Hello to everyone!
So I’m home now.
Well, I say “home”. I’m not anywhere I’ve ever called “home” before. I’m not at my mum’s flat-roofed house in the Borders; I’m not in Robertson’s Close, the place I’d come to call home last year; nor am I even at Grant’s place in Zanesville, which I did catch myself calling “home” a couple of times, even though I guess I didn’t really have any right to. No – I’m at my new flat in Edinburgh, which I’ll be renting out for the coming year with my friend and flatmate from last year, Jenny. But I’m still in this weird interim period before Jenny arrives, living with another friend until the end of the summer, and I’m kind of caught in some weird limbo. Half of my stuff is still not unpacked; I’ve yet to christen the washing machine (although that will need to be done VERY soon); my walls remain empty and I’m in the process of finding a job and settling in to the area. In short – I say I’m “home” but it doesn’t really feel like “home” yet.
This is an inevitable part of being a student, of course. Being in university accommodation for my freshman year, finding a private flat to rent the next; then in third year I’ll be living in France for one semester and Spain for the other, before returning to Edinburgh to finish up. I guess at least I’ll learn to settle in to new places, new neighbourhoods, and make acquaintances with different people of different cultures – but it’s a lonely process nonetheless. Lonely and frustrating.
Easily the most frustrating part of being in a new place is looking for work. I’ve applied for more than 30 jobs, part-time and full-time, temporary and permanent, in restaurants, cafés, shops, bars and hotels all over the area. I’ve scoured the land from Real Foods right down the road to Le Bon Vivant, a restaurant on Thistle Street twenty minutes’ walk away. I’m now beginning to feel that, after all my efforts, I deserve a job – which means I can stop trying. Of course, I know this isn’t true. Just because I deserve, need, want and would probably do well in a job as a waitress, for example, doesn’t mean that I’ll get one. It’s just super-irritating that out of at least 30 employers, only one has actually got back to me. He said no, of course.
Unfortunately, I’m not getting paid to just look for work, and while I have a little money to tide me over until I find something, it would be immensely reassuring to know that I’ll have some form of income, especially seeing as money will be coming out of my account (on the same day each month) for not only my rent but also payments for my broadband and telephone, and the Direct Debit I just set up yesterday with Save the Children. (“What’d you go and do that for??” I hear you cry. Not a clue. The people were nice, and they trusted they could count on my support. How could I possibly let them down?). It’ll also be nice to get out of the flat and achieve something each day – because no matter how much stuff I expect to get done in a day, I unfailingly… fail… to do even half of it. Today I planned to do more unpacking, put some pictures up on my wall, send a few e-mails, do a laundry, update my blog, go to the bank, and apply again to a job I’ve already dropped off my C.V. for. It’s now almost six and I have managed to send the e-mails and begin my blog entry. That’s not all I’ve done – my flatmate and I went to the Co-Op and bought ingredients for our next three evenings’ worth of meals, and I’m in the middle of making barbecue chicken for dinner. We also cleaned the kitchen… But that’s about the extent of it. Maybe I’ll put a picture or two up after dinner.
Which brings me back to a point I meant to make earlier, while I was uploading pictures of the flat. It’s not so much a point as a bemused question, and the question is this: What is going on here?!
What is going on with this weird picture thing? It was there when we came to view the flat; it was there when we came to look at the flat again, having already put down the first deposit; but I was not expecting it to still be looking at me from the wall when I finally moved in. It may seem odd to wonder why it is still here – who would want to take this with them? – but surely it must be one of those things that you just have to “get”, and whoever it is that “gets” it should surely have taken it with them so they could continue to “get” it elsewhere.
“Wtf?” I hear you cry. This is the best I could do in my quest for an explanation of the weird-ass picture on the wall. Either the last tenants were “contemporary artists” – and not very good ones, at that – or this is a gift left by a somewhat confused Bissau-Guinean. Anyway, the frame looks good so I guess we can just replace the… let’s call it an “installation” – with something more visually pleasing.
At this point I am pleased to announce that I just returned from the kitchen, having put in my first load of laundry in the new washing machine! More on how that turned out later… For now, I’ll just leave it there and leave you in suspense as you wonder what exhilarating activities I’ll be getting involved in until my next post.
All the best,