Sorry for the long delay in updating; things got a bit crazy around here. Last night my landlady went too far, I called the police, packed up my possessions, and got out of that place.
Part of writing this blog is to keep friends and family updated, but I haven’t wanted to post about the bad things because I feel like I would be complaining, and nobody wants to read that. So I will say that the room I found to rent here was cozy, but my landlandy/roommate was absolutely unstable. I was not able to use the laundry because apparently I would break it, not able to use the stove because apparently that would cause a fire hazard. Essentially, she spoke down to me as if I was a extremely misbehaved child (or animal, hard to know which). She was very condescending, as if I was just too dumb to know to do it her way when it came to everything: cooking food, closing doors, doing dishes, to taking a shower. I thought I could put up with the daily bizarre behaviour, its just two months right? Wrong.
Last night, to make a long story short, basically she verbally and emotionally accosted me. Back up to the night before, I had a friend staying over and I wanted to go home sooner than she did when we went downtown, so I gave her my keys since she was only going to be a few hours longer. I told my landlady this and she had plenty of opportunity to say that she wasn’t ok with that. Fast forward to 3 am and Landlady comes storming into my bedroom, uninvited (side note, she was frequently in my room while I was not there even after being asked not to) and started yelling that I lied to her, and my friend was coming to rob her. Now I had only had 2 hours of sleep, and hadn’t slept the night before, so I don’t remember that part well, but it was mean and completely irrational. She proceeded to call the cops, meanwhile, my friend arrives and we all watch her place the keys into my landlady’s hands. That whole ordeal seemed to blow over somewhat, I couldn’t sleep after the police left at 5:30am, and the day with her in there was awful. I knew I had to get out, but thought I could find another place for the end of the month.
That evening I needed to go out of the house and Landlady still had my keys. So I mustered up my courage, went to her (she ignored me for 15 minutes while she went on and off the phone) and said, very politely “hi Landlady, I need to go out of the house now and need my keys.”
She exploded. I’m trying to find an appropriate metaphor, but I suppose she proceeded to verbally beat the hell out of me. She was condescending and insulting, full of shaming & blaming, highly charged and took it out in the nastiest, most personal way possible. She started ranting and carrying on, and got up in my face about all sorts of really unpleasant things. She claimed to not have my keys, that she was done putting up with this bullshit, and so on. I continued to endure this for another 40 minutes, calming trying to get her to understand that she has the keys and this can be resolved peacefully.
She was completely irrational to the point of insanity, if I may insert personal judgement, she needs to be committed. I could not reach her in that madness and was under a great deal of trauma from the harassment and personal insults. I am not great with conflict, and while nothing she said about me was true, it is upsetting to have somebody in my personal space, in very emotional and heated terms, yell at me for something so very small (keys that she actually had).
At this point I turned to friends here for help, and they called the police. Meanwhile, Landlady proceeded to tell me I was no longer welcome in her home. I was all too happy to start packing my things because honestly, a park bench would have been better than that house. I packed, and all the while she followed me from room to room trying to get me to sign documentation that I received a key from her, that I would pay for her locks to be replaced for the key that I “lost” and to pay for the change in terms of our agreement. She had sort of calmed down, mostly because there were other people around to witness her (I noticed she was very abusive to my female friend, but very polite to the men, very glad to have the two guys there!).
I must say I was proud of my behaviour during that conflict, I was polite, clam, rational, and diplomatic. She was not, so I just told her I will not pay for anything, and ignored her. So she called the police and told them “a person was in her home and trying to steal her property.” She even tried to physically block me from leaving since I wasn’t going to pay her any money. We had no contract, no signed documents, and she just illegally kicked me out of her house. So technically I could sue her.
The police were extremely sweet, making sure I got all my stuff out, and that I was going to be ok. Other than a little bit of hysterical crying on the phone and shaking like a leaf from the adrenaline/ shock of such an encounter, I am ok. I’m just wanting to put it behind me. Let go of this story for sure.
So now I am temporarily at the executive directer’s house and have no idea what the next 4 weeks look like. We are going to get Sitelle out of that house too (she is away at her CIL training), but I’m a little unsettled and uncomfortable. I’m getting used to change, but I didn’t expect major conflict or personal challenge in my Canadian part of this adventure. I am hoping that by telling you all about it, I feel more support and peace with that craziness. Also, if anybody has friends/family with a place I could stay until Nov 18th, let me know!
I recognize that bad stuff will always happen, in Gambia too, and I hope that whatever I share always comes from a mutually respectful place, isn’t about the other person but about my experiences. I realize that through this blog I can reach out to people back home when something is bothering me. I imagine I will slip up and rant sometimes, but I will try not to make those times about blaming the other person.
I’ll post something happy soon, I just have got to get some sleep first! 3 nights of under 2 hours each is not cool. Plus trying to tell the same story over and over is exhausting – this way its all out there and I can stop thinking about it! Hopefully. Love to you all!