Over the last week or so, I’ve had a couple, a mother and daughter pair, from Japan staying over. They’d arrived to study english for the next six months and SG was the only contact they had from her time in Japan. Actually they are the mother and sister of an old and quite serious ex-boyfriend of SG’s. Seeing as SG is still in very close contact with him and they both know SG quite well from those days, it was not quite as awkward as I feared it would be. Probably because I was very rarely in for most of the time but more likely because all parties were very well behaved.
I’d actually resigned myself to them staying for a much longer time than a week. Their budget and accommodation expectations did not match and I hear stories of the horrendous rental market but somehow, SG found them a large fully furnished twin room with an on-suite bathroom and central heating in a shared house 20 minutes train-ride from the city. It has a great bay-window and a separate balcony entrance – all without the need of a lease and with all expenses included for $210 a week. Arguably, you can get a 2 bedroom unit for that – but they tend to require 12 month leases, furniture and utility bills and are located way out.
Hearing about and trying to help their struggles to adjust reminded me of how difficult it can be to travel and even more so to relocate. Everything is not quite as it should be. Things that one takes for granted do not quite fit in and always, there’s the problem of knowledge and trust. SG’s time spent in helping them and then negotiating for them certainly made it easier and it made me more determined to chase up contacts in my own travels to come.