Saturday, March 10, 2012
Sitting on the ground for our communal meals; Living in downtown Auckland has strange similarities to what I would imagine living in India might be like.
I live in a studio apartment with 2 Indo-Fijians & an Indian, which later turned into 2 Indians. The smell of curry punches you in the face when you enter the flat & the the walls sweat with the heat. Always bollywood music playing, or an episode of Dance India Dance on.
There's always LOADS of Hindi flying around, which is such a sharp language you always think they're arguing about something. I later found out that's it's not always Hindi. Sometimes the 2 Fijians speak Fijian together, sometimes the Panjabis speak Panjab together, but altogether they can speak Hindi. That hardly seems fair! Irritated me at first, so much that I wanted to interrupt anyone talking in their native tongue in my presence, eventually I realized I don't have to listen to their drivel & can block it out unless they make it super obvious & switch to English. Or maybe I've forgotten english! Neener neener!
But really, I should have learned some Hindi by now. It took me ages just to remember Namaste - Hello. I did learn Good night, but it's gone now.
It takes a special kind of person to live in such close quarters with other people. In my case, a sailor (I suppose), in their case, Indians. I didn't even realize it was more of a cultural thing than a personal thing until I saw the look of incredulity of every other person that came in looking to share our apartment. Oh right, we do live shoulder-to-shoulder. Well, to be fair, they're students.
It's sweet actually. Everyone's encouraged to do whatever they want. Even though it's essentially one room, it took me several days to even meet my roomates. One night, I'd been out late at a concert & stripped into my skivvies, hopping into bed. When I woke up, there was a girl I'd never met laying next to me! New flatmate. She laughed, then taught me all the worst swears in Hindi, then skyped my mom & taught her all the worst swears in Hindi. I was blushing when I had to tell her what they meant!
I am often out till late & they never go to bed until 3ish. Great combo! Even when I'm working at 8am, I'm usually up till 1ish, but when I get woken up to loud cooking, music & Hindi every night, they respond really well when I tell them to shut the f up I have to work in the morning. Every day I was not looking forward to telling them off that night. It's hard to stifle youth when they're in a foreign country on summer holidays & having fun. Or rather, hard to stomach it. Sometimes the grumpy old bear has gotta take a swing at the cubs to keep them in line.
One night I woke up from my hibernation to give them an exasperated grumble, & it was an argument between one of them & her boyfriend. She was trying to break up with him or something, or he may have stolen something...I don't know, it was all in Hindi. They were apparently yelling in the street outside the building & we could hear it from the 10th floor. I told him to get out or I will beat the piss out of him in 10 seconds. It seemed to work well, even if she left with him. The girls stayed up worrying & biting their nails. No thank you! Back to sleep! After his 2 week suspension from the apartment, enforced by me, he was very quiet. As a titmouse! Who says violence solves nothing?
That night the girls were really apologetic to me. They made it seem like "Listen you two, fight all you want, but don't wake Jocelyn up, okay?" Yes please. Well, in theory yes, but if you're in trouble I want to know. Reminds me of wrecklessly driving my car into the ditch & not wanting to call home cause they'd specifically told me to drive safely, even though I still needed help getting out of the ditch...
Best part of living so close together: when your roomate tells you we have an infestation of either bedbugs, fleas, or scabies. They sprayed everything, bombed the apartment & one got checked & it was scabies. I am still an unbeliever. Everyone else is writhing around scratching & I don't have a single bite on me. Aren't I delicious too? A succulent morsel even? I swear it's cause of my cold blood. Back home I am a moveable feast, but here the mousquitoes hide when they hear me shuffling through the grass. So they spray & get special detergents & things. I just keep having sound nights of sleep.
, West Indian.