What's this about, a post with just numbers for a headline?
The explanation is very easy: This is my blog post # 500; I have 100 readers (I know, it says "102", but I am one of them [I still think it should not be possible for members of this platform to follow their own blogs], and the most recent one was not there yet when I first decided to write this post), and I have been living in this flat for 10 years now. A triple jubilee, if you like!
It does not seem that long ago since I wrote post # 400, but if you look at its date, that was ten months ago.
Looking back at how my blog developed from its first post in March 2009, it has come a long way.
Back then, I used my blog as a means of sorting out a lot of what was going on in my head just then. It was, if you like, a creative vent, much needed after a particularly troubled time in my life. Little did I know at the beginning of that year that, by the end of it, I would find my circumstances completely changed, and an entirely new chapter of my life was to begin, that of being a widow.
A post of mine that, for a long time, ranked highest in my blog's statistics for the most popular posts, is this one. Re-reading it now makes me realize how much has changed in my small portion of blogland since then; many of the blogs mentioned in that post do not exist anymore, while many others have been added to my reading list.
Here you can read a bit more about what makes me continue to blog, even though sometimes I post less frequently than I would like to, and am almost continuosly lagging behind with book reviews of about three books.
On my blog, you can find a lot of what really makes "me" and my life. If you do not know me personally, you can get a pretty good idea of me through my blog, although it will never convey the complete picture (which, maybe, nobody ever gets from another person anyway). If you do know me personally, I think you will recognize "me" quite well in my posts.
There are a few topics I hardly ever touch here, such as politics and religion, but that does not mean that I do not think about these or do not have a personal opinion.
To some, my blog may seem superficial to the point of shallowness (see the tab "Fashion for the shallow-minded"); I do not apologize for that or try to justify myself. Just like Frances said the other day, our blogs are our own personal platforms for our own personal rants (or, in my case, for our own personal shallowness).
Enough about the first two numbers in today's headline; now to the ten-year-anniversary in my flat:
It was in early 2003 that Steve and I started looking for a place of our own. I'd had enough of living in rented flats, and I knew if I wanted to buy, I had to do it now - or else I would not be able to pay the mortgage in full until retirement. In March 2003, we found an advert in the paper and decided to look at the flat. It was the first one we ever looked at, and we both liked it instantly. For me, it was more the general look and feel of the house, plus of course the invaluably perfect geographic situation for us (neither of us ever learned how to drive); Steve, on the other hand, had done a lot of house renovations when he was younger, and could tell that the plumbing, electricity set-up etc. were all in very good order.
Still, I thought, you can't just go and get the first flat you look at, and so we went to look at a few others. None of those quite struck it with us the same way, though, and in the end, we rang the owner and made the contract.
In October 2003, we moved in, and I have not looked back ever since. Ironically, I pay the same amount of money as a mortgage to my own place now than when I used to rent - with the difference that this is, one day, really going to be MY place (right now, it still largely belongs to the bank), and that I can do as I please and do not have to deal with landlords and landladies anymore.
Pictures of my flat can be found throughout my blog, and of course you are all familiar with the view from my kitchen window :-)
To celebrate the 10-year-anniversary here, I invited everyone who lives in this house and the next (two semi-detached houses with three flats each) on Saturday afternoon last week for a cup of coffee (or tea) and a brezel (a regional specialty). I expected somewhere around 10-12 people, and so I bought 15 brezeln, and set everything up in the kitchen.
To me, the main goal of this neighbourly gathering was that people would realize that there were others living in the same house - that they were not on their own, and that sometimes a bit of consideration towards the others (in terms of making or avoiding noise) would be a good idea. Also, in the house next door, tenants had recently changed, and I thought this a good chance to meet them.
Well... my invitation was for 3.00 pm, which usually is a convenient time on a Saturday for almost anyone. 3.00 came... and went. At 3.30, one of the neighbours rang the doorbell. He apologized for his wife not being there (she had to work) and his (grown-up) children being busy otherwise. I asked him about the tenants (they are his tenants), and he thought they didn't know of the invitation. He went back to fetch them, which took a while, because the young woman had to put on make-up first and do her hair.
The tenants downstairs of my flat were clearly not at home; all was quiet there, and the elderly couple living above me are still in Turkey, where they spend at least half of each year, it being their home country.
So... we ended up a tiny group of four adults and one 3-week-old baby, with 15 brezeln to share - and nobody wanted one!!!
We still had a nice chat and coffee together, and all know a bit more about each other now. The young couple with the baby asked whether I hear the baby when he cries; I said I do hear him, but it is never loud enough to wake me up, and he does not cry very long or very often. I did tell them that, when the husband smokes on their balcony, the smoke gets right into my bedroom when I have the window open (which is nearly always the case), and they were quite surprised to learn that. It was all very amiable, and they both said that, if they ever did anything that would bother me, I was to tell them instantly, for they certainly do not mean to be a nuisance. So, at least on this small scale, my goal was achieved.
It turned out that the wife of my next-door neighbour, the one who had to work on that Saturday, had taken off the invitation that I had sello-taped to the entrance door of the house next door, so that everyone living in that house could see it. She clearly did not think that it was meant for everyone - although, if I had meant to invite that one family only, I certainly would have put the inviation in their letter box and not stuck it to the door, wouldn't I!
The couple downstairs returned some time after 6.00. By then, I had put four brezeln in a bag which I hung at their door handle, with a note, saying that I was sorry they had not been there this afternoon and here are the brezeln that were meant for you.
When they found the bag, they briefly came upstairs to thank me. Somehow they had failed to check their letter box on Friday - I had put their invitation in on the Thursday.
Another two hours later, the wife of my next-door neighbour came home from work; she rang to apologize for having had to work, congratulated me on the 10-year-anniversary and gave me a single red rose - I found that very sweet of her. I gave her another bag with brezeln for her and her family.
Still, I ate brezeln - toasted, of course, since they are not nice otherwise if they are more than half a day old - all weekend. I doubt I want another brezel anytime soon. And I shall organize my 20-year-anniversary a bit different, I think.