For over a year I’ve so far spent more than an hour in person with very few people, it’s a warm feeling where you sensitivity is heightened and you might get a vivid snapshot that resets your previous impressions, especially if you visit people on their own turf. You arrive to a house that’s a new build, appointed with the latest technology gadgets, an Alexa with screen that allows you to vary the colour tones and light intensity of each bulb, so that you see their incandescent coils glow brighter through upturned clear glass cups in which they are housed. You walk passed the granite topped kitchen island to a garden that is in project of being landscaped with wide dry stone walls. On the recently laid patio is a large rattan table with a thick glass slab on top and an oblong gas stove in the centre to keep you and your food warm in all seasons. The rattan looks so even and solid it could be mistaken for a vegetable based resin that has only just been invented. You sit down with your friends who bring you tea and cake and have conversations that start with Covid 19, the perks of working from home, and evolve to become warmer, more humorous and more intimate as the hours go buy. It’s only your second visit to this new home, so while searching for the toilet you take in the decor, the startling cleanliness, the cool neutral shades, the clever use of every inch of space, allowing for large items to look even larger. The beauty is understated hidden behind the no nonsense good quality and apparent minimalism. As you return to the garden and rejoin the conversations, unanswered questions begin to form below your level of awareness. A rainfall brings you all back indoors and you continue talking in the kitchen for a while while very slowly preparing to leave. You still have more to say to each other so you continue talking even as you are out of the door. As a parting shot you reiterate how impressed you are with the new place and your friend says something like: “in fact we are planning to move out in the countryside in 5 years time to build our dream house out there” and suddenly you feel a sense of something resolving, and a story beginning to make sense. Your friends are creating a beautiful home for someone else to live in, it’s only a stepping stone towards another dream. Like with my learning singing they are practicing applying patience in pursuit of their their dreams.

Photograph courtesy of Matt Walsh

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Sophie Bierens de Haan

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