So we’ve moved again. I know. It’s insane (our seventh move since 2006). When we moved in October last year it was to the outskirts of town (last stop on the tram line) because we needed ‘breathing space’ in terms of the surface area of living space. By moving into a bigger apartment we broke our cardinal rule – location matters most. We thought we would be happy with a laundry, an extra bedroom, sufficient storage space and a bathroom with a window! Those elements made us happy for about a second. When I found myself ringing Michal each day to bring back bread or milk or something or other from the shops on his way home from work, I knew we made a horrible mistake. We made ourselves car dependent. Argh. Michal I think actually became depressed. And if not depressed than really, really bitey and aggressive (“I despise this place” was a common phrase in the evenings). I tried to find solace in the fact that I had a laundry. But when it took 20 minutes to get to a semi-decent park with Kazek in tow, fighting despicably uneven footpaths, and then later pushing a pram with Julek down those same broken footpaths, I no longer cared much for the separate washing machine space. So when a two bedroom apartment became available on Mazowiecka in the same block of flats we had lived in previously, we jumped for joy and sprinted back to paradise.
This is my favourite area of Krakow to live in. It is green (which is rare). It has a park on the other side of the block of flats. We live in walking distance to our friends Ania and Tomek’s place, because they live on the other side of the said park. It has a grocer who knows my whole family by their first names. It has a medical centre I can reach on foot in about two minutes. The best ice cream in town is a 7 minute stroll through the park. In fact I can WALK to EVERYTHING I NEED. There is even a 24-hour liquor store at the end of the drive way. The tram stop is close enough to love it. Michal’s office is just down the road and he can POP in for LUNCH! When Kazek turns three in August he will be sent to the public pre-school which he will reach by not EVEN HAVING TO CROSS A ROAD. Is this paradise? Yes. Did I get teary when we moved back and Michal and Kazek were both riding their bikes ahead through the park and I was pushing Jules in his pram, and the birds were chirping, and the day was hot and I recognised the mums on the benches with their kids who smiled at me and said hello? Yes I bloody well did. Things are so looking up. The forecast for Justyna is shit yeah!!
I am glad now we had made the mistake of moving to the arse end of town because it has resulted in a pact – Michal and Justyna solemnly declare never to move in Krakow again unless we are kicked out of our apartment or if we have to change cities or countries. The lease is signed at for four years.
I think that this declaration has also made our friends happy. Tukan and Titka, the loyal souls that they are, helped us with the move. Again. The very first apartment we rented in Krakow was in winter of 2006. The temperatures were around -30 Celsius then. We flew into Poland and slept at T&T’s place for a week behind their fold-out couch in their studio apartment. We found a crappy one-room unit that needed to have the wallpaper torn down and a fresh coat of paint. Tukan would come after work and take off his suit and help with the wallpaper tearing. We got kicked out of that place pretty quickly though and had to move about 2ks further away. None of us then had a car. The move involved the four of us lugging all our crap in four backpacks doing I don’t know how many runs. Then we bought a place and T&T were around to help us move again. And then again. And again. They have helped in nearly every single move Michal and I have made in this town. This last one though was pretty significant. It involved the renting of a moving truck. But more importantly it was a long-weekend, the very first hot weekend of the year after a long winter, and instead of enjoying it under a tree somewhere with a beer, both Tukan and Titka sacrificed their whole day lugging really heavy boxes up and down flights of stairs. No whinging. Just lugging.
Our pact is also a homage to them. We never want to have to ask for their help in moving again. Titka reckons we’re being a bit optimistic.