Shoes half worn with untied laces, bag strapped to one arm, my other hand struggling to find the arm hole of my jacket sleeve and my free hand furiously pressing the pedestrian call button and wishing the lights change from green to red. My house was just after a traffic light on a major road in Merrylands and to catch the 907 bus to Parramatta every morning, I had to cross to the other side of the road. This meant sometimes I caught the bus just before it takes off and other times, the bus leaves while I’m stuck at a red light.
While this is relatively true, this notion discredits the fact that you still have to put in a reasonable amount of effort to ensure that you maximise the opportunities you supposedly have. Thus, most of us in this category spend a lot of time passionately defending our “hustle” to our peers.
I applied to any and every job I was remotely skilled to do because I was fast running out of options and I needed to start saving up my fees for the next semester. Getting a job this time around was not to boost my ego, confidence or assuage my dignity, it was a primal necessity for survival in the coming months.
The first few days in my new house was bizarre. Everyone was juggling school and work which meant I was usually by myself in the house till late at night when they got back. While this should have been comforting, it wasn’t. The silence was a constant reminder of my shortcomings and how so far out of control my life had gone.
I had no job and I was about to be homeless because I couldn’t afford to pay my rent any more. Nothing was going according to plan and I was now in full panic mode. My landlady had said she had some family members coming over and we had to vacate the house. The problem was to move into a new house would cost so much more than living in the same place paying rent weekly.
The man who was to talk to us about the job was a local and he looked to be in his mid forties. He seemed older than his age and had a tired, worn look on his face. He sat and asked if we wanted coffee the and I ordered a one – flat-white with no sugar. While waiting for the coffee, he gave us a bit of background information to the job.
Between the smiles and my rigid availability, there was a slim to none chance of me getting the job. I went to school four days a week and this really affected my job search. Even if I did get a job, my availability wasn’t very flexible and this made a difficult situation even more difficult.
Maryanne, the owner of the house, gave me a tour round the property; she showed me the room I would be renting and it was a decent size with a walk-in closet that was already serving as a mini storage. During the tour around the house, I noticed the house seemed unkept. The backyard was overgrown, shelves were collecting dust, the swimming pool was dirty and the kitchen seemed cramped with too many appliances.
He was a bit more excited to have met a Nigerian than I felt being Nigerian at the time. I later learnt that he had previously studied in Canada where he met a Nigerian girl who became his house mate and helped him improve his English language speaking skills. The downside to this was he felt he knew all there was about Nigeria from meeting just one of us and he proceeded to share his knowledge with the group.
I walked around a lot during my first week in Sydney and this meant I got to see and observe different places and people. What struck me as odd was the number of homeless people I saw on the streets especially at night. This was a stark contrast to the vision of picturesque and glamour I had in mind. My Nigerian mind could not…