It’s been a week of good news. I now have a stable job, which is very good. And it’s a proper job, but it’s not too management-y. It’s not the kind of job I swore I wouldn’t take as I left Dublin in a camp rage, thank god.
I mean, I actually ended up earning a lot this month, but a regular salary is nice. Very nice. Knowing that rent will be paid, that I’ll have a travel card and can take the Tube no matter what is a good feeling.
I started on Monday and it’s going great. It leaves my brain the kind of room I hoped it would and I’ll definitely be able to do other stuff too.
And I have somewhere to live. I stayed about four weeks too long in hostels. And it did kind of break me in the end. I could feel myself teetering on the brink a few times as hostels continued to wear me down. My househunting criteria were simple: it must have a bedroom just for me, it must have wifi and it must be within Travelcard Fare Zone 1 or 2. That’s all I asked. But SpareRoom is not a rewarding website – so many fake ads and old ads and ads for really really specific flatmates and so many unanswered emails and phone calls. And estate agents want you to pay huge deposits and have ninety-six references.
Then, on Thursday afternoon, I was on Gumtree when I refreshed the page and a new ad came up. It met all three of my criteria and I rang the landlord immediately. He suggested I come the following day to view it and I counter-suggested that I come that day. He texted me (on my new UK number. I have a UK number now. Like Harry Styles and the Queen!) the address and told me that there would be someone at home at 7:15 that evening if I wanted to see the place. I did.
I made my way to Homerton Station. (I’m told it’s a trendy area. I don’t know. It’s all London to me.) It’s literally a 90-second walk from the station. My flat is a weird two-storey flat with outside walkways and stairs like on all the English movies about working class life. It reminds me of the first time I saw Beautiful Thing. (If you haven’t seen Beautiful Thing, stop reading this post and watch it now. Now.)
I met the guy whose room I’m taking. There are two rooms for rent in the flat. One is the former living room/dining room, which still has a full dining room set of furniture, as well as a double bed. It’s £180 a week, which is crazy. My room is an actual bedroom, and is only £155 a week. London prices are bonkers. £155 a week doesn’t mean you multiply by four and that’s your monthly rent. No. You multiply by 52 and then divide by 12 and that’s your monthly rent. Because London.
I don’t care. I have a home. I’m so so so so so sick of traipsing from hostel to hostel and living out of a suitcase and now I have a home. There are three other people living there and I only met one of them in passing (he might be Italian. I’m not sure.), but it WILL BE FINE.
The Turkish guy, whose room I was taking, told me I could hold the room for myself if I paid £200 immediately. I said yes. I tried to make it look as if I’d considered not taking it, but I probably didn’t succeed. I said yes and asked him where the nearest ATM machine was. He walked me to Homerton post office, took £200 and a photo of my passport. Maybe this was a scam and I wasn’t getting a room at all and just actually agreeing to sell my kidneys but it was totally worth the risk.
I went home, full of joy. Everything was coming together. I have a job and a salary and a home and I live in London and everything is going to be AWESOME.
I feel like this is the moment in the musical where I dramatically turn towards the camera and sing “Now it’s time for Co-o-onnor!”
I am very excited. And I’m writing this while on a train to Kent. I’m staying with my Polish ex-priest tonight. Because on top of everything else, I’m being wooed by a lovely man.
I’m moving tomorrow. The landlord has emailed me and confirmed that it’s for real and that he received my deposit.
Everything’s coming up Connor.