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Today I said goodbye to the apartment next door, where I lived for eight years, and kept on after I moved to my present home. For another eight years I rented out rooms next door and, for my efforts, got a small income that helped pay a portion of my rent here. I’ll miss that income, and I’ll also miss that apartment. I always had dreams of one day using it as my “office” when one of my biz ideas took off … ah well. I’m surpised at how sad it felt, handing over the keys and having one last look around. So many memories…

My first home in Sevilla was in the same street – a very pretty but very small (and very expensive) studio apartment. It was also the only time I had heating and air-conditioning. But after a year it was starting to feel claustrophobic and then one day I spotted a For Rent sign on a building across the street. Turned out it was for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that had just been renovated and I fell in love with it straight away. But of course, I couldn’t afford it. Then the very next night I was sitting out on “my extended terrace” (Bar Campanario) and a friend introduced me to someone who was looking for an apartment, so we decided to share the new place. Unfortunately, my new flatmate had health problems and ended up having to return to Scotland even before we moved in … thus began eight years of living with a variety of flatmates. I quickly learned that it was better to have several short-term lodgers because you can put up with anything for three months or so – though I have to say that I was very lucky and out of about forty different people only had a handful of duds.

Then the apartment next door became available and, after speaking with my landlord, we arranged a deal whereby I would keep renting both apartments and have all my “flatmates” next door. So I was finally – and gloriously! – living on my own again. Which was wonderful. Although this place is smaller (two bedrooms, one bathroom), with the second bedroom being little more than a big closet, it is all exterior with six balconies, so tons of light. And so I painted everything and got it looking like home. Then a couple of years later Nog came to visit and, well, is still here. But there is actually enough space for two people to share, and so it’s quite comfortable.

I was told two years ago that the landlord’s daughter wanted to take back the apartment next door for her own use, but that was just after I got sick and couldn’t work, so they took pity on me and let me keep it for an extra year, and then one more. But my contract was finally up at the end of July and today the landlord came back from holidays and I gave him the keys … and I was suddenly flooded with the sort of melancholy that always accompanies “farewells”. I had flashes of memories – moving in with Sunny and Lua, with the place only half-furnished, and that first cold winter with one small space heater that I carried with me from room to room. And well, eight whole years of memories started jostling for attention, which has left me in tears as I write this.

So I think it’s time for me to move on, get my butt to the gym and then come HOME again. To this home  that I love, and my cats (old and new), and my friend & flatmate Peter … and try just feeling happy for all those memories that I got to have next door.

I really am crap at goodbyes.

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