Missed me? I’m sorry if you were hoping for a few interesting stories after the winter break, but the last few months have been extremely busy for me. It feels like I just recovered from an overdose of schoolwork. Add to that actual work, a move to a new home and having no internet for a month and you will have to put your life aside for a while. Fortunately, I’m back and as I just moved to a new place (and a nice one for that matter), I want to share a story about when I first started to live by myself.
As a student, you tend to move around a lot — we’re going places, you know. Every move feels like a new adventure; different place, different neighborhood, different people… In between all of these different adventures, there is one place I’ll never forget though, which was – believe it or not — at an urban farm. It all happened 2,5 years ago during the summer break. I had passed my high school exams, finished high school and I was ready to go to university. So, as most people in that position, I decided to move out of my parent’s house and live on my own. Quite a challenge, but I was more than ready to finally take that next step. And so the hunt for a room in the densely populated student town called Delft began…
Finding a room proved to be harder than I thought. I searched, called, e-mailed and searched again… By the time I was about to consider not to move out at all, I got a phone call. On the other end of the line I heard an enthusiastic young man talking, presumably in his mid-twenties. After a couple of questions about my hobbies and whether I like music and movies, he offered me to come by for a visit to his student house. He told me the house is a farm in the center of Delft, next to the water, and he offered a room there for a relatively cheap price. As you can imagine, to me it almost sounded too good to be
true, so there I went; off to visit the farm in Delft.
By the time we arrived, I had made myself some expectations about the place, but I could tell the man on the phone wasn’t lying; the farm was located in the center of delft, in a nice neighborhood and right next to the water. When I was struggling to open the fence to the farm, an old man came out of the front door: “Hi, let me help you”. I recognized his voice and at that moment I knew; this was the man I spoke on the phone! However, it wasn’t the young, enthusiastic student in his mid-twenties I expected him to be. Instead, it was a 60 year old gay man with only six fingers. Nothing wrong with any of that, of course, but he kind of leaves a lasting first impression. I can imagine, though, that this impression could have scared off some other students who came by to see the room earlier, but not me of course. I don’t like judging people in the first place and you know… I could really use a room at that time, so I didn’t really have the luxury to turn around and run away. Moreover, the man seemed like a very kind, sincere and warm person and it turned out he was, so I had absolutely nothing to worry about.
After the first acquaintance, we got a tour around the house and that’s when I realized something else. The house wasn’t just called a farm, but it was an actual farm! With real cows and real milking machines! I didn’t notice it at first, because the cows are in the meadow during summertime. I also found out that the man who showed us around rented two rooms of his farm to students, that he had no partner, that he loved antique furnishing and that he had a massive collection of LPs and CDs. But after the tour I didn’t know yet that this guy was going to be my landlord for the next year…
Rap and porn
When I look back at the year I lived at an urban farm, I have to say it definitely was a fun year. There were always some black spotted friends to greet me in the winter and besides the one time I was locked up in my room for half a day (the door handle broke), my landlord’s enormous outburst of rage about which tortillas we ate some time ago and a stench in my clothes that no washing machine, but only time could remove, I can’t say anything really strange happened. My landlord and I both shared a passion for music, which I think is quite remarkable. A difference of 40 years and he knew about the newest tracks of Kanye West and Jay-Z before I did..!? He loved movies and TV shows too, especially those historical ones like I, Claudius and Rome. However, I did think his taste was a bit questionable. The one night he could pick a movie for movie night, he chose Caligula — apparently one of his favorite movies of all time. For those of you that don’t know the movie; it’s pretty much a giant orgy combined with a story about some notorious Roman emperor, and it leaves little to nothing to the imagination. Yet, the acting performances go a little further than your average housewife and the pizza guy scenario. But still, I didn’t feel too comfortable that night… Another fun fact about my former 60 year old landlord is that he’d occasionally went out. I never had the courage to ask him whereto, though. But something tells me I’m better off not knowing. What surprises me, is that after all the other student still lives at the farm. The last time I spoke with him he told me that some time ago he had to come out of bed in the middle of night, so that he could help give birth to a calf. He had to grab it with both hands and pull it right out of the cow. Well, even though it might be quite eventful, I guess that’s one thing you can’t wake me up for in the middle of the night. The delicious homemade pudding and desserts my former landlord made on the other hand… for those certainly!
So, this was the first place where I lived free from the care of my parents; at an urban farm. What do you think? Would you want to live there? It definitely wasn’t the place where I expected to end up, but in the end it gave me a whole bunch of new perspectives on things I would never have had otherwise. For example, only the notion that a farm could be urban is something that I really couldn’t have thought before. And in the end, the farmer who rented me the room there turned out to be a very kind and considerate man, who was always there to help me with whatever I needed. Thus, my advice, if you ever get offered something out of the ordinary, take it! And if you already have or are about to, share your experiences below.