Had a lovely day yesterday with Jo and Zubadoo at Novotel. This is a posh hotel in town where, as VSOs, we would pray to get a conference because the melange (buffet) is absolutely superb.
We sat by the pool stuffing our faces and catching up, right next to the Rwandan national football team and their new British coach.
Then Jo did me a huge favour. We drove over to Kimiharura to collect some furniture. My house mate's colleague, Linda, is leaving Rwanda and was selling off some stuff. My housemate thought I might like a desk for my room so that I can work more comfortably, and the desk and chair were going cheap. So we managed to bundle them into the car and take them back to mine - only, the desk doesn't fit through the door of my room!
|Driving Around Kimiharura|
Took us a while to find Linda's place but we made it. As we were leaving, she invited us to her goodbye party that night. Jo couldn't go, and I explained that I was suffering a little from the night before and would probably be asleep by then.
Cue VSO reflexes. Although I fully intended to sit home on a Friday night and complete my business plan, somehow I found myself sitting in a Lebanese restaurant with housemate Richard, his lovely partner Nadine, and an array of international students and workers.
The Lebanese is close to Papyrus, and it's also a shisha bar. It seems the only time I smoke hookah is in Kigali. It used to be apple flavour, washed down with bean tea at Hirut's house. This time it was lemon & mint washed down with Primus and a falafel wrap. Very nice place - relaxed. They even had a gift shop on the way out, where you could buy a breathtaking array of bongs.
Then we walked it off, via the off license for waragi (Ugandan 'War Gin'), and eventually found our way back to Linda's house for the goodbye party. This is where the night took a distinct turn for the absurd.
Bumming cigs off my new friend Maxime and getting progressively merry on punch (which may have contained meths, ruffies, or a combination of the two), I noticed a tall, handsome guy dressed in black, standing by himself at the end of the porch. Wondering if perhaps he didn't know anyone, I went over to introduce myself.
Me: [Paraphrasing] Hi, are you new here/on your own/in need of social support?
He: [Paraphrasing] No, I'm okay, just hanging out here... [verbatim] You're Marion, aren't you?
... err... yes.
He then proceeded to tell me most of my life story from five years ago!
I think I did my best impression of a goldfish: mouth open, eyes agog.
It was like meeting my own blog incarnate.
He: You don't remember me, do you?
Damn, I dearly wish I did. I hadn't the heart to tell him that I spent most of those two years inebriated, and if I remembered where I lived it was a miracle.
This is the second time this has happened to me in a year. I'm starting to worry. My mate Paul is constantly astonished at my poor memory for details he claims are unforgettable. Given my misspent youth, I think I tried particularly hard to draw a veil over many of those details.
Still, I was totally fascinated.
Then I started telling him a story to do with a journalist I used to know - and before I got halfway through, he completed it word for word.
At the time I thought he was psychic.
Now I realise I probably told him the exact same story over a beer the first time we met.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire reason I blog.
Because I can go back, type in a name, and 90% of the time work out where I met someone and how much fun we had. There are only a couple of entries on him: one was a Holy Jah Doves gig at BCK, possibly salsa, but mostly it was at the American Embassy Ladies Nights - which is probably why he asked me if I remembered them.
31 August 2009: [The American Embassy was] a lot of fun, couple of marines and another English guy called H--- who is out here researching NGO efficiency. Quite a fascinating conversation.
Well, he is no longer researching NGO efficiency. He's taking contracts for the World Bank on cross-border security issues and has been hopping back and forth to Rwanda for the past five years!
He's also not English, though with an accent like his I refuse to accept his Scottish heritage.
I dearly wish I'd written down exactly what we talked about - because I bet it involved the same story I repeated to him last night... Five years to come up with new material, gosh, I'm out of practise with this socialising lark. Not sure if that means I should do more of it, or just quit?
Either way, it was a fun surprise.
Sure I'll bump into him again - Kigali ain't all that big.
It's certainly strange being back on home turf without recognising any faces. I don't feel like I belong in Kieran's world, or entirely in my housemates' (their friends all seem so young!). Might take a while to find my feet, but I am glad I went out last night.
Anyone want to buy a desk?