Monday, 30 January 2012

Home Sweet Home

I didn’t have to wait too long before the compound manager came tripping over himself to greet me as I clambered out of the car as elegantly as one can when everything seems to have started to fall asleep. He refused to let me lift my cases out of the car and had the security guys move them into the lobby of the main building that housed his office and the office of his secretary. This guy was unbelievably eager to please, and he seemed to be nervous. For the life of me I couldn’t work out what the hell he had to be nervous about. I was the one who had just crossed god knows how much of the globe and left behind everything I had ever known. What was his problem? 

Anyway, I didn’t really complain too much. Partly because his nerves made him so helpful, but mostly because I was bloody exhausted. I don’t do well at all on a lack of sleep, and all I wanted to do was to be shown to my apartment and get my head down for an hour or two. No, I couldn’t do that straight away. There were forms, there was a tour of the main building and then there were more forms. I was pretty impressed with the main building though. Walking in the carved double doors into the air conditioned lobby you are greeted by cool marble floors, a bookshelf full of books and magazines, several plants and an overall feeling of comfort and welcome. Through the far door there was a games room with a pool table, table tennis and an air hockey table as well as an extensive DVD library where it was free to rent from so long as movies were returned within three days. Opposite this room was a squash court and on the next floor there was a cosy gym and a room holding computers with free Internet access. All in all, every whim was catered for once he showed me where the small store was. 

Finally, all the paperwork was complete and I could move into my one bedroom apartment. Earlier in my journals I mentioned that the woman who had recruited me hailed from the same small area of Staffordshire in the UK as I do. Since our phone interview we had been in regular contact, so I knew she had already been and viewed the apartment I would be taking. For that reason, I wasn’t remotely worried about how everything would look, but I did have a few expectations. I was ready to open the door into a small apartment with an open plan kitchen and living room, with a small bedroom and a tiny bathroom hidden away somewhere. 

That apartment, I would have been more than happy with. What was on the other side of the top floor door caught me off guard. To the left of the door was an ample sized kitchen area, already equipped with fridge, cooker, microwave, toaster, kettle, pots and pans, plates, cutlery and other odds and ends. Between the kitchen and the first armchair was a dining table with four chairs that did little to fill the space between fridge and lounge. The place was massive. From the door, over the table, two armchairs, huge sofa, wide screen TV, huge shelving unit and coffee table I could see out of the patio doors and over my balcony. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. The total floor space of the living area equals the whole downstairs of my mom’s house where I had been previously living. 

Then there was the bedroom; that was no pokey affair either, let me tell you! Prior to my move I was sleeping on a sofa bed in my mother’s lounge, my new bedroom was nearly twice as big as my mom’s master bedroom with a queen sized bed lost in the middle of it not far from massive wardrobes and a dressing table with a lovely mirror above. There was also a desk, a chest of drawers and two bedside tables. I had only been able to bring 20kg of luggage because of flight restrictions – it was going to take a serious amount of shopping to fill this baby!

Again, the bathroom surprised me by being a decent size and tastefully decorated. I had seriously gone up in the world!

However, my mind kept drifting back to the queen sized bed, complete with a set of sheets, as the compound manager was pointing out the iron and ironing board they had provided for me. I had arranged to meet my recruiter friend in the office later in the afternoon, and I desperately wanted to get my head down for an hour at least. Eventually he got the hint and said his goodbyes. Brilliant! Just a quick call home to let them know I’d made it whilst I unpacked the basics, and then I would close the curtains and pass out into blissful oblivion. 

The phone call wasn’t all that long, so I took a second to fill out the inventory I had been given; better to get it out of the way whilst I remembered. Ten minutes later I had located my toothbrush and just as I inserted it into my plaque filled mouth when the phone in my apartment blared into life and scared the crap out of me. 


“Hi Kirsty, it’s Nadia! I just wanted to check you arrived ok? How’s everything?”

“Oh, hi, yeah everything’s great thanks, I love the apartment! I’ve just started to unpack a bit to find a change of clothes for when I come in to the office.”

“Great! Well I thought it would be best if you came in at around noon as there will be a fair bit of paperwork and what-have-you to sort out. I’ve arranged a driver for you for then, how’s that sound?”

“Er, that’s fine by me.”

“Brilliant! See you in an hour then!”

Click, the receiver at the other end went down.

An hour?! Shit. So much for 40 winks! I scrambled into the bathroom and made do with a quick scrub of the smelliest parts at the sink and tried frantically to get my hair to do as it was told. Before I knew what was happening my shiny new apartment looked like a bombsite and the phone was ringing again. 

“Madam, there is a car here for you.”

“Great, I’ll be right down.”

Already?! Shit. Where was all the bloody paperwork I needed? Passport, medical, degree certificate, CV, offer letter, contract … was that everything? Well it would bloody well have to do. A quick squirt of perfume later and I was in the elevator and dashing to the awaiting car.

Image from


  1. I am really enjoying reading this, Kirsty. It really brings to life what it must have been like, and I feel as if I am by your side here!

  2. Thanks Jenny! It's fun living it over again actually.

  3. Kirsty, I'm enjoying reading this and feel like I was there seeing every moment!