For the first time in my life I’m living on my own.
In February my flatmate, Adele, moved out. I think the teacher flats were not really what she was expecting. I had only done a minimum of research into the accommodation, but the suggestion of bringing picture hooks to put into the concrete walls was all I really needed to know. I wasn’t going to be living in some sort of mud hut with lions roaming my garden. In some ways this is a shame because it would have been an interesting experience, but I love tv too much.
So Adele moved into an orphanage just outside the town and I think she’s mostly enjoying it. It is a bit more of an ‘authentic African experience’ whatever that may be, whereas the flats are essentially like living in student halls.
Each flat has two teachers, apart from James and Kerstin’s as they are married and she does something to do with selling equipment to mines. We are paired up girl/girl and boy/boy, with one from the primary school and the other from secondary. On the whole this system works well because we don’t end up in each others pockets all the time. But as with any shared accommodation, it does have its drawbacks. We end up spending a lot of time with each other and tempers can fray. Luckily, this has been the exception rather than the rule and we wonder in and out of each other’s flats like Australian soap characters or the ‘Friends’. Actually, I take that back, most people knock a bit first, but I tend to just wander in. No one has complained yet, but maybe that’s because they know I’m on a count down now.
I do like the option to just shut my door and not have to deal with anyone. And now that Adele has moved out it means that when I shut my door it’s just me. And the geckos, the militant cockroach that stubbornly refuses to die and about 6 different species of ant that inhabit my kitchen, pantry and bathroom. And the sinister looking red-eyed pigeons on the roof outside my dining room window. (It’s not a separate dining room, just the window next to the table, the room is partitioned for function. I believe the ‘Changing Rooms’ staff would be proud.) And the very noisy magpies that caw on the veranda. And the bats that sporadically appear and just circle the sitting room, occasionally diving towards my head. And the mosquitos. And the rat that was eating my candles and sandwich bags in the kitchen drawers, that hopefully has been trapped or killed, otherwise may still be scurrying under my cooker.
Yes, as you can see, living on your own gives you a quiet life.
I don’t mind it really, it gives an element of surprise every time I go to cook or go for a shower, but the bats have been startling any visitors that make their way to the third floor. The flat’s dog, Edward, usually manages to rid me of the magpies if I open the back door for him. But I am afraid that he may at some point go over the wall in his excitement to get them.
I do like to be able to cook whatever I want, watch crappy TV and films, listen to whatever I like and not have to get properly dressed. PJs are fine if you’re on your own. But. On the other hand it means you can’t tell someone a joke you’ve just heard, you can easily watch 7 hours of crap instead of doing work because there is no one to police you, there is no one to share your dinner with.
So it’s a balancing act. The last few days I’ve been intending to write the reports for my class. This coming week is a busy one, reports due in on the 14, class assembly on the 14th, secondary prize night on the 14th and my choir still needs to learn the song we are performing, selling cakes for the PTA on the 14th, rugby competition on the 11th, cross country competition on the 13th, 6th form prom on the 15th, the secondary music reports due on the 18th…
So I’ve diligently been writing my reports.
Of course I haven’t.
Until today. Today I’ve sat for hours getting on with them and they are nearly done. Because I know that I work better under pressure and once I get writing and in the right frame of mind I can just do it. But it has meant that I’ve been feeling a wee bit guilty all week for basically being slack.
Maybe I’m prolonging things. I’ve got 4 more weeks left here and it’s crept up on my like a very stealthy thing. I’m excited to go back, I’ve got things planned to do, but it’ll be very strange packing everything up again and knowing I’m probably never coming back here.
I’ve sort of packed one bag, but all the photos are still up, a few more added to the wall in fact and I’m not quite sure when I should start.
I have been thinking that I’ve been very introspective in my recent posts so in the final weeks I’m going to try to bring a bit of a glimpse into life in Mwanza. But obviously I’ll have to get my real work done first.
So until I get to write again, I think you should watch this, imagine me, but a little bit warmer than in the clip.