I affectionately refer to my flat as “The Hobbit Hole”. It is small, dark and cozy. Leaving my flat in the day time might give you the same feeling as opening those heavy Vegas hotel room curtains first thing in the morning after a night that was the equivalent of two Fridays and a Saturday. Some folks have called my flat a “glorified dorm room”, while others have called it “The Black Hole”. Basically, once you come inside my itty bitty flat, you just don’t want to leave.
I have the rare pleasure of living alone in Prague, thus the tiny flat. Most teachers here live with at least one flatmate, usually more. English teaching in Europe sure sounds glamorous, but if you are looking to make money you are looking in the wrong place. I pay a very large portion of my very small salary to my rent so that I can live alone.
The Hobbit Hole has everything I need. I have a shower, a washing machine, a kitchen, a big bed and utilities/internet included. I also get the added bonus of having heated bathroom floor tiles. (A friend of mine suggested that I sleep in there because it is so incredibly awesome.) But I don’t have a stove, and I can’t really have “people” over. I can have about one guest at a time. So no dinner parties for me. But, the trade-off is that I do get my privacy. I don’t have to worry about putting on clothes when scurrying to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I can have a fella over if I so choose and not have to worry about a flatmate and their proximity to my room. I can have an underwear dance party anytime, and as loud as I want. These things are worth more to me than a stove.
I am working on my fifth year as an expat and one thing that I have learned about myself is that I don’t really need anything. When I look at my life before moving here I am baffled by the amount of “stuff” that I felt I needed. I needed a car, a billion pairs of shoes, cool furniture, a TV, cable, a computer… But I am happy to say that if I needed to, I could fit my life into a suitcase and run. That is cool. The Hobbit Hole is a reflection of how I have scaled back my life to the point that actually fit in this little, tiny space.
I like my life here. I like having a four-day work week. I like getting off of work at 1pm and hanging out with my friends drinking beer in the park. I like being able to schedule my work around my social life – and not the other way around. I am so happy to have people in my life here that support me and pretty much think I’m bad ass. The friends I have here don’t look at my little flat and think, “Awww… how sad. She lives alone in that little dorm room.”
No. They think, “Fuck man. I wish I had heated floor tiles…”