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The Joys of Share Housing: My Rental Crisis

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In my last post I alluded to the fact that I am looking for different accommodation because I cannot live with my housemates anymore. My housemates are foreign, which has never been a problem, except that two of them can be difficult to speak with, making the shared environment uncomfortable to occupy. I make excuses to go out or not to go home. It is also difficult to solve problems with people you cannot speak to effectively. One of them, a female Peruvian, speaks broken English, and it can be difficult to discern her true meaning from what she says. If she has a problem with someone else, she leaves passive-aggressive notes that are rather ambiguous or confronts that person in a bossy manner. It is difficult to tell whether her aggression stems from frustration at her limited ability to express herself, or her passion to win an argument. She also has no desire to work to earn a living. She wants to be a housewife, and so the only job she currently has is occasional babysitting. She is home all the time, watching bad TV. In between this, she “cleans” which involves disinfecting the entire house and rearranging furniture and cupboard contents-including items that don’t belong to her. She also has a shopping addiction, continually moving new things into the house and taking up more than her fair share of space. 

Another of my housemates is an older Mexican male who is extremely bitter about his wife divorcing him. His two children come over every second weekend and occupy the TV non-stop. The Peruvian female hates this, which gives me a guilty amount of pleasure. The Mexican is extremely loud when moving about the house and he brings random females with him all the time. It would be nice if he brought home a quiet one or if they could limit intercourse to once or twice per night or during weekends only. I am frequently woken multiple times between midnight and 6am by his bed creaking loudly, the wall shaking and grunting or squealing noises. It is not fun keeping silent about his habits when I meet the random women in the kitchen in the morning. It feels like I’m breaking some sort of ‘bro code’. 

Not the worst housemates by anybody’s standard, but they’re all becoming more and more inconsiderate in the noise department and it’s definitely time to leave. Here’s the problem: I want to buy a house, and that means saving for a deposit. Rental options to facilitate this are pretty much limited to share house situations. The cost of share-housing is the same or less than renting an apartment alone. I have found new housemates and we are searching for places to rent, but it’s very very difficult to find somewhere and have an application approved. 

 

 Here are the people that real estate agents and investment property owners want to lease their property to: 

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Not: 

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I can totally understand that they are afraid of this happening: 

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But we are responsible adults with full time jobs who want to keep a house tidy and clean. Why can’t real estate people see that we just want to live in a situation where we can save money and have some company after a hard day at work? 

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“So you don’t have to go back to work until February, right? Wow, I wish I got 6 weeks of paid holiday!”

 

1301BlamingTeachers-ArtAt this time of year, the only smalltalk among friends and family during Christmas celebrations is a comment on my ‘extensive holiday period’.  I’d like to see some of my family members do this holiday with as much style as I manage to pull off!

But firstly: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Australia! 

Traditional Christmas Symbolism:

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Australian Christmas Symbolism:

snowman sand

 

….although, to be fair, it did drizzle a bit on Christmas Day 2013.

How to Christmas Holiday like a Science teacher: 

1. Increase coffee intake so that your 10-week sleep debt catches up with you on the 27th, not the 25th. Try hard to remember that it’s not nice to snap at people.

2. Purchase gifts for everyone within two days. Do not buy anything that is more than 50% plastic and refuse shopping bags wherever possible. Don’t forget that children should be engaged in learning from their Christmas presents. (Yes, people ARE grateful when I’m their Secret Santa, why do you ask?)

3. Wrap presents as well as you can with minimal wrapping paper (reduce), rip the old tags off of last year’s gift bags (reuse), and separate the sticky tape and foil paper from the papery paper before putting the rubbish into your bins (recycle). Advertise unwanted boxes on freecycle for people who are moving.

4. Conveniently forget that the supermarkets are closed for two days. Neglect to shop for groceries. Strategically plan your meals based around the friends and family you visit.

5. OPEN GIFTS! Plenty of chocolate, Science documentaries, household trimmings and books to read! These gifts are truly orgasm-inducing! (Turn into boring adult: check!)

6. Watch housemates leave for work. Brainstorm people to hang out with…..but they’re all at work. Wait for something to happen on FaceBook.

