La mia casa

by Alexandra

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(the rather sinister ornaments above my kitchen counter, which my aunt informs me are called soprammobili)

I love living in Testaccio. Testaccio feels like home. Unfortunately, my flat doesn’t feel much like home.

I chose the flat for its location – I was keen to be in Testaccio, which is a lovely area in itself, but also very convenient for other places. The metro (Piramide), buses going everywhere, and lots of interesting places within walking distance. I love the fact that I can walk to the Colosseum, the Baths of Caracalla, Trastevere, the Aventine, the Protestant Cemetery…

But there are quite a few problems with the flat. Firstly, flatmates. I’ve moved in at a time when two people are moving out and two new people are moving in, so of course it feels a little unsettled. Out of the two people in the process of moving out, one has been mostly absent, and the other has been rather unfriendly. I’m sure she’s frustrated by my bad Italian and sick of the constant stream of people who have been moving in and out while she’s lived here, which is understandable. I don’t blame her for not trying to befriend me, but sometimes it feels like she’s been actively rude, and telling me off for not meeting her high standards of kitchen cleanliness seems unnecessary when she’s moving out soon.

The French boy who’s moving in hasn’t arrived yet, but the ballerina from Naples has been here for a couple of days. She’s much friendlier than the soon-to-be-former flatmate and is more forgiving of my Italian, but she’s already made a point of drawing up a cleaning timetable for next month and complained about a bit of leftover rice in the sink…I’m not sure how compatible we’ll be. I suppose it’s too early to tell, and I can make an effort to improve my Italian and be a bit tidier, but it would be really nice to live with friends instead of strangers. It would also be nice to not have a flatmate (I don’t know which one) who decides to dismantle the bathroom at 2am. That’s what it sounded like, anyway.

My bedroom is very, very small and dark even with the shutters open. The bed is a futon, and when it’s out there’s no floor space and I can’t sit at my desk. I keep wandering around shops in the hope of finding some kind of decoration that would improve the room, but I’m not sure there’s much I can do with so little space, in a rented room. While the weather’s warm I can sit on the terrace, but I won’t be able to do that for much longer. This morning I sat on a bench in Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice to read, mainly to avoid being in my bedroom. Sitting outside, surrounded by children blowing bubbles and dogs, is much more pleasant than sitting in my small dark bedroom, where wet jeans and underwear are dripping everywhere.

Then there’s the bathroom, which is about a quarter of the size of my bedroom. There’s no shower cubicle, only a shower head and a disgustingly mouldy shower curtain. Whenever anyone has a shower, despite our best attempts to mop it up, the floor is soaked at least for a few hours, and the water becomes dirty from people’s shoes. I’m also lucky if I get more than ten minutes of hot water in the shower, so washing my hair becomes a race to get the conditioner out before the water turns cold. I’ve always been more of a bath person anyway, and right now, I would actually pay to have a hot bath. I’m dreading the winter, as there’s no heating in the bathroom.

I’ve got this room till next July if I want it, and I’ve got to give two months’ notice if I want to move out. I’ll see how things go, but I might be flat-hunting again soon…

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