Windows

Nikola and I have started looking for a house. A home. A place to call our own. Partly because next year we will be able to afford a house (barring any crazy financial mishaps) and partly because I went a little insane during our spur-of-the-moment move last month.

It was something about taking down the fabrics we hung on our wall and packing away our curtains for the foreseeable future. It was something about painting over our names on the door and leaving behind the wood stove we took so much time to pick out and install.

It was also about moving into a furnished house. By ‘furnished’ in Bulgaria they mean, ‘full of someone else’s personal belongings.” Toys. Clothes. Entire rooms that we can’t use. The bed they had sex on. It doesn’t seem to bother Nikola, but I am one of those people who believe that rooms and belongings hold energy, and after I work so hard to put my own positive energy into a place, I don’t want to be crowded with the random energy of strangers.

Yes. That is the best word. I feel so crowded. Crowded, and insecure, knowing we will have to relocate again in six months. That is how I felt, and it showed. To the point that I got seriously depressed for a few days, considered bailing on Bulgaria completely, and Nikola promised we would look into buying a home more seriously.

Our home. That we can’t get kicked out of. Our home. With only our belongings. Only our energy. A safe space for me in a country where I feel so awkward and out of place…

Currently, our search is in its infancy. I browse the real estate ads on various websites and send anything appealing to Nikola for him to tell me yes or no or, “Uh huh…” We have found a couple of houses that we like, but the decent places tend to get snatched up rather quickly by the Brits, and no decent place in our price range is going to stay on the market for a year. So, really, I am just getting a good feel of what we can actually expect to find for the money we want to pay. You know, “Research.” (Nikola calls it obsession. Whatever.)

But this has made me start viewing houses completely differently. Today, I was walking to the store, looking at all of the new constructions in the area and I noticed how huge their windows are. We are talking very large, nearly floor to ceiling windows along the entire south wall. It is very common now days, and I have to admit that I love it. The cat in me wants nothing more than to curl up in the sunshine from those reenforced, double pane windows and fall asleep.

However, these are very different from the old village houses that come up in my search (and that are still in this neighborhood). Those houses have tiny windows. They are basically little caves with a bit of light coming in here and there, and none of these grand explosions of sun.

It makes me wonder if this move towards huge windows is simply because of advancements in technology or if it has something to do with the crumbling of society. I mean, of course bigger windows are more affordable, easier to transport and install… yada yada, within the reach of everyone. BUT. I wonder if it has something to do with the modern man’s desire to separate ourselves from others.

We lock ourselves in our homes. Perfect climate control. Sunlight streaming in. Skylights to see the stars at night. A whirlpool bathtub in place of a hot spring. Everything is so sterile and individualized. We want to control everything.

These old houses with small windows had amazing summer kitchens. Patios next to the house with a stove, a canning setup, and a picnic table. It makes me think that there used to be a separation between private space and nature- and people went out into nature more often. They heard the birds. They got hot. They sweated. They walked to the town center. They said hello to their neighbors.

I know, I romanticize the past. It is one of my weaknesses.

It’s just that up here in my tower room, which gets sunlight every day, and up here on my balcony that is perfect for yoga, I can’t help but wonder if our houses were less beautiful, would we spend more time with strangers and friends and walking in the woods?

Is it a question of windows, or have I simply gotten lazy? 

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