Ever been to a fish market (without the smell) or a fruit and veg market? Imagine the traders trying to grab your attention, the buzz in the air, a smorgasbord of noise, making you dizzy and at times tantalizing; the images of fresh produce and the notion to get some for yourself.

My flat was the produce and the the three traders: my agent, the Ukrainian landlady and the Russian friend.

Now imagine if you can, all three of them talking in another language, (Russian in this case), negotiating, at the same time! It sounded like gibberish, chaotic,  colorful to watch and somewhat mesmerizing. Sometimes it seemed they were arguing but i didn’t now about what, and while seated at the corner watching this dance go about, my face bemused and curious as to what they were saying . I was occasionally brought into the conversation to approve something. Approve what? I don’t understand anything! Ahhhh yep, that sounds like the contract signing for my flat. Gibberish!

I had three women in my soon to be kitchen all crackling at the same time, and all i could catch was their names in the conversation, the occasional DA (which means YES in Russians) or HARASHO (meaning Good)  or my name THABANG ( which they pronounce TABANG) and in between all of that i had to wait for signs from my agent to nod in agreement and keep the disgusting smile I’ve had on for two weeks on.

They checked my passport (never had my passport checked so much in one session, was starting to think they didn’t believe i said i was who i said i was). Did i know what i was agreeing on? Ahhh not half the time. It just sounded like a bad case of jazz, meddling sounds, high pitched sounds. Thinking about it is doing my head in.

Anyway just like in the market, we agreed upon the important bits (i say that loosely), i read the English version of the contract hoping that the Russian one had the same elements and i signed away. I now had a home. Finally! Gibberish or no Gibberish!


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