Today you are not quite four months old but I have already fallen victim to all the clichés and stereotypes of a mother-to-be and, with your father, we have turned the house upside down in order to make room for you in a redistributed apartment so that it is more comfortable for all three of us. The past few weeks have been intense; drawing, measuring, doing test runs, lighting, shopping for furniture and then assembling the pieces at home, but it has certainly been worth the trouble. As we were assembling the drawers (most of the work was done by your father with help from Hassan, because my prominent belly no longer allows me to stoop, bend over and move around like before), I got to thinking about how life was for my parents and my grandparents, and especially about what has changed from generation to generation and what has remained the same.
When my grandparents (your great-grandparents on your mother’s side), aged 19, got married and moved in together, the first item they bought were wardrobes made by a carpenter to the specifications and taste of the young customers. In the end, instead of investing in buying the apartment, they decided to move to an indefinite long-term rental in another part of the city. They always recalled all that wasted money they spent on the wardrobes which had to be left behind when they moved out. Indefinite long-term rental contracts are an endangered species and will most likely have disappeared by the time you have grown up. However, they were once an affordable option to make monthly payments on a property, which at the end of its rental life, was similar to having paid a deferred long-term mortgage, but with the interest payments transferred to the landlord as opposed to the bank.