I have never been homeless before… It’s an interesting experience. I can see how it can happen easily, and to anyone. Optimism becomes an enemy and enemies become friends. Sofas become homes, essentials become luxuries, roots disintegrate and the panic you thought you would feel turns into steely determination. Or at least it will do, once I’ve finished my tea and found some breakfast.
The Yangon housing market is a fickle mistress and the word ‘gazumped’ has elbowed its way into my daily vocabulary.
I am beginning to see the beauty in living with ghosts and may have to befriend a few in the next couple of weeks. There are a lot of them in Myanmar.
Standing by the open kitchen window on the 6th floor of the apartment block in which I’m staying, for the first time in three weeks, I shiver. A cool breeze embraces me, full of apologies for its lateness, greeting me as if after an epic voyage across the globe. I close my eyes, allow myself a smile and consider waking my flatmate so that she can experience this rare pleasure.
As ants crawl along the crease in my laptop, I blow them off, wondering if they realise how lucky they are that this is to be their only face-off with me. The Raid remains below the kitchen sink… for now.
An almost imperceptible scent of incense from the nearby monastery wafts into the room. From the window, the backdrop of a hazy blue sky is cropped by a block of 4 mildewed apartment buildings, prefaced by dense greenery which lines a narrow gauge railway track. On every floor of the apartment blocks, laundry is hung over windowsills or suspended precariously on washing lines, a long drop from the filthy ground. Twittering birds try to make themselves heard above the persistent and unnecessary honk of a passing passenger train. The general rumble of traffic and beeping cars which had driven me crazy a few weeks ago now goes virtually unnoticed. (Another ant goes flying…) The ‘ding ding’ of a trishaw (or ‘sai-ka’) passing on other side of the building is so familiar it takes me a minute to realise how typically Burmese this moment is. And that breeze is delicious… I may never move from this spot!