Monday, March 31, 2014



Many of us have had them. I had four when I went to Bible discipleship school - Courtney, Veronica (Verny!), Noelle, and Heather. We were all very different - I think they did that on purpose to "build character." (Love you girls! ;) )

Fast forward a few years and I am again blessed with roomies! We've spent all our time together due to sheer proximity and lack of transportation. We've been each other's entertainment, and, at times, the sanctifying forces in each others' lives. (Read: Living with other human beings that you can't get away from builds character. Hello again, apprenticeship program! Maybe I can do more things right this time...obviously not everything...but...more things? You should probably all stop for a moment and pray for me. Or, pray for the poor girls who have to live with me. Yes. That last thing.)

 Alyssa and I flew over on the plane together - she's from California. Southern California (for those of you interested in stereotypes, and yes, she lives on the beach and wears flip flops year round).

Megan is a South African volunteer that was here when we got here. She wasn't sure what to think of us at first.

The first day went something like this. Karlien - whose name I FINALLY learned to spell correctly, by the way - was driving us to get groceries. Alyssa and I were operating on 30+ hours of jet lag. It may be worthy of mentioning that neither of us had EVER grocery shopped for ourselves before. EVER. Also, let me remind you again of the 30+ hours of jet lag. The conversation went something like this:

Karlien: So, what do you need to buy?
Alyssa and I: TELL US WHAT TO BUY!! WE DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!!! (This is paraphrased.)
Megan (snidely, from the back seat): You are hopeless. (Or helpless. Remember, it was snidely. This means quietly and sneakily. Come to think of it, everything Megan says is impossibly quiet. She must be even more snide than I thought.)

Just last week, we had a conversation that went like this.
Megan: I didn't start liking you guys until the second day. (Basically, she wasn't sure what to think of us Americans.)
Me: Well, that explains why you called us helpless...

Megan was staying upstairs in the baby home. It took about two or three days (right about the point when she started liking us, I suppose) for us to invite her downstairs to spend the night. Because she was afraid. Of everything. She still claims she saw a face in the window. One night in our room turned into the rest of the week turned into a unanimous agreement that we needed to become roommates. She was invited to volunteer until the end of January, and we were so excited! Perhaps because our entertainment was staying. ;) She left the end of January with plans to apply as an intern. February was crazy, and just a little boring downstairs without her! Alyssa and I spent an entire day like this:

Me: I'm so glad Megan is coming back!
Alyssa: Me too!

Alyssa: I'm so glad Megan is coming back!
Me: Me too!

So, she moved back into our crowded little room. Cintelle (another South African intern) was staying with us for a little while, so there were four of us in this room that is TEENY TINY. We spent a month trying to climb over each other's suitcases and encourage certain unnamed individuals of the virtues of laundry hampers. (Some of us may also be currently encouraging this habit, in ways the others do not know about yet, that may get us in trouble someday. That's all I'm saying.) Alyssa, Megan and I shared one little wardrobe. Considering that three girls had to fit their clothes into this wardrobe and SOME of us don't know how to pack light (read: everyone but me) we also "shared" the floor, the shelves, the desk, etc, etc. When we could find aforementioned floor. It had this tendency to disappear from view. Regularly.

It was also entirely normal to come down after night shift and find someone else (generally the volunteer from the night before) sleeping in YOUR bed. Poor Divine. I poked her so many times at 6 a.m. "Can you move to Alyssa's bed now? I want to sleep in my bed..."

At this point in time, we had nine people occupying three bedrooms. Newton, Vanessa, and their daughter Aya stayed in the room at the end of the house. All the intern girls (there were four of us) stayed in the room next to theirs. At the other end, the third bedroom housed Joy and Mama Linda. Newton, Vanessa and Aya moved out. Joy and Cintelle moved into their room. Then Cintelle left.

Less people! More space! Donovan messaged us and told us, "Guess what! We can now have two people to a room!"

Guess what?

No one wanted to move! Megan and I liked us all being roommates together. Alyssa did too, but mostly she just wanted to keep the big bed that I'd recently relinquished ownership of. (I hated that mattress!) As of now, we're still here and hoping someone forgets about us. Because we stick together! Poor Joy. I think she's lonely. I told her I would visit her regularly and that we really do like her too....

So, here's a little more about these girls.

Megan is tall, skinny, and quotable. (Why do you think she has her own corner on my blog?) She spends most of her time being bitten by bugs and rubbing bug repellent on herself. She trails off when she's talking and I never hear the end of her sentences. She is five years younger than me, but she mothers us when we are sick. Generally this consists of taking our shifts for us (at which point we thank her for being an angel) or trying to feed us Marmite on crackers (at which point we try to keep from puking and ask us why she's trying to poison us). She likes her phone. A lot. I may threaten to have it surgically attached to her thumbs. She loves ironing and I call her the Iron Queen. She irons her socks. She thinks that's normal. She has a "daughter" here, Princess. For complicated reasons I can't explain, she's now known as my grandmother (but she's been mistaken for my daughter, true story). She sits on my bed and we laugh about things. Alyssa is highly suspicious of our conversations and tells us to stop gossiping. Huh. I don't know what she's talking about. She (Megan) has threatened to bury us in eight feet of llamas. Megan likes taking selfies for her 14 Tumblr followers.

