I left the nest around 5 years ago when I went to university at the ripe old age of 20. In those 5 years I lived in a shared dorm, then a house with one housemate, then on my own, which is were I currently stand until summer when I hope to be moving in with my partner. (Writing this down, it suddenly becomes apparent that I have moved into a more solitude life.)
Back at home, it was just me and Mum for a little while (My family divorced when I was 15, we had been on our own ever since, with the odd exception of mums ex boyfriend. My Nan and extended family lived 3 hours away) and we had a good little system doing. She worked full time as a carer and I worked part time in a butchers and part time at college. We were (and still are) very close and had some pretty awesome routines like pizza and wedges every Saturday night. I would cook her dinner ready for when she got home and we’d often go to our local supermarket and hunt for reduced stuff. They were very fun times and I do miss them. Though, once I reached 20, I was ready for some more responsibility and independence. Thus, Uni.
Like most people, this was going to be the longest time I’d ever spent away from Mum and soon to be furthest as she was planning to move closer to Nan once I was settled. So we packed my life into 4 cardboard boxes, shipped me off to Huddersfield in search of a better future and left me in a student house with 5 strangers. OK, so I have never been much of a people person. The thought of meeting new people just seems such a hassle. I’m more into adventure and exploring on my own but I told myself that I would try and make friends. After all, I would be living with these people for the next year.
In terms of room, there were 2 tenants on each level, 2 in the basement, 2 on the first landing and 2 on the second. I was one of the rooms on the first landing. It was a pretty cute room. As I had no one above me, the ceiling was sloped and supported by some very nice wood pillars. I had a nice view outside my window of the road leading to more houses and the entrance to the site (this was very handy when waiting for a parcel to be delivered). I was the 3rd person to have moved in, the first being Matthew… Oh Matthew… He was such a character. The second being a Chinese student called Kelsey.
As we entered the house, boxes in tow, Mum and I were hit by a cloud of cheesy-feet smell. I can not emphasis that enough, we literally had to take a step back because the smell knocked us for six! *shudders* I can confirm that this smell would be a running trend as Matthew kept his shoes in the hallway… All year round.
That first night, I remember thinking what a terrible mistake I had made. I wouldn’t be see Mum until Christmas which was 3 months away and I was in a new town I’d never visited before. It was very overwhelming to go from having someone there all the time to sudden silence. Matthew had introduced himself once Mum left and informed me that Kelsey lived on the upper level and didn’t speak much English however she had left a buckets of chickens feet in the kitchen for us to help ourselves to. I couldn’t bring myself to try them. Once he had gone, I got into bed, pulled up the desk change to use as a laptop stand and watched Disney’s Hercules before crying myself to sleep. Pretty pathetic.
A few days later 2 new house mates entered the cheese house: Manraj who was in the basement next to Matthew; and Gemma, Kelsey’s neighbor. Me and Gem hit it off instantly and I am very proud to say we are still best friends, 5 years later. We had some great times in that house. We baked, learnt to cook our own roast dinners, made a Christmas tree out of paper and card and would often just chill out in each others room (usually hers and it was bigger)with a hot chocolate and marshmallows. I don’t remember too much about Manraj other than his obsession with Honey Nut cereal. Over the year, he didn’t get too involved in our kitchen nights. A lot of the time we didn’t even know if he was in the house.
Last but not least was Becky, my neighbor who turned up a week later. She was an odd one. Started off being very chatty, would come into the kitchen and interact with us but she quickly became very introverted, spending all her time with her boyfriend. The only way I knew if she was in, were the nights they would wake me up having a little bit too much, if you get me… *shudders again*. Becky didn’t last long. After Christmas, she moved out without telling anyone, deleted us all off her Facebook and completely disappeared. Very odd.
It wasn’t a bad year. We all got on with one enough to some extent, the biggest issue we had was the shared kitchen/communal area and peoples inability to clean up after themselves. I find nothing more infuriating than finishing a 10 hour shift at placement, to come home and find my chopping board covered in food bits and my cutlery sat idly next to it. I have no issue letting people use my stuff but its so rude to just help yourself and not ask. Is that just me? It can’t be. Towards the end of our tenancy, Gemma and I completely avoided the kitchen all together, only going in to cook.
All in all, it was a good experience. I probably will never live with 5 strangers again and it’s all part of my university chapter. I defiantly contributed to my happy isolated life. At least I only have to clean up after myself and the house doesn’t smell like cheesy feet and skin flakes. With our first year completed and a mutual hatred for randomers, second year was going to be the year of mine and gemma’s house and the worst landlord ever…