The first house I’ve ever lived in was located down a narrow alley. It had a water well in the backyard that we shared with our next door neighbours. To get water, you use a pulley to lower a bucket into the well and then pull it back up with water in the bucket. There was no electric pump or anything. Just that bucket-and-pulley thing and a manual water pump. We also had a big hole in the backyard where we threw our garbage in and burned it when the hole got too full. I burnt my wrist playing in that hole once. I still have the scar to remember it by. The house was believed to be haunted. I lived there until I was 5.
The second house I’ve ever lived in had no electricity. We used big, battery-powered flashlights at night to light up the house. Our tiny, black-and-white TV was powered by a car-battery that we had to take to a shop to have recharged every now and then. I just assumed that everyone had no electricity so I didn’t find the way we lived strange at all. We had a jasmine bush growing along the driveway. It bloomed all year long. Even now, the sweet smell of jasmine is still my most favourite scent. It reminds me of my mom. She used to pick some jasmine flowers in the morning before she left for work and scatter them on top of her bed. This house was also said to be haunted. We only lasted less than 2 years there.
The third house I’ve ever lived in was a two-storey house in a corner lot with barely a yard, but somehow we still managed to squeeze in two small fish ponds. We shared a wall with the next door neighbours. Before we had a phone, whenever we wanted to hang out with the girls next door, we’d knock on the shared wall and hope that one of the girls would hear it. If they did, they’d knock back and we’d all go outside and play. I lived most of my life there. Things were okay when I was a kid but it only went downhill from there. It hit rock bottom when my mom died. I had to move as far away as I could from that house to feel better. To the other side of the world. To Canada.
The fourth house I’ve ever lived in is our current residence. Eight years ago, we decided we’d had enough of living in an apartment with a bunch of inconsiderate people as neighbours, so we started househunting and found this place. It was old enough for my liking (built in 1919), the price was right, and it was move-in ready. It was destined to be ours, sold to us on its first day in the market. It’s an old, red brick, detached house that’s neither big nor fancy. It creaks, but surprisingly, has no creepy vibes. Some say it’s on the wrong side of the tracks, but I feel safe here. Everywhere I look, I see something that makes me smile, and I get to live in it with my favourite person, who makes me laugh on a daily basis. It’s a great place to be. Everything I love and need is here. It’s home. My home, sweet home.28