Exclusive: My Aunts Place
30th May 2007
I have now been in London for just over a week. I didn’t have a great start in the country and I still haven’t settled down yet. I don’t feel like I am in London at all, it just feels like any other major city at the moment. I won’t feel settled until I get back from my holiday, live in my own apartment and secure a job.
Originally I had thought staying with my aunt for my entire stay in London but now that I have been there and stayed for a week, there is no way I am going to contemplate on staying there any longer.
For the past 3 months I have been in hotels and apartments which have been very comfortable. I would expect my Aunt’s place to be reasonably livable by any stretch of the imagination but what I have witnessed has shocked me somewhat. If a home has the basic amenities like a shower, toilet, a bed and a table then I’m all for staying and I would have no complaints however my aunt’s place has only two out of four things that I need in order to stay.
This home isn’t really my aunts but it is owned by the government and in its current state it is very decrepit. I tried very hard to tolerate the conditions but I could only last a week. I really missed my independence after the 3 months in Holland and I didn’t like how I was treated there. I was treated like I was royalty and it was very uncomfortable. Why couldn’t I be treated normally? I don’t need dinner to be cooked, I don’t want to be fed when I have just eaten, I don’t want to be told off if I come home late and I don’t need you to move out the room so I can reside in there.
It may sound like I have the tall poppy syndrome but if I didn’t work at a corporate company I would be able to tolerate the conditions. I need to shower so that I look clean and fresh at work. I need a good nights sleep so that I can think clearly at work and most I need peace of mind so I don’t stress and grow too much grey hairs. If I didn’t work and just needed a place to crash, sure ill accept the environment and conditions and deal with them accordingly.
I have to thank my Aunt for allowing me to stay in the first place and indeed I’m very sorry for lying to get out of there. I’ve also been reluctant to show these photos of the house (and taking photos of them) as I’ve been quite embarrassed about it. But I want to show everyone that LONDON isn’t always that great as it’s promised out to be.
Even though the house does look quite poor my Aunt still lives quite comfortably. They don’t eat out of bins or belong to some sort of pick-pocketing crime ring. She doesn’t pay a cent for her accommodation and the UK government is quite generous in giving her a place over her head and an adequate allowance to live on weekly. She doesn’t work as she is a single mum and has 3 kids. One of which is terminally ill, one is very young and the other is in high school.
It also breaks my heart to see someone in my extended family being mentally ill. On one hand you try to communicate and create a positive spin on things but in reality you are quite helpless. Now and then I hear screams of frustration or perhaps they are of excitement. You cannot really decipher what she is doing as you don’t understand the person very well. I don’t know what my cousin suffers from; apparently medical tests were conducted but they didn’t find anything wrong. So I would assume it’s a mental problem over anything else.
Her behavior is erratic and very random at times so it’s really difficult to comprehend early in this period. When she keeps quiet does that mean she is sleeping or preoccupied with something or god forbid hurt or otherwise in a state of bother. I’ve been told to take extra precautions about locking doors because there has been an occasion where she has just wandered off blindly (sounds like me) and been really lost.
How do you help people with mental problems? How can you communicate with them? When I first met her, she grabbed my hand and took me to her room to show me what was on TV. It appeared to be some sort of educational program that she watches to keep her sane? I thought it was a touch screen TV at first, silly me. She is a cute little kid but she has unfortunately been struck with this illness. You can’t really say shit happens because usually that’s a once off event but this is stuck for you for the rest of your life. No one deserves this cruel fate. These people have to be the unluckiest in the world, god help them.
I did find a way to quieten my cousin down and that was to introduce her to the Nintendo DS. Since I have given her that, I haven’t heard her scream or make any noise at all. The Mario game must keep her occupied so I have decided to give her the Nintendo DS as it’s found a good home. It has no use for me other than entertainment. I can always buy another if I really wanted to.
Currently I am staying in a hotel for the remaining duration of my employment at the company which is until next week. I will then go on a holiday and need a well deserved break for a while.