“I had an overriding feeling of loneliness where I lived before.”

Interview with a Wohnen+ Basel member about baking and feeling part of a group.

When were you most happy that you live here?
When I look out the window and see the progress in the courtyard, I just love watching the little steps that are being taken and it will make a very beautiful environment eventually. So that’s a very positive and happy almost daily experience.

And as I said to somebody, for a nosy person, I have got just the right flat – you know, there’s always something interesting to look at out the window.

And then, perhaps, another example is that I can come home rather easily from events in the city. I don’t feel frightened at night as a single woman, I feel OK with public transport and I like the fact that it feels really like home. I’ve landed quite well.

What do you like about being part of the Wohnen+ Basel community?
Certainly I think of myself as a somewhat gregarious person. I don’t mind initiating the contact or making myself present in the common room, for example, and just seeing who might come along. I find that very friendly and very nice.

I don’t mind knocking on people’s doors. I read with great interest anything we say in our Signal group which we’ve set. And I very much enjoy casual encounters.

What can you tell us about the community living?
Well, I I do enjoy baking for other people. And when I was living alone, I didn’t have these lovely opportunities that I take now: I know we are regularly having Sunday brunch, so I like to bake something each time. And if I can’t be there myself, I’ll leave it on the table. And that makes me feel part of this group. I like the idea that somebody enjoyed what I’ve done – and today, for example, somebody asked me for the recipe. That’s such a nice thing.

That’s lovely. But may I ask the other way round: Was maybe something difficult for you or challenging in the last few weeks?
I find it a bit odd that I’m on one of the higher floors of the building and that I have to go down to the minus one to use the washing room facilities there. I sometimes feel I wish there was a washing facility on each floor. I happened to be on the floor with no washing facility.

I’m always happy if I happen to run into somebody down there because I like to talk to people, whether it is the cleaning lady or somebody from another floor. There is not a particularly friendly atmosphere in any cellar, of course.

Apart from that, I actually have very few worries or negative things that might have happened in the last two weeks, so I can’t report anything.

Did something change in your life by moving to the Schiff?
I had an overriding feeling of loneliness where I lived before. I’m a person who’s moved for usually very personal or family reasons. The last move I made before coming to the Schiff was different. I certainly had a nice, big apartment, but it didn’t matter in the end.

Because I did a lot of things – and this was post Corona too – completely on my own. I did walking on my own. I walked to town and back, more ore less just filling time.

I was minimally involved really with other people outside because I just moved from another town and I was trying to reach out to people. And that didn’t work very well. There was a a language barrier with the two people I was trying to reach out to as immediate neighbours. So that was kind of difficult.

So how about that loneliness compared with now?
Now I’m not lonely. Those lonely times when I would dwell on the fact that I was a recent widow, that I had my children living relatively far away, that parts of my family live in other countries – compared with now it is so much better for me now. I feel nearly 100% improvement by moving into the Schiff, in every aspect.