I lay my back on my big couch. The time is almost 9 pm. I do not have any mood to study. I look around of my living room. The wall painted in white color, and the floor all covered with brown, creamy tiles. My mind drifts away remembering the day I entered into my first rented apartment together with Fred. The two bedrooms apartment looked bleak with only a set of white kitchen bench tops and a white fridge, and the rotten wall splash of the kitchen sink. In the bathroom, there was a small crack on the wall mounted with a bathtub faucet. I checked on the rusted shower cap. It should be changed to a new one. Fred inspected the main bedroom and noted to me that I should change the doorknobs for both bathroom and main bedroom. Overall, both of us were very satisfied with the apartment. One the next day, I moved in bringing all my stuff from Fred’s house. Fred borrowed me his sleeping mat until I have my own mattress and a bed frame.
On the second day, Jesus helped me to bring my small 16-inch old television that I bought for only USD 10 from my ex-senior Santiago as well as other stuff from the museum to my apartment. On that day also, Jesus freely gave his old microwave. After a week moving in, Fred asked me whether I managed to buy a mattress and a bed frame. I just kept silent, and he offered to lend a mattress and a bed frame to me. Since I needed a place to sleep on, I just accepted his offer. That evening, he and his youngest son moved the mattress and the bed frame into my apartment. I was a bit happy as that night I could sleep on a real bed instead on the sleeping mat. My couch was the last furniture to arrive into my apartment. I bought it from Santiago with the cost of USD 90 only. It was a terrific bargain as the real price of the coach was USD 450. Mike helped me to carry my big couch from his house. He brought James, my other senior, to help him to move it into my living room.
I had gathered all my stuff from Fred’s house, museum and Mike’s house into my apartment. However, I was still looking for a study table and a chair. I went to the Craigslist advertisement website to look for a study table. I searched for two days, and I found a right one that only cost USD 20. I emailed to the owner and waited for her reply. Every day, I kept checking my email for a week since the day I emailed to the owner. I almost want to forget about that table, until I received a call from a woman telling me that she wanted to sell her table to me. I was speechless for a while, she asked me again whether I was still interested to buy her table, and without thinking, I said yes to her. I asked her house address in Denham Spring, and I told my plan to pick up the table. I told the good news to Fred, and he was glad to hear that. On the next day morning, we went together to pick up the table. After the table, I waited for the Thursday International Students Market. At the market, I found a black chair that cost only USD 3. Mrs. Suzanna, the volunteer for the market, helped me to carry my chair into my apartment using her 4 X 4 car.
I smile thinking of how I managed to gather basic furniture for my apartment. My advisor and my friends in the museum are so helpful in lending their hands, and I am so grateful with all of them. Looking around my living room, I still need to buy or find other furniture such as a shoes closet, a dinner set, a coffee table, rugs and decorations to beautify my apartment. I just sigh a bit, as I need to put on hold my plan for a while until I have enough money to buy those things.
No Man Please
I turn my head from staring above to side. I look towards the small, empty bedroom next to my bedroom. Last month, I rented it to a male student. I was not supposed to rent it to a male student, as the basic rule is a single female student should rent another room to the same gender. I was so desperate to look for a house-mate and decided to break the rule. However, it did not work out. On the second day of his stay in my apartment, I received a letter from the office asked me to come to see the Apartment Manager. I knew this was something to do with my male house-mate. In the office, the manager asked me about the male student.
“Who’s the guy?”
“Well, he’s an undergrad student here.”
“I see. We are worried about your safety. He called to the Permit Parking Department asking for the car pass and the magnetic bar. He told to the man in charge with the permit, he’s staying here. But, when the officer asked, who’s his house-mate, he just quiet. He did mention your apartment house number and that's why I wrote a letter to you asking you to explain the real situation.”
“I’m so sorry.”
"I know you want to search for a house-mate, but you must follow the rules and regulation. A single female must stay with a female. You can advertise room renting on ICC website or University circulation newspaper. Am sure you are going to get a female house-mate in future."
“I did advertise on ICC website and even the Craigslist website.”
“You need to be patient. Think about your safety first dear girl. Now, I want you to kick that boy out from your apartment. We are going to change the door and store key locks by this afternoon. You need to pay USD 45 for the changes and give back the keys to us.”
“Ok. I will ask the guy to move out by this evening.”
I gave my keys to her, and she asked me to sign on a declaration letter that I wanted to change my key locks. I did ask whether my action would jeopardize my chance to rent again in the next semester. She smiled at me and asked me not to repeat the same mistake. That evening, the male student, moved out from my apartment. Even though he stayed in the bedroom for two days, I did not ask for payment. He said sorry to me, as because of him, I had an issue with the Manager. I said to him that it was my mistake as I was not supposed to accept him to be my house-mate at first. Before he left, he had wished me good luck in looking for a female house-mate. I thanked him and wished him good luck in his studies.
Hoping and Waiting
My hope to save a lot of money for the fall semester dashed on that day. I gave up looking for a female house-mate who attaches to my University. I decided to pay full for the first four months. Before Spring Semester, I will advertise my small bedroom on ICC website. Qing is willing to help me to advertise the bedroom in the Chinese Students’ Website. I wonder whether I can survive this fall. I have to limit my expenditure, and this means no luxury food or outside food. I will cook simple food, which are cheaper than outside. I do not have any problem to cook, as my mother has taught me not only the basic kitchen skills but also to cook from my heart. I only buy cheap vegetables and meat from Wal-Mart here, which is equivalent to Tesco or Giant in Malaysia. If I do not have time to cook, I just eat salad mix with Raspberry vinegar. With that kind of diet, I lose weight a lot within a month. However, losing weight does not bother me so much, as I am aiming to reduce my weight that I accumulated during my field trip in Sabah Borneo.
I do not realize that, the time is almost 10.30 pm. I wake up from my couch and into my bedroom. I open my laptop and check on my email for almost 30 minutes. Then, I open my study notes. I try to make myself focus studying the notes, but my effort to no avail. I close my notes and jump onto my bed. Before I close my eyes, I ask to God to lessen my financial burden. Nevertheless, I know I will not get the instant answer from Him. He wants me to be patient. When the right time has come, He will fulfill my wish. I just wait and wait for the day to come.