It has now been almost a week since I arrived. There is still some adapting to occur – however it is not the place to which I must adapt – I am content living in this tropical paradise with its mist and humidity for the time being. Rather, it is the lifestyle which to me is unique.
I am now technically a “lady of leisure” – or a “house-lady” as classified by one of the older Brits a few days ago. This is a significant change from my previous routine of work, eat, sleep. It was this routine that I so desired a change from and was one of the key reasons for the decision to come here. And although I knew before I boarded the flight in Brisbane that it would at some stage shock me to be sans profession or labour, that shock still manifested itself in a physical sense this week.
The lifestyle in the “compound” when one is not working is a slow one. This is not necessarily a negative thing but it does contrast with my previous life in the office. Although those office days were often slow also, the pace then was much less relaxed than this island life in the compound.
So at present, my days are filled with sessions at the gym where I pound the treadmill while gazing at the aquamarine swimming pool with Malabo city and its mountain beyond; speaking random Spanish words and phrases to myself in our apartment and attending the classes when they occur; writing emails mainly to those in Oz; and deciding what to concoct for lunch when the husband returns for his two hour break (so far this has consisted of a variety of fish – which was generally too expensive to purchase in Oz – and fresh or frozen vegetables).
When you are new to a place, it seems best to accept any invitations which come your way. This was how I ended up in a different compound yesterday afternoon, learning to play Rummy with a lovely bunch of ladies mainly from the US, many of which had children around my own age. I can’t say this was a position I ever contemplated ever being in back in Oz – particularly given that I had no idea how to even play Rummy until yesterday – but as it also appeared to be part of a different set of which I would never be privy (and by that I mean the tennis-playing, country-club set).
I am therefore grateful to yesterday’s ladies for accepting a 30 year old, Australian, virgin-Rummy player into their game – and also to the younger lady who suggested I come along. Although I cannot say it was how I imagined I would spend my time (except perhaps in an offhand fantasy in my mind) and although I was apprehensive about attending, I very much enjoyed the social interaction with a group of ladies different to that which I ordinarily associate, and can confirm that I will attend next week, and the week after that, provided the invitations are forthcoming!
If this week has confirmed one thing for me it is that the mind (meaning my mind) should be kept open. And it is also perhaps a further example (the first example being moving to Africa – a country I’d never before visited) of the way this place compels you to do things you never imagined you would.