I'm not in a good mood today. I slept okay, though I'm having crazy, crazy dreams lately. Ever since quitting smoking, which is normal, and a good sign that my brain chemicals are flowing unimpeded once again.
The other night I had a dream in which I actually felt pain. I dreamed I was hiding in a room with an Asian lady and her son and there were people with their faces burned off who were coming to kill us. They'd had their faces burned off by this paper napalm substance falling from the sky (think Anne McCaffrey's thread). It had taken off their skin, and their eyes were totally hollow. It was like Vietnam War meets 2D from Gorillaz. Anyway, we were hiding up a tree when the fire started to fall from the sky. When it touched me it actually burned! I don't remember dreams physically hurting before.
Then there was some art exhibition in the woods the night after that. Someone had made black frames with rice paper taut across them and Chinese symbols in black. It was pretty, though the trees were bare and the woods foggy. Desolated art.
Then last night, before I went to bed, someone had tweeted that they'd been sitting opposite Nick Cave on the train and posted a picture. I downloaded it, coloured his right hand red, and reposted it. (Which self-respecting Peaky Blinders fan wouldn't?). Anyway, last night I had an epic dream that I was talking to Nick Cave. He was telling me Red Right Hand was the best song he'd ever done and he was worried about his career. I told him not to worry, messed up his hair and told him to get back out there and make people love him! (This pales in comparison with the dream I had in my early twenties where Kiefer Sutherland told me to shoot myself in the head after seeing Predator stuck up a tree - so I did).
After that, I was on a beach and that was really, really weird. Two of my closest friends from my Cardiff days were there: Suki and Gedge. You'd have to know our gang to get the dynamics of all of this, but I was there, abandoned on the beach.
There was a haunted house involved before this - epic haunted house, Manic Mansion stuff, but I don't remember any of it, other than that it happened. We'd escaped from it, I think. And I was there on this beach thinking they were lost, when they come running over the sand. I'm overjoyed to see them. Gedge is with his partner Linda, and Suki's on her own. She's now married with two kids, but everyone looked just like they did ten years ago.
Only, for some reason (I really don't know where this comes from, we only ever snogged once coz we were drunk and she was trying to turn some guys on in a club), she was like the love of my life! Something had happened. Lynda was supposed to be really pissed off with Gedge and I was supposed to be really pissed off with Suki. Lynda forgave Gedge immediately, she ran up and gave him a big hug. For a split second, I saw how easy it would be to forgive Suki (or whatever the hell she's supposed to represent in my inner psyche). I was about to do it, then that horrible mood descended. You know, when the MDMA wears off and cold rationale eclipses love? I got narky with her. "I came back for you, I've been trying to find you for ages," she said, and all I could reply was "But you left me." I couldn't forgive her. Everything she'd done to find me couldn't make up for the initial abandonment. It was a yucky feeling. Like I could see love and happiness right in front of me, but my own ego wouldn't allow me to claim it.
Weird few nights. Does feel good to have my double life back, however nuts that sounds. I wrote a book once about dreaming. Almost all the dreams I put in there were taken from my own. I used to dream prolifically, and I have been concerned recently because I noticed I'd stopped dreaming. Glad to have that back, though some nights it can be exhausting.
Nice to have a mosquito net, too. There certainly are a lot more of the buzzy bastards in this house than the last.
I love mosquito nets. It's like sleeping inside a bubble and waking up in the mists of Avalon. I'll never forget the time I was caught in an earthquake. Woken at 4am. Didn't know what to do: get under the bed, brace myself in the doorway? Eventually I just shrugged and pulled up the duvet. I reasoned anything that fell would bounce off the mosquito net. (I knew that wasn't true, it brought down the roof of the hotel opposite, but somehow it was the most comforting thought I could muster at that time of night).
Anyway. I'm fucked off, to be honest.
Mostly with my new landlord.
"Sure, no problem with water or electricity," he told me. What he forgot to say was "except when they're mending the roads." Which they're doing at the moment. Thirty minute blackout last night, water highly temperamental today.
"When do they finish mending the roads?"
"You never know. When they finish with one, they attack another."
