So as mentioned in my previous blog I don’t, at the moment, have a home! In reality I have not had a home since I left South Africa in 2001 (just 18 days away from the 10th anniversary!!!) Since I last slept in my bed in my one up, one down house in Cape Town I have lived out of a suitcase and slept in dozens and dozens of different beds! And except for a brief period of 1 year when I rented a room in a shared house back in 2007, I have essentially had neither a home nor my own bed.
When I arived in the UK I started work as a Care Assistant in a Care Home and have worked (except for that 1 year) pretty much as a Care assistant since then, and this entails a lot of moving around.
This was one of the biggest factors for quitting my job this year….I yearn for a place of my own. A place where I can hang up my clothes, put out my books, put my toiletries in the bathroom (and not worry they might get used), a place that stays mine even when I go on holiday. Working as a Carer you have to pack up all your belongings and move them out the house when you go on leave and mostly you move on from one place to the next every 2 weeks. At first this was great as I got to see and explore little villages and towns I would never have gone to under my own steam. But after 4 years I have had enough of that and I really want to settle down.
So the first 3 weeks after I quit my job saw me staying with my daughter for a few days, then onto a short-term job, then to stay at a friends place – initially that was meant to be for a few days but the agency let me down and I didn’t get any more work from them, and the one placement they gave me cancelled the day before I was due to go….so no job!! in the end I stayed at my friends place (she was in South Africa) till the 11th and then to my absolute dismay I moved into a hostel. Urgh!! I spent hours and hours looking for a short-term let but not only are they prohibitively expensive but they are few and far between and mostly, by the time you phone, the place has already gone. Desperation was by then my middle name and at 11.32pm on the 10th I checked myself into a hostel.
Staying at my friend’s place saw it’s own challenges coz she shares with someone else and that person had no qualms when I was watching a programme to just take the remote and change the channel. Even if I had someone staying over I would never do something like that! But I had a room to myself and a lovely walk to the station and a commute that I used for study time. People and internet marketing 🙂 It fascinates me no end the sheer volume of people that use the tube in the mornings and how very different they all are.
I left her place on the 11th and moved my stuff from one storage unit in north London to another in south-west London. As it turned out I could have left it for another month and saved some money!!! I sometimes wish I had a crystal ball. I stayed in a hotel last week Monday night courtesy of my lovely daughter…. 🙂
A fab little place in Richmond with the most amazing view of the river. A most enjoyable evening and I was really sad to leave the next morning. But before I left I made the most of a delicious full-english breakfast. A great way to start the day and my new job.
So anyhow I moved into the hostel last week Tuesday night. All well and good to start…..a 4 bed dorm shared with 3 other girls. I got the top bunk ( 🙂 ) which is all very good and well….however!!! it entailed some climbing every time I got into or out of bed! Can you just imagine!!! at my age climbing up into the top bunk. It does’nt bear thinking about. Mind you when I was younger I always bagged the top bunk….I can’t stand being confined and sleeping on the bottom bunk does my head in. My roomies appeared to be rather nice and I settled in for the night, and next days walk to work was marvellous. We have been blessed with some fabulous weather the last 2 weeks.
It’s quite weird staying in a hostel with dozens of younsters, mostly foreign, either on holiday or working. It’s not exactly posh! Quite the opposite with faded carpets curling at the edges, very basic facilities, only a basin and a shower in each room (if youre lucky), tattered duvets, no towels, kitchen facilities that make me cringe, toilets on the landing so small you can’t turn around sideways. So what I have decided to do is pretend that I am doing research on hostels in London for my website, and that I am practising for when I go to to Spain on the Camino. When I do that I will have to stay in hostels which offer very basic facilities and I may just have to climb to the top bunk.
I was informed when I checked in that I would have to move to another room after a couple of days! What? You have to be kidding me right!!! they were not and I was not….pleased that is. That meant I had to pack everything up and lug the bag downstairs before work on Thursday morning.
So on my way home that night I got the best call ever from my daughter. The woman she was sharing with has decided to return to Brazil and whoooohoooo, we are taking over the lease of the house. This is the best news ever. We will finally have a place of our own again. She had so wanted to stay there long term, what with the garden and all and that she loves the area. So from 15th October I will finally have a home again. The excitement is beyond belief and now we can plan ahead for Christmas and all of those wonderful things. That news made my day!!!
So when I got home on Thursday night I hauled my bag upstairs from the storeroom and up to the room on the 4th floor (bearing in mind my bag weighs about 30 kgs) and opened the door to my new apartment (hahaha)….and then I got the shock of my life. They had put me into a mixed room. As I opened the door the first thing I saw were two guys in the room, Initially I was like, ‘Oh! Right, visitors….thats not good’. And then it dawned on me! Omgosh they had put me into a mixed room.
I nearly passed out with shock. I left my bag on the landing an flew down the stairs to reception… no matter my pleading they were adament I had booked a mixed room. No! I had not!!!
Anyhow I checked the confirmation and it definitely said ‘shared’ not ‘mixed’ Now in my language shared and mixed are two very different things. I spent the next 20minutes pleading with them to move me but they did’nt have another spare bed anywhere and that was that. I felt bereft and on my way up the stairs I just cracked. I sat down on the stairs and for the next two hours cried my eyes out. Then feeling utterly shattered, and unless I wanted to sleep on the stairs, I made my way to the room and yeehaa I had the bottom bunk. Hahahaha. What a joke.
And what a mission. I had to unpack all my pyjamas and stuff, make my way downstairs, change in the toilet area and then go back upstairs to the room. I switched off my mind and climbed into bed. By then I was exhausted and fell asleep almost immediately, only to be woken a few hours later by one of the chaps coming in and ……did he close the door? No he let it slam shut behind him. Omg!!! I thought I might just have a nervous-breakdown. The very thought of staying in that room till I left was not doing my psyche any good whatsoever. They had to move me to another room!!!!!