7. Eat many things.

8. Sit on couch with no prospects of company for many days. Find reasons why usual exercise schedule is absurd and unachievable without a school routine.

9. Eat ALL chocolate with nobody around to avoid possible social tension stemming from an unwillingness to share.

10. Begin intense household cleaning regime.

11. Cook lots to pass time and to create MORE things to eat. (WARNING: Do not interact with scales).

12. Become dissatisfied with housemates and enter into harebrained scheme to move house. Keep this scheme continually running in the background.

13. Allow the days to pass in a blur of domesticity, superficial social encounters, overeating and vegetating.

14. One week before the return of school, panic.

15. Lock self in office and complete all planning, marking and resource creation that was supposed to be spread over six weeks.

16. Begin the term and dedicate yourself to teaching again at the expense of housework. Restart exercise routine. Plan to clean and cook again in ten weeks’ time. It is now safe to approach the scales, but you might have to leap over piles of mess……..

 

And that’s why they tell you to marry a teacher! 

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When it’s not your turn to be the teacher: Managing my/their/everyone’s behaviour #3

I have written before about changing friendships and those moments where I forget to turn off the teacher voice, but the problem of teaching becoming who you are rather than what you do encroaches further into my life than that. Every time I interact with a person who is unreasonable, overly officious or obdurate, it is me who takes the role of pandering to their needs in order to calm them. When I meet a person whom I find disagreeable, I make myself more agreeable to accommodate them. I even do this when that other person is in a position of authority or if they have been employed to cater to my needs. I automatically try to avoid conflict where I might have sought it in the past. I notice in the staff room at school that we all do this for each other as well. When somebody comes in with their temper in fragments, they are not often blamed for it. Instead, everyone else tries to keep out of their way or make them feel better, or simply avoid loading any further responsibility onto them. I definitely appreciate this when it is my temper that has erupted and I think it’s one of the major strengths of our faculty.

The power of placating service people is a useful skill and can win me extra consideration and bargaining powers. It’s also nice to have someone else think that I am a lovely customer. However, there are situations where managing people is a drawback.

When the habit of dispersing tension leaks into your personal life, it costs you meaningful relationships. Managing another person’s behaviour categorises them into a new box in your head. Instead of being equal to you, that person is now lesser. They become equivalent to a student and they also take mental effort to deal with. They will never be a person whose company you seek for pleasure and you will never be able to turn to that person for advice or comfort when you are having a rough time. It also ties you to someone whom you would normally meet and then forget about or refuse to see again. The problem is that you’ve gone to effort to make them feel good at the expense of an opportunity for you to feel good. They leave the interaction liking you, and you leave the interaction pitying them. You end up with a superficial friendship that becomes an obligation. It’s never comfortable and it’s frequently awkward. You end up either making all of the plans  because part of your role in their life is to organise things, OR you get no say because your role is to accompany them when they’ve got nobody. When I began to find relationships like this creeping into my life, I began to question those relationships I had pre-teaching that were a little awkward. It turns out that some of my relationships were less than ideal and I’ve begun to make more efforts with people I actually like. It’s comforting that other people just past my age have said they went through the same thing in their twenties.

Additionally, being a behaviour manager makes it difficult to behave graciously when being taught by someone else.

I got a remote first aid certification recently. It was a two-day course with a mixture of practical and theory, with a very experienced first-aider as a teacher. He had a few tics that it was difficult to ignore though. He had a habit of saying only half of a sentence and ending it as a question, as though waiting for one of the adult pupils to finish the sentence on a subject we had not been taught about yet. He was also patronising and he threw us into practical situations that we could not solve because we did not have the knowledge. I was there with a colleague from school and although the teacher’s first-aid experience and knowledge could not be questioned, we harshly critiqued his teaching methods and laughed helplessly at his manner. Our behaviour was unbecoming and something we would never tolerate from students of our own.

Teachers, like all professionals, have a multi-faceted life with many priorities and responsibilities, but I am finding that I’m turning into a person who approaches all of my priorities with my single-faceted personality. If I continue to do this, I will continue to struggle with making meaning of the place in my life that each person I know holds. In my future, I would like to keep the behaviour management at school and relax when I go home and when I go out to socialise.