The last few weeks have been interesting. Understatement of our lifetimes, you may be thinking, although I refer not to the trash fire that is this pandemic, but my experience of attempting to move house during it.
My lease is up in May, and as my boyfriend has been quarantining with me and my room-mates since mid-March, due to his parents being high-risk, we decided that it made sense to get our own place. Sure, g'wan, let's throw a whole extra bunch of stress our way, we may as well have said to each other.
As we all know, once lockdown was enforced, the rental market sh*t itself, and suddenly, all those Airbnbs that were taking up *actual* living space for city dwellers were back on Daft.ie. Complete with beautifully placed folded towels on the bed in its advertising photos, no less. And of course, insanely over-priced...but sure, look, Dublin.
It was instantly clear that it wouldn't be too difficult to find a place, since there was an endless stream of properties flooding in. It was a case of finding the right place. The most important aspect for us was having a garden or some kind of green space nearby because...well, basic mental health reasons during a 2km movement restriction.
So, after finding a bunch of places, it came down to the matter of house viewings. The procedure went like this: apply for property, hear from letting agent/landlord, send on references, and be sent a video link via WhatsApp. Yep, the viewings are being carried out virtually right now, through a phone recording, usually with commentary from the current tenants. V futuristic altogether.
After a few disappointments (I was utterly DEVO when we made it to the final two for a place in Terenure, X Factor style, but it wasn't to be), we finally found a place, in Chapelizod, a cute village near town that has the added attraction of a private entrance to the Phoenix Park, directly behind the apartment complex. Yep, the largest enclosed park in Europe would be OUR BACK GARDEN. Plus it's dog friendly. Done deal.
The landlord agreed that we're perfect tenants (thanks bbz) and decided to go with us, but of course we wanted to see the place in person before signing any lease. Thankfully, it's a quick drive from where I'm currently living, so off we went with our gloves and masks to meet the letting agent. It's difficult making a first impression when half your face is covered, so I tried to express all of my friendliness through expressive eye contact. He probably thought there was something wrong with me.
Happy to go with the apartment, we made our way back, and were stopped by a Garda. "What's the purpose for your journey," she asked, to which we responded that we were at a viewing as our current lease is up. "Is that really an essential journey?" she contrarily questioned. I felt like retorting that there are people driving to get takeaway coffees right now or to meet their pals for a house party and we're trying to find, y'know, somewhere to live, after self-isolating for weeks, but she let us drive off after we simply replied "yes".
Since then, we decided to go back and clean the place so it's extra hygienic, considering our now hyper-sensitive collective fear of any kind of germ. Armed with anti-bacterial spray, we doused everything from the backs of cupboards to each and every teaspoon. It was a military operation. Also, I wasn't sure if cleaning companies would still be open, but just FYI, they are; we called a carpet cleaning company, Bogdan Cleaning, who did a brilliant, social-distancing job for a great price with zero hassle booking. H'on Bogdan.
As we made our way back to the car, we met some neighbours, a lovely couple. One of the women went to shake my hand, at which I jumped back a mile and we all did an awkward laugh as she exclaimed, "Jaysis I'm still just not used to it!" Will we ever get used to it, I wondered. She went onto tell us of all the great bars and restaurants nearby, which I again pondered in my head as to when we'll get to visit any of them.
The usual excitement of a big step like this; moving in together officially, to a new area - it was slightly tainted by the fact that nothing is normal right now. But, the overwhelming feeling was relief, and gratitude, to have it all sorted, and to have a new home for us both to make our own.
Right now is packing time. Next weekend is the move in date. Then: the process of making the apartment pretty. Since hardware shops are closed – a decision that I do not understand, all things considered – it may be difficult to tick off all the DIY jobs we want to do, but the likes of IKEA's online service will tide us over. I also ordered a bunch of stuff on Ali Express, but it's likely that they won't arrive until long after a vaccine is found...(oh, the shade!)
Keep tuned for interiors updates! The excitement of which is the defining moment I feel that I have fully transitioned to adulthood. Yes, at 28 years of age. And wha!