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Home away from home

The notion of home
Home is represented by very different ideas depending on who you ask. For those who never left, it is the place where they grew up and stayed, often where the majority of their family, friends and even more distant relatives are. For regular expats, home is typically where the job, friends (at least a subset of them), partner and kids are. The latter is more of an abstract concept, that relates more with the activity than with the physical location. In the past, that's what home was for me. The place where Enrique is, where we work and live together.

Our life in Málaga made me question that concept quite often, as he would not be there on average, for 6 months a year. This summer I had a fun realization, that it felt more home in the tiny apartment of Seoul than the rest of 2017 - he was in Sweden, I was ping-pong between Europe and Asia on weekly basis. Our life in Gangnam was nowhere ideal but, we had each other, on daily basis.

Through the starting of my new life in Bangkok, I am once again reconsidering the concept of home. When hearing with the fun weekend plans with the Spanish and friends in Bangkok, Enrique told me that this seemed like my second Erasmus, which made me realize how lucky I am to be given the chance again (but on my 30s) to have some time on my own, when I can explore who I am, what drives me, what makes me happy. To process this variety of experiences in the silence provided by living alone. Distance relationships are often seen negatively by the society, when in fact it is many of us in this kind of situation (I can count 4 friends who have their hubby in another city). While the transition from being a normal couple into one geographically split is tough, spending time alone eventually provides a chance to shut down the world, take care of yourself in a deeper level. It also makes you give the apppropriate value to the moments spent together for the magic time they are. The true realization of the the volatility of life allows you to live fully.

From the psychological, into the physical home
One of my colleagues was extremely suprised to hear that I was moving to Bangkok "despite having renovated my apartment during the summer". The irony of destiny.

We bought our apartment in Malaga towards the end of 2014, when having some issues with the landlord - I ended up in court as the building owner was not paying back the loan to the landlord, meaning that all of us tenants were at risk of being kicked out as soon as the trial was over - and a hard time to find rental apartments in Málaga which we liked and could meet our budget. Back then it felt like jumping from the top of a cliff, but after completing the major changes - installing the stairs, changing all the hideous brown wood by white walls and concrete floors - we were both happy with the decision. The apartment was instrumental for Málaga to start feeling like home. There was one thing missing though, which was the terrace. It was not very pleasant and we had water leakage under heavy rain, which is more common than you probably think in Málaga. We converted a small pool into the dining area pictured, covered the walls with concrete and installed some ambient lightning. This took the whole month of June, brought me to the hospital (as I had a bronchitis crisis as it turns out I am allergic to concrete dust). But it was finally done, another great job of Adrian Scarrone and his company MDQ reformas (highly advisable if you want to fix your home in the area). When everything was ready, we left to Seoul for the summer. Soon after, I ended up here.

After a notable time, money and effort investment... I am back at square zero, as home-less being who has to battle the real estate market of Bangkok - alone for the first time. As I noted quite some curiosity by those of you who also follow me on instagram and found it extremely useful to read online about the experiences of fellow expats, I decided to write a mini series of posts this week, to capture what it takes to find an apartment in Bangkok.

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