For the last 4 years, I've house-sat and dog-sat for my friends whenever they travel. I love their home (and the dogs, of course) dearly, and am going to miss it so much when I move away next month. This is their home, but a little part of my heart will stay here...
It's an immense honor and responsibility to look after someone's home, and I like to think my friends have entrusted me with it because they know how much I love it, and how fiercely protective of it I am. Sure, I've broken a few of their drinking glasses over the years, but I watch over and take care of their home and dogs as if they were my own. I've stayed here in sickness and in health, when I was freshly heartbroken and when I was falling in love. This is what makes it all the more shocking that I'll be leaving it soon!
They live in a beautiful flat that is everything my studio apartment is not: theirs is sturdy and old, a survivor of both big San Francisco earthquakes. My walls are paper-thin. Theirs is on a quiet street (plus those thick old walls help), mine is noisy in every possible way — rowdy street, rowdy neighbors, and those paper-thin walls. Theirs has classic San Francisco charm — molding, fixtures, fireplaces — while mine is a blank, beige box. Theirs is in a neighborhood where people can have planters on their porch without them getting stolen/peed on in five minutes (though my friend has had a couple plants ripped out!), unlike mine. While I love my neighborhood and am so glad I've gotten to spend the last eight years there, their flat is an oasis I visit every couple of months, a sneak-peak into a different life.
The biggest difference is their apartment feels like a home: a magical combination of three people, their art, their books, their styles, their cozy and fun life together. My apartment has certainly been a home to me, but... look: I don't think for a minute that you need to live with someone or be married to make a home. It's just that my friends have done it so beautifully, so creatively, so thoughtfully, that I'm greatly looking forward to making a home with someone myself.
When I move away, I'm sure I'll miss my darling studio: the way-up-high window in my shower, the countless pizzas I've made in my tiny kitchen, the Gossip Girl floor picnics, the perfect evening light, the knowledge that just a flight of stairs away, a fascinating street was waiting for me. But I'll also miss this home I've had the privilege to visit, one of my very favorite places in the world.
(Image: Tess Wilson)