, yes, the unpacked boxes tend to linger. For the first few days you spend your days in box-world, relieved to finally have the move behind you, but frustrated that there is still so much left to do. You try to decide where to begin the unpacking, and when you begin you cannot find the boxes you are looking for. Unpacking can be more fun than packing, but after a while desperation sets in. Will the boxes never end? Some IKEA tools are thrown around the room as you struggle with a table, a bed, a wardrobe. Boxes, pieces of furniture, odds and ends are lying about the place. The mess never ends. As weeks pass by the number of boxes diminishes, but a year later you are still bound to have a box or two, lurking under the bed like an embarrassing secret.

On the brights side, a new home can be fun. Especially if you have one family member who is obviously pleased with the move. Like Loki, our German Shepherd. Loki finally has a garden, and he never lets us close the door to his personal patch of grass. In contrast to our previous neighbours, the new ones are very friendly. Especially, the three children whose terrace overlooks our garden. They have taken a liking to Loki, or Skippy as they like to call him. Unfortunately, they need an intermediary in their games with Loki, and my boyfriend spends a lot of time throwing balls up to the terrace that the kids that they can then throw to “Skippy”. At any time of day a chorus of “Monsieur, monsieur, monsieur… monsieur?” will interrupt a nice moment of lazing about. I have been strategically hiding my existence from the children, by staying inside whenever I hear them, but the other day my boyfriend alerted them to my presence. So, now any no-show of my boyfriend is followed by a chorus of “Madam, madam, madam… madam?” Well, I guess I should be happy they like us….