Wednesday, August 1, 2012

living through another person

Yesterday I lived vicariously through someone I have never even met...

Let me give you some background. Quota is the non-profit I belong to. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that, and if I have, it's been awhile. You can check out Quota International and our local chapter (yours truly is admin of our blog).

One of our members, Gwen, had asked me if I could clean her condo for her. Due to some bizarre injury and several surgeries, doing things like looking down are difficult if not impossible for her to do. Cleaning is one of those things (I like to remind her how lucky she is that she gets out of cleaning...). I have been doing this for her for over a year.

Her neighbor has been out of the country for the last three years. Jean is coming back home in just over a week. Gwen asked if I could get Jean's condo ready and I said of course.

Jean has traveled a lot. When I say she has been out of the country, I mean, she has not been in her home at all in the last three years.

I find that intriguing.

Her furniture is simple (minimalistic) and her house is very sparse. There is art on the walls from all over the world. She has something like four master's degrees. She clearly likes music (there's a baby grand piano in her living room and the upstairs bookcases were packed with sheet music and books about music).

I cleaned her bathrooms (even though the water had been shut off and nothing had been used and they were basically spotless), I dusted and vacuumed and I removed all the slipcovers from the furniture.

I wondered what it would be like to come home after three years. Will she remember what her furniture looks like? Have her tastes changed? What fun treasures did she find on her travels? Will this place that she calls home feel like it?

For a few hours I imagined what it would be like to travel abroad for so long... maybe, as the saying goes, Home is where the heart is.


  1. I had no idea you were doing all this for Gwen. What a wonderful gift, Emily.

  2. Haha, I didn't want word to get out, I'm not doing this professionally! Just to help out Gwen.