I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 18, spent all my twenties living in hostels and paying guest accommodations. To say the least, it has been an amazing experience. Now that I am setting up my own home, I look back at those years with fondness, the years that helped me grow and learn some very important life skills.
Stitching – Something as simple as stitching can save your heart from breaking and give you a stress free online shopping experience. ‘When in doubt order a bigger size’ has been my motto, but when the sleeve of the dress starts drooping or the hemline is too long, one needs to know how to twiddle a needle and make it look perfect. In addition, the charge for altering clothes in Sydney sometimes exceed the price of the dress itself. Ranging from $7 to $35 for just ‘cut and sew’. My mom had packed a sewing kit in my luggage when I said my first Goodbye. Initially, my awesome roommate (appalled by my extraordinary stitching talent) would snatch the Kurtis from my hand and do it for me. But time teaches you stuffs … and this is one of them.
Talking – Being painfully shy meant I had zero confidence to even ask for basic things, like buying potatoes from the Grocery Bhaiya. Moreover, my first workplace was Chennai, which meant I learnt the sign language first and then talking. How to talk to the Cleaning Lady without offending her, how to ask the landlord to provide water every day, how to bargain with Auto bhaiya, how to make friends … sounds like a book by Shiv Khera, but hey, this is how life goes.
I have also learnt to give people the benefit of doubt. The difference in language and accent can sometimes make people sound more rude than they actually are.
Cooking – “Learn at least one dish that you can cook with confidence, not for anybody else, but for yourself”. This was a piece of advice that my Dad gave me before I left home, which in short meant – learn something that won’t burn the house down. He knows what a disastrous cook I am. The first few months resulted in enormous phone bills when I would call my mom to ask the ratio of water and rice or whether the turmeric goes first or the Chilli powder. In fact I even wrote a post on the Art of Peeling a Potato (which I am still terrible at). Let’s just say over the years, both my husband and I have learnt to survive on each other’s cooking 🙂
Considerate – Living with 150 odd girls surely teach you how to be considerate. To be careful if you are encroaching on the privacy of others, to mince your words before you say it, to be accommodating. Though, I do realize now that back then I had faltered on many occasions, said or done things that I am not very proud of. Probably it’s a part of growing up too, you learn to read between the lines – To make an attempt to understand people, to respect their life choices , opinions and private space.
Love the solitude – When you are surrounded by parents, their siblings and your siblings – living alone is a scary business. So when it is Diwali time and there’s no one around, you got just one solution – ‘Deal with it’, without cribbing to people or on social media. Be it eating alone in restaurants, shop without girlfriends, travel without partner, nursing a wound, movie marathons or cooking just for myself, I have done it all and I love it. Not everyone can be there to sort matters for me. All these years away from home have trained me that I can really look after myself, and others too (as long as I don’t watch Conjuring or Annabelle)
I am pretty sure staying away from home has taught you some great skills too. Do share in comments.