“Three South Africans, a Canadian, and an Australian share a house together for six months. What can go wrong? How many seasons will we get before God cancels on us?”
I wrote this about seven months ago about a month before we moved into an apartment together when I noted that together we all had the makings of a sit-com. I was leaning towards a ‘How I Met Your Mother’ sort of story, while the others preferred more of a ‘Friends’ angle.
I think in hindsight we were more of a ‘Seinfield’ series but one that got cancelled after one season because nobody ‘got it’.
I mention this because in a week’s time we all move out from the apartment and find our own places to live. I knew this was coming but it’s really only sinking in…well…now, although I am stressing about where I’m going to live next.
You would think a bunch of 20 something year olds living together in a foreign country, in a huge apartment, is living the dream. And I suppose in a way we did live a dream. Sometimes it was wild, but never out of control crazy. And sometimes we fought, but never with violence. Sometimes we didn’t fight, when we probably needed to.
At the beginning there were six of us together (and not including another Australian who lived in Trujillo). Michaela (American) wasn’t mentioned at the time because she was staying in Lima, but she came to stay on our couch for a bit before eventually returning to America. And at some point Lutie left us for Lima, then came back to regroup and take stock of his resources, before trying one last time to make it work in Peru before he returned to South Africa.
This left Amy, Adriaan, Nicola and I in the house together. Two South Africans, a Canadian, and an Australian living together. What could go wrong?
I guess we lived in several core stages. We all lived and worked together at a school and although we made new friends and colleagues, still spent our social lives together. And then bit by bit we each did our own thing. I guess I closed myself off and did my own thing in order not to think and feel for a while.
I went through the Tinder phase where it became out of control. I spent all my time messaging on Whatsapp and Tinder and Facebook, and most of the time having to translate the Spanish. I would go out drinking and dancing alone, and had some crazy adventures (which could have been more dangerous than they were). I would wake late on weekend mornings with hangovers and with an unwillingness to speak to anyone, and then depending on the night do it again.
And then, at some stage, I found myself in a relationship where all my time was spent with one special person. And I guess I am still at that stage, and I don’t mind it, as long as I do my best not to use it as a crutch or to lose my independence. But when I wasn’t focused on this relationship I focused all my energy on work – even when I wasn’t at work. With my housemates I only talked about two things; work, and my girlfriend.
We lived together but I guess for a while we weren’t together. I guess a lot of that was because we just didn’t have the energy to stay up late and drink as much anymore. Work drains us. Sure we had some good parties and we celebrated Amy’s and Adriaan’s birthdays recently, and maybe with work we did spend a lot of time together anyway.
Maybe I only regret that this time together felt so ordinary. Maybe I expected something more, something more crazy, and yet maybe all this together was only natural even with the difficulties that life brought us. Maybe naturalness when we’re living and working in a foreign country together is more than we should have expected.