Thursday, April 4, 2013

Some Reflection, Some Practical Advice

"Please don’t let your dream or purpose lie dormant in your heart... because of any uncertainty – all entrepreneurship will involve uncertainty. The key is to just begin, and then keep going. To cross the start line and then start tripping, then start falling, and after each tumble you get up and continue onward."
Jess Lively, from a blog post I read today that really hit home. 

I tend to do this in most aspects of my life... wait, wait, wait, stress, stress, stress until I think things are just right, until I'm completely ready. But I'm never fully ready when I allow myself to live in this pattern. (This applies to phone calls, meetings, presentations, big decisions, ambitions, etc, etc.) The anxiety persists until the very moment I push myself (or get pushed) off the ledge and just get. going. And no matter the outcome, I always look back and think, good lord, why all the fuss?! This is a lesson I'm learning time and time again in a new job that consistently pushes me out of my comfort zone.

The view from my bedroom, back in 2011.

Reading this quote I thought about my blog... how I don't even want to comment or promote it because I hate how it looksa silly roadblock. I thought about my apartment (or lack thereof). My bedroom at Megan's is totally bland and lifeless because what I really want is my own place to design from scratch. Rather than make the most of what I have, I'm just waiting and longing. Sometimes I can't help but marvel that my life choices and circumstances appear and are in many ways daring and unconventional. I don't really feel daring or unconventional, truth be told. How did I end up here?!

I can't think of a good segue, so I'll just carry on. I compiled this list of things to think about when renting in Dakar, for some day, when the time is right. Because as I wait, the mind concocts plans ;)

  1. Look out for fluorescent lighting, especially in the living room and bedrooms. It is pretty much inevitable in the kitchen, but speaking from experience.... fluorescent lighting in your bedroom or work space is torture. It really had a horrible effect on my mood last year; an Ikea floor lamp and candles were my saving grace.
  2. Sufficient and functioning electrical outlets. Have these checked out before hand because a lot of the time they don't work.
  3. Mosquito screens.
  4. Proper paint (not the chalky kind that shows water stains and any scuff).
  5. Functioning and higher quality plumbing... a big part of the reason I want a new(er) apartment. Senegalese plumbing is pitiful.
  6. Air flow. Some Senegalese apartments have very strange layouts and bedrooms can literally turn into saunas in the hot season (ie. my room in my last apartment... I physically could not sleep with the door closed which was unfortunate with a boyfriend and a roommate).
  7. The thickness/quality of the doors. The door on my bedroom last year might as well have been made of tissue paper (or plywood). I could hear people whisper/a pin drop in the living room outside my bedroom and as a very light sleeper, it drove me crazy. (Sorry, roommate! It wasn't your fault!)
  8. This isn't specific to Senegal, but the volume of the neighborhood/nearby streets. We didn't take this into account when we chose our apartment and soon realized a pothole outside our living room/my bedroom windows + the many trucks that went down our street = lots of noise right outside our apartment, often early in the morning.
  9. Avoid first floor apartments. First floor + old sewage systems = cockroaches. Its inevitable. Even the nicest, cleanest, most sanitary first-floor apartments have cockroaches in Dakar. Beware.
  10. The rooftop terrace. Westerners are seduced by roofs here; I admit, I fell for it too. Our apartment's rooftop had a view of the ocean and we imagined it would be like an outdoor living room. Well, consider this. Unless you are willing to invest in an umbrella/awning/tent (not so cheap, but worth it)... you will never spend time up there. It is just. too. hot. Also, our neighbors roof was one level higher and so they were always looking down on our terrace and it was kind of awkward (especially when you were retrieving dry laundry wrapped in a towel!).

First thought: "OMG, it will be perfect for bbqs and tanning and reading and working out!"
Don't be fooled. I went weeks without stepping foot up here.

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