I went to karaoke on Thursday with a few of the people I met through Matt and Premal as well as a few marines that I met recently. (Seriously…marines stationed in a landlocked country? Where’s the sense in that?) I got to make a fool out of myself singing Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen with both of the marines. I also got to be a back up singer when we sang “It’s Raining Men.” It was a lot of fun!
Friday was full of birthday celebrations, food, more hanging out at the marines’ party, and attempting to go dancing. These marine guys get massive shipments of books…which makes them my new best friends over here. Books in Gabs tend to be rather expensive and I am not a citizen or a student, which means no library books for me either. The dancing was a failure unfortunately. It wasn’t until later that we understood why people were blowing piercing plastic whistles to the boring thump thump thump house beat. It was whistle night. Go figure.
I took a combi for the first time on Saturday. A combi is like the dirty love child of a bus and a carpooling system. They look like one of those “free candy” vans, but with semi-tinted windows. The drivers try to get as many passengers as their vans can hold, which means there’s a higher likelihood that you are going to be seriously squashed up between some strangers who smell distinctly unpleasant. There was a near constant game of musical chairs as we stopped every twenty feet to let someone else on and another person off. Still, I was able to go over ten kilometers for about 3.50 pula.
Monday I went with Mathew to George’s pub where George was having his birthday. I ended up sitting with Shanti-Lo and friends while Matt played his sax. She is incredibly friendly, though I think that might have been because Matt told her I was a little star-struck. Not a whole lie…but I do wish he hadn’t told her! There was only one bit of unpleasantness that night. While we were driving home, we noticed a huge line up of stopped cars and what looked like an accident. Matt pulled over to see if they needed a doctor while I waited in the car, intending to stay out of the way. I kept seeing people pull over and literally run over to the accident. I started to feel rather awestruck at how much people around here wanted to help. I later learned of my naivete. They were doing the American form of rubber necking. Whereas Americans keep driving and just slow down a bit to stare, these folk will actually pull over and run over to watch the spectacle in person.
Switching to a selfish, personal topic: I was recently very excited to find an apartment that fit my parameters and price range. I never for a second believed I wouldn’t get it. Yesterday I received an e-mail informing me that I had been rejected due to the fact that I was not currently employed. Bullshit. I have enough money to pay for three months worth of rent, not to mention that my family has agreed to sign paperwork saying that they will back me since the complex required that I earned at least double the rent. I was…really excited. I thought I would finally be able to live alone for the first time in a wonderful, safe neighborhood only 15 miles from downtown Atlanta. I even started planning furniture and dreaming about how I would decorate the place. I know I shouldn’t have my heart set on just one place….but this one looked really amazing. I’ve already informed my mother of the situation. My family has been amazingly helpful throughout all of my job and apartment searches. They had even offered to mail the paperwork in for me so that I could move right in when I flew back to the states. I can’t begin to elaborate on how much I hope that we figure some way to work all of this out. Knowing that I had a place to live when I returned, a place that was mine, had steadied me. Now even that has been taken from me. If this does not work out, then I guess all I can do is keep searching.