Also, when I was viewing, he said "Yes, hot water, no problem. You just plug in the water heater and it's ready in ten minutes."
What he forgot to tell me was that the water heater is broken. Also, the shower isn't fitted with a water mixer, so it's only a cold water shower at the moment.
He's promised to get all of this fixed.
"You moved in two days earlier than we originally agreed," he told me - as though two days makes any fucking difference. He knew which day I was moving in more than a week before I came. He said it would be fine. Yet they were still moving furniture out on the day that I arrived.
Something else that got right up my nose was that he called me mzungu twice. "I know it's impolite, but you know, when we heard a mzungu was moving in..." "You're right, I don't like that word." "Oh, you know, you mzungus, Europeans-" Oh, so you do have another word for us, you just choose to use the one you know I won't like?
He also hates cats.
Cherry on top of all of this - he won't let me set up an open plan kitchen as per the video. He insists that you can't cook in the front of the house, I must turn one of my bedrooms into a kitchen. Apparently the gas (not the smell, I did clarify) gets into the ceiling (!?)
What is it with houses in Kigali? Between daft landlords, crap layout, missing water, electricity and - now - kitchens, trying to find somewhere suitable and affordable to live is like trying to sing tenor with your balls in a vice.
I'm worn out by the entire experience.
I need to go get money out for a gas bottle tomorrow, so I've decided I'm going to treat myself to a full on buffet at Novotel.
I almost cried earlier. I haven't got much food in the house, or any way to cook it at the moment. Damascene got the charcoal stove going and when I poked my head out to say how good it smelled, he brought me a huge plate of potatoes and beans - then went and bought me a coke!!!
Honestly, I was welling up.
Tonight, I really, really, really wanted hot chocolate.
Dined on the finest Cadbury powder and Joanna's digestive biscuits.
The next stressful situation was my friend IC.
He's a lovely guy, he's had a shit time, he's trying to get out of the country. He applied for a French student visa, passed all the exams and has scraped together something like €2,000 of the €3,000 he needs to secure his place.
Despite telling him I was working tonight (more Skype interviews dictated by US time zones), he turned up exactly when I said I was starting work, and proceeded to ask me for the money. I knew it was coming, he'd hinted as much in a Facebook message.
I had to say no. I don't have that kind of spare cash in my account. I feel bad, because I understand his situation, but he's also a guy who spends $300 on really bad paintings, and tries to rent a house he can't afford because he thinks he can sub-let it. (It was a terrible house). He says he'll pay me back, and maybe he would, though he still owes me 8,000 francs for a meal I bought his friend a while back. Still doesn't alter the fact that I don't have that sort of money.
Next thing I know, he's posting on Facebook all this stuff like I need to find a way. I can't watch my chance vanish and The last person I had faith in said no. So confused.
Confused because he took all of the good stuff (passing all the exams) as a divine sign that he was meant to get to Europe. The fact that his friend doesn't have €1,000 to give him, and can't raise it by tomorrow, doesn't fit into his worldview. How can God have favoured him with France, but not favoured his friend with the money to give him to get there.
What annoys me so much is that he knows I don't have that sort of money. So why ask me? I think he took the fundraiser for Damascene's house as a sign that The Bank of Mzungu was open for business. That's a really harsh way to put it, I know, but that's how it feels. It took sixteen people two days to raise the money for Damascene. And that was a totally different situation. Damascene lost his house overnight, and I know how much he earns because I pay him. IC has had months to think about where he'll get the money for his visa, and he has a full-time job. He is a nice guy, he's helped me a lot, but he doesn't think things through.
In all good conscience, I sympathise hugely, but I refuse to feel guilty about this (she said bravely, when she usually feels guilty about everything). Not to put too fine a point on things, but I have already shown my solidarity for his plight by moving into a house without a freakin' kitchen.
I just hate it so much when friendships become conditional. How can I feel comfortable going out and drinking with a guy who clearly thinks I've held out on him?
So, really, the only sensible thing for me to do now is to have a long lie-in tomorrow, stuff my face at Novotel, then head up to Gisenyi for a leisurely stroll by the lake with Joanna and Zuba on Sunday.