It is a few days left until I move into my apartment in London; an exciting, scary, and new stage I’ll enter. Although moving doesn’t sound exciting to everyone (the stress of carrying luggage, and transferring things to another address etc…), this is the first apartment that I acquired and will live on my own – so its a big deal that I get it “right”. And maybe soon I’ll have a housewarming to show off the new digs once I paint and stuff.
However, I have been hesitant about this, as it shows how invested I am in staying in London — a two year lease and some intensive interior decorating. However, any doubts that I had about moving from my shared-house to my own place was wiped away last night.
I was very fortunate through a friend in New York to be introduced to a girl a year younger than me, but who had a room in her mother’s house that I could rent. I am staying with her mother and brother. They have been very welcoming and I always consider myself lucky that I found her; it helped with my transition and gave me someplace stable and affordable while I looked to step up.
The daughter lives on her own, not too far away with her own young family, and the mother is a nurse who is a workaholic. The son, who is 30, stays at home. When I talked to him, he told me he was out of work and had been for two years — it had gave me anxiety about how difficult it must be to find work, especially skilled work (administrative, professional etc..); and I expressed this to my landlady who is more like my UK mom now, and she always told me not to worry, I will find something– a month later I did.
Now before ya’ll accuse me of being that immigrant that comes and steals local jobs; this job was asking for a specific language skill-set that I have, although they do have positions there for people without being fluent in another language.
Anyway, things have been fine. Really. I did noticed some things about him that really seem strange.
- Like sleeping all day but up all night “watching TV”.
- The strong smell of cannabis from his room and from whenever he returned from the garden.
- As well as up to this point, there has been only two times that I’ve seen him leave the house.
The first time, he escorted me to the post office to exchange my money to GBP currency, and the second time he was on his way to the job center. I assume it is like the United States when you are receiving benefits, every once in a while you have to go and speak with the counselor and show them that you are looking for work etc… but I mean, even the average person wouldn’t want to stay in their house for weeks without leaving? As well as he tended to get “visitors” more often when his mom wasn’t home. Now these visitors never stayed, except for the 1 or 2 friends that he sits on the couch with; most often the doorbell rings, and he goes and gets it, says a few words to someone and they leave.
I guess these Jehovah Witnesses are really active in this neighborhood, and dedicated too! They will come to the door at all hours of the night.
He finally got a job about a month ago, a temporary rolling contract that seems all too common here; but he’s only working until they remove sanctions from him receiving the benefits. So if the job lets him go through no fault of his own, then he can go back on welfare.
What can I say? The benefits system is very strong here; I know there are people who abuse the system in the U.S. too, but I never had an inside knowledge of this.
On Friday, a family friend from France came to visit me for the weekend. I put her up in my room and slept on the floor of the living room. Friday night was fine, although my roommate had to come in two or three times to get to the garden to smoke. I was gone most of Saturday for a tournament, but my friend and him seem to get along very well, they even shared some wine together that she brought from France. So we went to dinner and came back very late – after midnight — and I was completely exhausted. Between playing five softball games and then having to “look alive” for a night in Camden Town I was dead.
**Good news is, my team went into the semi-finals and won the final tournament!!**
He was sitting in the living room, with one of his friend who actually comes to stay, and when I asked where all my belongings were so I could lay them out, he responded that he collected them and put them in my room. I asked him why, and he said he is using the living room and I needed to sleep upstairs. I was surprised, and then his friend — who seemed to understand what is happening — got up quickly to leave. I asked “where? In your room?” I was really confused what he wanted me to do. Because my guest was in my bedroom, and then there is his room and my landlady’s bedroom. So I explained that we have a guest sleeping in my room, and I was going to take the living room for just the next few days, he got very angry and said that it he didn’t know about this, and he didn’t care that there was a visitor here and I said. “Well, she’s here now and there’s nothing we can do…but I need somewhere to sleep – so if you won’t give me your room, and my landlady hasn’t said its OK to use her room, then I have sleep downstairs. He ended by saying I can sleep there, but he will continue to watch TV every night on, no matter what; and I know he watches until 4 or 5 a.m
So I’m wondering if this is cultural, where if I guess is invite over, you share the bedroom together, as oppose to American tradition when you “give” someone your room for his/her stay?
Or is this gentleman not normal?
So, I have been thinking about this and I feel that his behavior adds up to something abnormal. I mean if your entire life involves around sleeping, watching TV, and smoking — and you take away one of those things then the stable triad becomes an unstable being. To me, I thought it would be a minor inconvenience, but nothing to ever write about — but my life revolves around many different things that breaking a routine for a few days wouldn’t make me angry.
However, this isn’t just a “he”problem its a family problem. This morning I suspected that my landlady doesn’t want to talk about it, or maybe she is just tired. Even his sister seem nondescript when I texted her about how upset he became in front of everyone. So, it sounds like they know or its happened before; because I would have expected a stronger reaction — why is a grown man acting like this?
Its true what they say — that when you have nothing left your family will be here for you. And at one end you have to admire that, it takes a lot of patience to deal with someone who is “stuck” and based from what I was told, has been “stuck” or “lost” since he was teen. We have all been lost at one point, whether its for the 6 months you are looking for a new job, or the two years after that divorce. But how long is too long? Why can some people say its enough and try to find their own way, while others do not? And how do families/social network help with finding one’s way?
So what motivates you to do the things you want to do in life? What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations? How will you attain them– basically whats the difference between sitting on the coach — waiting for things to happen versus pushing you to reach for them?
Tell me @ReporterandGirl or Facebook.