A Travellerspoint blog

June 2009

*so grateful*

I have been so shaken by the hostility from my neighbours / landlords * that whenever I go to work and get a friendly greeting from my colleagues, or even just walk down the street and have a short conversation with a kid wandering along, it is a shock. Hey! This person is genuinely smiling at me! And it is so relaxing to know that someone *doesn’t* hate me.

  • There needs to be a word to cover this dual concept. Neighlords?

Posted by timortimes 19:16 Comments (0)

Tuesday evening


It’s quiet. Too quiet.

No music. No dogs. No roosters. No kids. No billiards table. No playing guitar in the yard.

Have they all got hangovers or what? It’s really, really weird. This hasn’t happened in MONTHS.

The next morning

I slept properly for the first time in a long, long time. I wasn’t cranky when I woke up. Guess sleep deprivation really, really affects me. I should really have known this, but I guess I was so sleep deprived for so long, I thought it was normal.

Posted by timortimes 19:15 Comments (0)


Tuesday 9th June – 6 months, 24 days

A little place I looked at on Sunday afternoon was still available when I rang my contact today. Thank God, I was considering how living under a palm leaf on the beach might go. It was literally the ONLY option other than housesitting*or a room in Hotel Turismo, which at $550 USD a month was at the absolute limit of what I could afford for rent. Places go *really* quickly here. I rang about two on Saturday, after getting told about them on Saturday morning, only to discover they’d already been taken. Argh!

This little place is $225 / month, so it’s cheaper than my current house ($500 / month, but with a housemate, $250). The family are reputedly ‘lovely’ according to my other malae friends who live in the complex (the family live in a big house out the front and there are three or four little guest houses out the back; perhaps they used to be servants’ quarters? Who knows), and certainly they have been nice enough the two times I dropped by. They also offered to discount my rent a bit if I leave them my airconditioner when I go back to Australia, which I certainly didn’t expect. They don’t mind if I want to move my own furniture in (it’s not that I’m attached to it – it’s all absolute shit – it’s just that I’m used to it) and they don’t mind if I want to store the excess furniture in their shed until I can give it away.

I’m sure they are just *normal* people, but anyone who doesn’t glare at me this week seems like the friendliest person ever. Guess my social interaction radar is still a bit sensitive!

The place itself consists of one big bedroom, an Indonesian bathroom (so it’s another four months of washing myself with cold water with a dipper and tub: oh well, I’m tough), a little antechamber to the bathroom, a balcony, and a little separate hut for my kitchen (all the little separate rooms get their own kitchens).

It’s not that my current neighbours could really force me out before I had a place to go; I just don’t want to be in the Barbie Mutant Nightmare House a second longer than I have to be, now. I feel panicky whenever I have to go home. It’s a shame, because it’s a nice house in a nice area. I just can’t handle being around people who hate me and have no interest in understanding me.

  • I totally appreciate that people were being helpful, but I’m only here for four more months; housesitting for a month or two means I will have to house-sit for the next four months. I lost count of how many offers I was given to house-sit for a month, I got that many.

Posted by timortimes 19:12 Comments (0)

I know what I’ll be doing in June, July, etc until I leave

EVERYTHING NON-STOP. I need to get out to Baucau, Manatuto and Suai for thesis studies; I really want to have some holiday weekends in Liquica, Baucau and Maubisse; my work is not going to let up; and OH YEAH I NEED A PLACE TO LIVE. I’m making a calendar to try to time the trips away.

Usually in Canberra I was extremely stressed when doing so; maybe I can do it here and practice being less stressed? Stranger things have happened. Although, am extremely stressed about not having new place to live yet and having to remain here with horrid neighlords. Argh, argh. I need a hug. And a place to live.

Posted by timortimes 19:11 Comments (0)

*sigh* It had to happen eventually

Monday 8th June – 6 months, 23 days

The fight with my neighbours, of course. It started because once again, because I was sick and trying to do some work on the laptop, and because the music from next door was *so* loud that I could feel it pounding through my body, I was audacious, rude and inconsiderate enough to venture next door and ask if the music could be turned down.

WELL. You should have heard Carla (landlord) go off. She was livid. If I don’t like the music, I could move out! (Um... you already told me I had to?...) I was so shocked, I started to cry. What the hell happened? She used to be friendly. I just couldn’t understand it.

Anyway, I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I came back home, but I was too upset and I really couldn’t handle the music. So I went back next door and tried again. Carla came and talked to me, still super cranky - ‘I like to have parties’, she said. The implication being, fuck off if you don’t love loud music, malae. This is our house. Nobody wants you here. (Even if the rent you pay is funding our billiards table, stereo, parties and basic living needs, like food.)

Anyway, I apologised for offending (because I suspect they’re pissed off with me pretty much for existing and probably for other things I have no clue about), and tried to explain that I wasn’t trying to stop their fun, etc etc, I never complain other times, I asked *this* time because the music is ALWAYS on and I am sick and trying to work.

She didn’t particularly give a shit about that at all – she was pretty much concerned with her family’s Right To Partay Nonstop – and of course she was pissed that I dared to come into their house last Thursday and turn the music down.

I explained why I had gone in (because no one could fucking well hear me shouting). She said, I should have called her. I pointed out, I don’t have her number – although I do have Lee’s – and I didn’t think of it. I also pointed out that someone had come into my house and done things without telling me. She looked superior and said ‘Lee, my husband’, like, of COURSE Lee is allowed into my house without telling me (can I just point out here that my house is always locked and empty, and theirs doesn’t even have doors, and ten people are always home?). I said ‘But, I didn’t know – you didn’t tell me’ and she looked kind of silly then like oh, I didn’t think of it that way.

The conversation finished and I still felt so shaken. So hated. Because I was the only one there, it took about four conversations with friends that night and the next day to remember that in *my* world, I wasn’t being unreasonable. In my world, if someone said ‘Hey your music is loud, could you turn it down, I am sick and trying to work’, I would. I also wouldn’t throw a party on a Monday evening. After having thrown a party the previous Sunday, Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday. Often at 7 in the morning.

In one respect, it’s one of those cases where two different cultures clash. I’ve tried hard to avoid these kind of situations, or minimise the effects when they happen. I’m told by other Timorese friends that nobody asks anyone to turn the music down.

The thing is, I’ve been *trying* to be patient, trying to do what I think they prefer (e.g.: never complain about incessant, crappy, loud music). Trying to understand that I’m in their country. But a friend pointed out to me: they let you come here. You are the renter. What’s more, you are a *good* renter. In Australia, nobody would mind a quiet tenant.

And that’s the other respect. These lot of people are just not interested in being friendly to me at all. And it’s not because they’re Timorese. Not at all. No matter where they were from or where they lived, these people would be inconsiderate arseholes. I don’t often use words like that about people, but these guys really deserve the label. They liked the previous lot of housemates, partly because the guy was Timorese, partly because the girl acted like a Timorese, but a lot, I think, because they both liked to stay up late and party. So they were nice to me then, because of the others, but they have no reason to be nice to me anymore.

I feel rather like I’m being driven out. The timing of my requests about the music and the story about the parents moving in – it’s possible, but it’s just as likely they’ll get more unsuspecting malae in and charge them $800 instead of $500 a month for the house.

But, you know. I hated the noise. It’ll probably stop if the parents do move in (I can’t imagine parents putting up with the stereo going every day), but I don’t care, because I won’t be here.

Posted by timortimes 19:09 Comments (0)

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