Nearly 2 years ago, my best friend relocated to Lagos to take up a new job. I was a newlywed and she couldn’t move in with me, so she had to stay with a family we’d both known for a long time. If you’ve ever been in this position you know that no matter how nice the host family is, if you’re used to living on your own, you’ll still long for a place of your own. My friend is in particular the kind of person who doesn’t like to impose on others, so she wanted to be out of the way as soon as possible.
She began searching for a new place almost immediately. She knew exactly what kind of house she wanted: well-finished, easily accessible, cute, and comfy- but as weeks turned into months and agent after agent told story after story, anxiety set in. She wanted a place. She needed a place. It didn’t have to be just what she wanted anymore- good enough would do.
Ten months later, an agent called to say he had a place for her. It was bigger, and therefore more expensive than what she was looking for. The kitchen and bathroom were lacking tiles. The entire house needed painting. There was no running water, and the existing tenants were okay with it so if she wanted running water, she would have to pay for repairs of the pumping machine herself- never mind that all the tenants would enjoy the benefit.
I said to her, “Girlfriend, it’s okay to lower your expectations to something more realistic, but this is below realistic. This is crap.”
“But I need a place, Hon. I’ve been living with them for almost a year. I don’t want a new year to meet me there.”
I suggested that a new place may come along next week, or next month; who knew? But she had had enough. She wanted to move into her own place. So she paid for it and arranged for the repairs to start.
Then I got the inevitable phone call.