Life On Alfred St.

Well, here I am.

I moved to Kingston Saturday afternoon, after a hectic day of packing, enjoying some family time, and settling the last details. It’s absolutely amazing how many things you need to start life on your own. It’s the stupid little things you take for granted until you have to find them or live without them. Spatulas. Ice cube trays. A slightly tipsy lamp for the living room. Toilet paper. I’m loving that birthday gift, because you know I would’ve forgotten to buy any.

My cute bathroom.
My little bathroom.

I started life “on my own” by getting locked out of my apartment. It was massively embarrassing, honestly. Here I am, getting a little cocky, trying to prove I’ve got it together when I know I don’t have a clue, only to lock myself out of my new home within fifteen minutes of arriving. Derp. The minute I heard the door click shut behind me, I knew I’d screwed up. Not only was I now locked out, but my phone, passport, and wallet were all sitting in the living room. Go figure. It was an hour before I could get back in. As they say, welcome to adulthood.

It only took half a day to unpack. I didn’t really have all that much to deal with. Three or four boxes, and most of that was sheets and towels and dish-ware. Still, it was a good feeling when I looked around and realized I was finished. My things were all cleaned and carefully set out. I think I rearranged my bookshelf two or three times just for something to work on. My instruments sat in the corner. There wasn’t anything left to do. And it was too quiet. No brothers. No records playing. I put my George Winston album on and ate my leftover slightly stale caesar salad from lunch, morale slowly going down.

A TON of lemon balm growing along the edges of my backyard, and then this little haven.
A TON of lemon balm growing along the edges of my backyard, and then this little haven.

I’m not going to lie, that was a lonely night. I’m usually a very quiet person. I like having my own space. But I also enjoy the bustle of other people living around me. My family isn’t very seclusive. We hang out together pretty near constantly, and I was missing companionship to some extent.

I awoke to a beautiful day. I’m in a really nice place, and when the sun is shining it’s glorious. There’s a veritable forest of lemon-balm in my backyard, a tiny rope swing, and an old shed. A few large trees and shrubs surround me on all sides, adding to the illusion that I’ve made my home on the edge of a secret garden. I gathered some of the lemon plant and put it in my bathroom. It smells amazing. Apparently it makes wonderful tea as well. Might have to try that. I set about sweeping my porch clean, setting up my fish tank, and poking at my bicycle. Until I have it up and running, I’m stuck with walking. I’m not a huge fan of walking. It would be fantastic if it didn’t feel so incredibly slow. Thirty to forty minutes on foot brings me downtown. I could do that in ten minutes with a bike. But my chain is rusted, the front brake is totally shot, and the tires are flat. Getting the bike in working condition is the first order of operation.

My kitchen, all fixed up and way bigger than I'm used to.
My kitchen, all fixed up and way bigger than I’m used to.

Yesterday, a Monday, was a Canadian holiday. And rainy. Aside from hiking downtown to see if anything was open, working for half an hour, meeting a rather wild-looking Queen’s psychology professor in wire glasses and a green tweed jacket who REALLY liked my hat, and discovering that nearly everything was closed, I did next to nothing. I read a totally useless book on magic and King Arthur and fairies, for the first time in over a year, and I drank tea. It was a beautiful day.

Today is NOT a holiday! And the world rejoices. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and my yet fishless fish tank is making happy burbling noises where my TV used to be (it’s been relegated to the closet, I don’t need it). I marched my bike down to the nearest bike shop, had the gangly blonde young guy at the counter take a look at it, and thought my stomach had fallen between my feet with an audible clank when he said, “This is pretty beat up, man. I’m gonna estimate about $150 for me to fix this up for you.”

$150? It was probably more than the whole bike was worth. No, it was definitely more than the bike was worth. How in the hell did it cost $150 to get a new bike chain, a pump, and a brake stem? Oh no, he said. It’ll be $50 for the parts, new. $150 if I wanted him to fix it. Are you kidding me? I wish someone would pay me a hundred bucks to slam a new chain on a bike and fill the tires. I’ll do it myself, thanks.

Living room. My rainbow blanket from Guatemala and my books on the shelf makes anywhere home.
Living room. My rainbow blanket from Guatemala and my books on the shelf makes anywhere home.

Dad and the boys are picking me up tonight. I’ve never been to a drive-in theater before. It’s almost a sin. For $17, as many people as can fit in your car (I’m assuming legally, but wouldn’t it be awesome to rock up with a chicken bus of 40+ people?) can watch two movies in succession on a big screen. Pretty awesome, right? I’m looking forward to the movies and the time with the family. They’re bringing Thai food, because they’re wonderful like that. Maybe Dad can help me work on the bike?

I’m getting used to the quiet already. I’m even starting to like it. It’s easy to work or read or fiddle for hours on end without interruption. I can wake up and go to bed on my own schedule without having to worry about waking the others. Also, it is so incredibly easy to keep a house clean when you’re the only one in it.

Life is doing me well. Things are starting to come together. I have a lot to get done before school starts next month. Moving in early was the right thing to do. But I’m comfortable, I’m happy, and this is starting to feel like home already. Kingston will be a pretty incredible place to spend the next few years…

… But I’m already planning my next big trip. ;)

12 Comment

  1. WOO HOO!!!! So glad you’re in and it’s going well. I can’t wait to come by for tea when I get home. Proud of you, chicklet… keep going!

    1. I would love it if you came by for tea! I had Lynda over yesterday afternoon and we talked about geology and her granddaughters. Frank was too busy working, but he adjusted my water heater for me.

  2. Wow! I’m not gonna lie, student life looks better than adult life from where I’m sitting LOL. Enjoy.xx

  3. Couann Benner says: Reply

    Fantastic student quarters …..best of luck with this stage of your life; have fun ….:) :)

  4. Lois says: Reply

    I’m reading “Herb Fairies” to the 3 little ones, and right now we’re on the Lemon Balm Fairy. It would be awesome if you could share some of your forest with us when you come to Camp Wood, they’d love it!

    1. Shoot, I didn’t see this until after I left this morning… for your house! Woot! Can’t wait to see you peeps.

  5. It looks like you have a really nice place. I’m a little confused, though: You talk about your Mom coming over for tea, and your Dad and Brothers coming over for the evening. I thought they were over in New Hampshire. Are they in Kingston, too?

    1. They’re currently living on Wolfe Island, just a ferry ride away from Kingston. The boys are working and sailing, and Dad’s working on getting his Canadian citizenship. Mom is currently out of the country on business, but will be back. I think they plan to live here for the next few years.

  6. So nice to read your descriptions, dear Hanna, and to see that life is treating you well. Student life sounds glorious for you. Extremely proud of you.

  7. Carrie says: Reply

    So excited for you Hannah! Is there mint in that garden too? Lemon balm mint tea sounds delicious!

    1. No mint, but my neighbor started some in a planter recently. Maybe she’ll let me have a bit to start my own? :)

  8. NHJess says: Reply

    Looks like a nice place, and what an awesome blanket! It is utterly fantastic looking, and I’m a teeny tiny bit jealous. :-) Also, sorry for the late comment, I just found your blog a few days ago and I’m catching up on posts. Your writing is terrific and I love the way you tell stories. I’m having a grand time. :-) Best of luck to you in school!

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