It just felt weird. Probably because it was such a stark contrast to how we lived. My mother had such an antiseptic, minimalist method of homemaking… no curios; horizontal surfaces easy to dust, lightly colored tones. I wonder how I was molded by my parents’ detail-oriented philosophy. I guess everyone grows up through the filter of their environment; unless they’re exceptionally unimpressive.
Living in another country is like sleeping over at a friend’s house with strange parents everyday. Some procedures and personalities are similar, but there is some part of you that is constantly at work; some fraction of my energy is continually being diverted, listening to speech I only partially understand. Dealing with textures, smells, and contrasts off-kilter from what is ingrained in your mind.
I miss model homes. When I was about nine or ten years old, my parents decided they wanted a bigger house. It seems like it took about two years before they decided on a place. Every weekend and sometimes evenings, my brother and I had to get in the car and trek out to some new neighborhood and another house with a strange set of smells. I hated the forced nature of it, but at the same time it wasn’t so bad. There were plenty of cupboards and closets to hide in. Strange knick knacks and brands of cereal my mother would never buy. I remember one house, in a style I guess you’d call a rancher. 1960s, all the wood moulding was dark walnut, the appliance and range a campy sun bleached blue and orange. Everything smelled musty, like my grandfather’s garage, I guess they never opened a window or anything. The house was out in one of those seedy rural areas, dark, lots of weeds, buried under trees with low boughs.