I’ve had electricity everyday so far. I’ve had running water twice. I’m told I’ll have it about twice a week. There are bins filled with water around the house that I use to “flush” the toilet, wash my hands and bathe. When there is running water, I refill the bins to ensure an adequate supply for the following week. This actually isn’t as much of an inconvenience as I’d imagined it might be. I’ve already become pretty used to it.
While the amount of space is fantastic, my house doesn’t yet feel like home. I’m hoping that in making the space more of my “own”, this will change. Right now, the basic furnishings are there (beds, a couch, some chairs, a table, a desk). There are appliances and dishes in the kitchen. Yet some of the comforts of home are missing. I can’t list these comforts, as they are somewhat vague, ambiguous and intangible.
When I’m in my house, I sometimes feel uncomfortable and even fearful. Of what? I have no idea. I often flip on the lights, and knock on the door before I enter a room, when I know there is no one else there. I’ve had problems falling asleep at night. I watch Martin Season 3 on repeat every single night, waking up several times to replay the disc. I can’t imagine how I will every feel like my new house is my home.
From ages 3 to about 7, I grew up in a one-bedroom apartment that was infested with roaches. We had a bunk bed in the bedroom; my mother slept on one of the beds, and I on the other. Crack vials littered the sidewalks of our apartment complex. Throughout the rest of my childhood, we moved to nicer places, finally settling in a small home that my parents sold when I was about 24.
Now, I have a small one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. I refer to it as my sanctuary. Ironically, right outside of that “sanctuary,” it’s not rare to hear gunshots in the near distance or people arguing. I’ve heard none of those things here in Cameroon. None of my apartments or houses in the US have ever been fancy, yet somewhere along the way, I’ve developed this standard of what is comfortable and what is not. Some intangible list of things makes a house a home to me. Maybe it’ll just take some time. For now, I look forward to settling into my new house, making it a home, and adjusting my American perspective of what is comfortable…one day at a time.