There will also be some things I won’t miss. The smell of dead lizard emanating from the air conditioner in Office #6. The toxic little white balls the cleaning staff puts in all the sinks for no apparent reason (you’ve seen them before, in urinals). The reception desk ringing my room at 11:30 at night out of a sound sleep to take the breakfast order I already gave them for the next day. The awesomely horrid 1970’s comforters in taupe with geometric shapes. The Cadbury milk chocolate bar and bag of potato chips that refreshes daily as if by magic in my minibar fridge. [No, I will miss that.]
But I’m ready to start fending for myself, remembering how to make my own hot water and clear up my own dishes. It will be weird not to pick up the phone and expect a hard-boiled egg to appear 10 minutes later, but I will learn. It will be strange to find that my bed no longer makes itself and damp towels aren’t mysteriously replaced every day with nice fresh clean ones, but I’ll adjust. As much fun as it’s been to eat breakfast simultaneously with a roomful of colleagues, I’m probably ready for a little alone time. And I’m definitely ready to start making a home here, rather than just occupy Room #8.
What happens when you spend every waking moment of your life with the same people, in the same guest house, sometimes under lockdown? In our case, we got a lot of work done, amassed a lot of inside jokes, tried not to get unnerved over the latest security threat or sinister warning from the embassy about beheadings, ate a lot of dal and chapati. We had a surprisingly low number of brawls or catfights (unlike the real Real World). We also didn’t have a hot tub, although the nice open terrace on the roof would have made a great spot. Maybe for the reunion show…
Of course, it feels callous to talk about housing without mentioning the more than 2 million Pakistanis recently homeless and displaced from the NWFP as a result of the upheaval there. For you non-CNN types, NWFP stands for the North-West Frontier Province, a region of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan and is the scene of the ongoing US drone attacks targeting terrorist leaders. Like usual, I have nothing to complain about.