I have found myself, lately, thinking a lot about community and even thinking back wistfully on my share housing days. Is that a thing, being nostalgic about share housing? I had two really great periods share housing.
During one of these times I shared a flat that my Mum owned (a lot less landlord stress) with the girlfriend of one of my brother’s friends. We became really close and although the period was probably only a month or two, I still look back on the time as pinnacle in my early independence. My house mate worked shifts and I’d stay up to kick it with her for a few hours at the end of her shift. There was a lot of midnight snacks and tarot readings. I can’t remember cooking together, but I can remember the first time she went shopping. The fridge was so full of food afterwards that I had to photograph it. It had never looked like that when I was doing the shopping. There were about five different types of cheese in there. In my mind, food really does equal love.
The other great share housing experience was years later when my best friend from childhood and I shared a house in our mid-twenties. We advertised for a third house mate and after a few false starts a cheeky Irish lass moved in. We definitely did a lot of cooking (one pot, not quality), we discovered Not Quite Right supermarkets and dined out on practically cents. We watched lots of trashy TV, drank lots of crappy wine. We shared one really great Christmas together there. We even had a little garden we sort of, kind of neglected. During that time Big Poppa lived near by with two of our mutual female friends, so it was kind of like living in two ideal share houses simultaneously. At his house I did lots of house hold cooking and dishes (because everyone else was allergic or something) and it was a really enjoyable communal place to be most of the time, too. It was a really fun time, but like all good share houses it came to an end all too soon and was followed by the progressively more angsty (or typical) share housing experiences for both Big Poppa and I. Eventually it led to both of us taking the leap (read: risk) of moving in together.
Lately, probably partially due to my food funk, I have been longing for a commune. Specifically I have been longing for a gaggle* of exuberant, sociable friends to spend time with in the kitchen and share the house hold chores and enjoy listening to daggy music and lying around in the sunshine when we get a chance. Mostly, I’ve been longing for that gaggle of friends in the kitchen, because I’ve had so many failures lately, even of things that are usually my easy go-to meals. I want someone to teach me how to make tortillas and someone to help me cream my sugar and butter so my biscuits don’t go floury and flat, and I want someone to help me perfect pizza dough and make my own bread and explore vibrant new salad ideas with and share that bottle of wine.
When I read about times long gone I feel as though this was much more a thing – households were more open door. People knew their neighbours and spent time with them. Maybe the past always seems more ideal (I’m sure my memories of share housing are coloured rose by the passing of time).
*I’m not entirely sure why, in this scenario, my friends are geese.