Sunday, November 30, 2008
It’s been challenging living here. Jenna and I live with 6 other people. Four are German, the oldest being 21. There’s also a 21 year old girl in the loft above us who has a incredibly loud and dumb boyfriend who practically lives there and yells a lot during rugby games. So here we are living with these kids who have never lived on their own before. I’ve never lived among such filth. I should take a picture of the kitchen sometimes. They leave not only their dirty dishes out, but uneaten plates of food on the table, counter and anywhere with a flat surface. There are constantly stains a food smears on the kitchen table and counter and 1 million cockroaches at night. I don’t walk barefoot in the house. In Germany, there’s a mandatory stint in the military. If you don’t want to do that, you do social work in South Africa. So these kids aren’t really here out of the kindness of their hearts, they’re just partying and buying time until they get to leave. They party until really late at night and come home loud. One of them started bringing a couple of street kids home. One stole an iPod and then rode off with someone’s bike. We had a meeting and agreed no more street kids in the house. Then they just started hanging out on the porch (in front of my bedroom window) at all hours. We asked them to be quite about 8 times. The landlord (who lives in a loft upstairs) finally put a stop to it all. I haven’t had a full nights sleep in a couple weeks. Last night was the first.
This kind of thing can make you feel old. Telling the kids to keep it down, trying to understand why they leave bowls of uneaten yogurt, crumbs and spilled juice on the table all day to attract flies and roaches. Also thinking, “Those kids are so disrespectful and inconsiderate!” I guess I’ll be able to live anywhere and with anyone after this. This rant could go on and on, but you get the idea.
The house is conveniently located, though, close to the train station, a grocery store and the main strip in Observatory (the suburb where I live.) There’s coffee, bars, a health food store, book store, bottle store (liquor store which is the only place you can buy beer.) and Chemist (Pharmacy). Plus, it is safer (though annoying) to always have someone around the house. I’m coming to terms with the inconveniences and realize that I have less than three months to go. Someday I’ll wish I was back picking dried cheese off “clean” spoons and rewashing dishes (they don’t rinse the dishes when they put them on the drying rack! Is this a German thing?) Actually, I probably won’t.
Sorry that the blogs haven’t been more forthcoming, you just get into a groove when you’re living somewhere as opposed to traveling. Really, not much exciting happens day-to-day (which is a good thing around here, believe me.)
I’ve been working a bunch, usually four 9hr days a week. These next two weeks I’ll be working 5 days because the studio closes for two weeks for the holidays (hear that American bosses?) Most things shut down during that time.
The job is going great. I’ve been doing illustration work, web design and am the contact person with clients in Germany and Holland. I’ll post the websites soon, they should be ready in a couple weeks. Last week we had an office outing of playing paintball. It seemed kind of odd at first to be playing war in a such a violent place, but it was actually a lot of fun. There was the added fun of possibly coming across wild baboons in the forest where we played. You don’t get extra points for shooting them though.
Thanksgiving came and went uneventfully. In fact I only realized it was thanksgiving once (while at work) and then forgot about it for the rest of the day. Christmas is coming up, but it doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal here. A couple temporary angel stencils on some storefronts and some cheap gift ideas at the stores. No lights though, electricity is too expensive to use on that. Have I mentioned that you have to buy electricity per kilowatt? You can literally run out. For a while the country was having a hard time producing enough electricity so there would be semi-scheduled rolling black outs. Problem was that some were unannounced so business would have to shut down and sometimes loose their perishable stock. Some tourists got stuck on a tram hundreds of feet in the air for a couple hours. Our house ran out of electricity the other day because people were using too much juice.
The internet is sold by the megabyte. I use about a gig a month. It costs around 24 dollars. It makes you careful about what you download when it’s not infinite and you can run out of internets. The studio where I work often gets capped out and is quite a pain in the ass. The boss has to call and order more internets and often work gets slowed down.
Monday, November 24, 2008
In a internet cafe, gotta jam.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Here's a shot of Devil's Peak from in front of the house.
This is the entrance to my house in South Africa. You have to use a key to get in AND out (the inner gate doesn't have a handle and locks automatically when you close it.)
For those with google earth, here are the coordinates for my house: 33 degrees 56' 17.36" S 18 degrees 28' 13.91" E (the red roof, second house in.) If you're lost, I can email you something to click that will zoom you right in. Just to the right, check out the photos of the observatory railway station. I'm there just about every other day. The big bright building to the left is Kwik Spar, the super market. I'll have to do separate entry for that place.