2005… the year I began secondary school as a 12 year old girl living in the Rebel county of Ireland. Roy Keane announced his retirement, Cork was crowned the European Capital of Culture all the while seeing one our best years in GAA where Cork won All Ireland Championships in hurling, camogie and ladies football.
It was my 12th year living in the family bungalow facing the breath taking views of the River Lee. The sun bounces off of the water which brings the reflections of the boats to surface, creating one of the biggest most beautiful landscape to be seen in such a small town. Naturally, a picturesque location includes the local community and neighbours. However, keep in mind that living in a tiny town means everybody knows each other’s business and you cannot peep outside your window without spotting someone you know. While it’s nice to mingle with the neighbours, keeping an eye out for the nosy ones is a must… 😉
In 2005 my neighbourhood was quite different to the one I see before me today. Trees have been replaced by new houses as shop after shop pops up. Nearly 10 years ago all we had was the cosy corner shop. Now there’s about four others competing for survival.
Despite this, something that hasn’t changed much over the years is my homey bungalow. Originally consisting of three bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room and a half kitchen half dining room, it has always felt like home. My parents moved in during the mid-80’s before they were married. Years after my sister and I were born they chose to build an extension where their own kitchen would be created and in turn would release the living room of its kitchen duties. In addition to these rooms, a solid concrete garage stood tall slightly beyond the spacious back-garden which my dad built from scratch. This was not only used to store our belongings but to form a workshop-like construction so he could work from home more often.
At the age of twelve, I wasn’t too impressed that, like a lot of siblings, I had to share a bedroom with my eight year old sister. It was a bright room with one giant window facing the quiet road which eliminated any chance of stuffiness. It was also a surprisingly uncrowded room despite the amount of stuff we owned. With generous sized wardrobes and drawers evenly distributed between us, we were more than happy to fill them. Yet, with little privacy of my own, making the transition from child (or tween) to teenager seemed more difficult with her there. I wanted my own room away from her so I could put my clothes where I wanted and not have to share my things with her while being able to do whatever I thought teenagers did. Typical moody selfish tween!
Finally, moving on to my favourite aspect of the house – the garden. To me, the front and back gardens seemed like enormous rooms where I had the opportunity to do what I wanted and go wherever I pleased. Nearly a decade ago, kids played outside the entire time and our place was ideal for this as I could play games like chase, hide-and-seek and hop scotch (my fave!) on the evenly spread footpaths surrounding the memory filled bungalow which allowed me to let loose and run wild in a perfect circle. Nothing could stop me, I was free!
Like Dorothy once said- “there’s no place like home” and she is totally right! Whether you live in a little apartment with nowhere to move, a two-storey, bungalow or even a mansion there is no place like home. Size doesn’t matter, it’s the people inside the house that count. They’re the ones who create the memories with you and make it feel so homey and comfortable to live in.
I’m lucky in the way that my 12th year in that bungalow was not my last because nine years later I’m still here! This is still my home and always will be, even when I move out and into a place of my own I’ll return to the quiet and dusty old town because that’s where I belong.