Alyssa is from Southern California. My dad thought she would be a stereotypical Californian, and I denied it. Ha. She is. Flip flops year round... Only, for the record she has a LOT more political sense. Actually, she likes politics a lot and has found multiple people to discuss politics with here in South Africa. She tries to tell me about politics. Poor girl. I'm more than happy to listen, but I'm afraid I can't provide much intelligent conversation in return. She is learning how to cook. Potatoes, that is. I believe we have explored just how many ways one can possibly cook potatoes. I told her and Megan they are going to have skinny husbands. But no, really. She's learning. She likes to walk to the corner store...three times a day. She likes to do pushups. And situps. And crunches. And go running. (I'm a little worried about her.) She always covers for me when I need her to (if I'm sick...or late...). She likes blue shorts. She has this weird Coke/Pepsi fixation...instead of liking one or the other, she buys one 2 liter of each (or sometimes more...I'm convinced Coke flows through that girl's veins). She likes to dance in life-threatening thunderstorms. (Don't worry, we intervened.) She may or may not have been know to ask what lamb chops were made out of. She's the one I never expected to "click" with, from the moment we got on the plane together. Truth be told, we've decided that it was sheer proximity that did it!

Ok, so it's not fair to do these descriptions without doing one of me. I'm not really tall or skinny, and I don't get bitten by bugs. I'm a Midwesterner. I think that's a different country from California, and I'm not sure I can be described as laid-back...I'm learning how to cook too, and have been known to have been the cause behind smoke pouring from the oven. I talk way too fast despite my best efforts to the contrary, and no one understands me. I get uptight about the state of our room, then come in and throw an entire load of laundry on my bed (the same load that's been hanging up for four days). I crochet in odd places (like church). I sometimes dump ice down people's backs (well, just Joy...) I interrupt people incessantly (it's a bad the talking too fast). I'm a little culturally insensitive, I think...working on that. I spend a lot of time telling people not to call me Alyssa. I'm known as the "mom" of our room. I tried not to be at first, and now I've given up...they need mothering. I'm starting to remind myself of a girl named Amy from my Bible school year, only with far less wise counsel...just the obsessive mothering instinct. And the inability to go to bed on time.

Some of us have a slightly quirky sense of humor. That results in signs like this:

And photos like this:

(Someone didn't want their photo posted on Facebook.)

We've recently started cooking together one night a week. Alyssa's cooking skills have expanded beyond potatoes as she makes us yummy Mexican food! She's promised me tamales sometime. Me, who thought tamales were something like Hot Tamales...Megan made us South African nachos. I've made zucchini bread, tacos, and pizza. We've also done baked potatoes together. It's very fun. Then afterwards, we try to make each other do the dishes.

We don't like it when someone is missing. Megan is missing this week. It feels all wrong. Even though she left us this sign:

It says, "I'll Be Back soon you guys don't have to cry yourselves to sleep for too long."

 We have lots of serious conversations too. =) I've enjoyed growing together with these ladies. We've had quite the little cultural experience just in our own room! We pray for each other and love and forgive and care for each other. Admittedly, some of our "serious" conversations go like this:

Me: Well, I guess I struggle with (insert sin of choice here) too.
Megan: Not allowed. You can't share my sin.

I've been very blessed by the girls with whom God has placed me! I probably wouldn't have picked them out for my roommates, and I'm just about positive they wouldn't have picked me out either, but He knew what he was doing. =)

No blog post about roommates would be complete without the Megan corner.

The Megan Corner

Megan: Your pillow looks like a poodle. Do you ever think it's an animal? Are you scared of it?
Megan: Sometimes I think my hair is an animal and it scares me.

Me: I'm crocheting booties.
Megan: Are those for babies or humans?

1 comment:

  1. Potatoes, eh? Tell Alyssa to try making tuna potatoes. Sounds kinda gross, I know, but they're cheap and actually really good. You just bake some potatoes, cut them in half longways, scoop them out into a bowl, mix in some tuna and shredded cheddar cheese, add some salt and pepper as desired, fill the potato skins with the potato/tuna/cheese mixture, and bake until the cheese is good and melted and everything is nice and warm. Then you serve them like little 'boats' in the skin... and you can eat the skin if you want, but you don't have to, we never do. My mom saves them and makes potato skins out of them the next day with cheese and bacon.

    I've never had roommates that weren't children! I did share a room with a 6 year old and a newborn for 8 months though (and the 6 year old for much longer - from ages 2-7!) It was a teeny room and quite a squeeze with two beds and the baby's cosleeper!

    LOVE reading your blog! Hope the babies are doing well. Is Small feeling better?