The house hunt began with us loading into a Tuc-Tuc to meet an estate agent on a scooter at a roundabout who we would then follow to see our prospective new homes. It was all quite elaborate but we had begun to realize that the Kingdom of Wonder, however wonderful also refers to you wondering what is going on, the majority of the time. So we followed, we were first shown a house that had various lawns, there was front lawns, side lawns, more lawns than I have ever seen available to someone who I wasn’t meant to curtsey too. It was incredibly beautiful, hidden behind a shop on the side of the road it was a traditional Khmer wooden house with lots of space but quite isolated from any other houses. Which added to the fact you would feel like a member of the Royal family by living there. Although having breakfast each morning on the Royal Terrace seemed ever so fancy, we are not the fancy sort. One of us will always, always smell like baby poo and the other will be cleaning said baby poo up. So, we left the house quite quickly and as we did we saw the Dogs. I capitalize Dogs because they were the angriest dogs I had come across, maybe not Sam had come across after his night of heroics but they had been taught to be mean and they didn’t like us very much. Even if for a second we had imagined ourselves on the front lawn, eating scones with our newly renamed children Juniper and Peach frolicking through the grounds – the dogs weren’t having any of it. So, we scrambled back into our Tuc-Tuc and went to house number two.
When we arrived, something was very different to every other house viewing we’d been too. Back home you always have the option to be in when people are viewing your house as you watch them silently judge your furnishings, trinkets and share looks about that photo of you both holding an inflatable banana at the Christmas party. For those reasons alone, you leave. You huddle in the coffee shop at the end of the road, you hide in a nearby bush, you run and never look back (until the estate agent messages to say it’s okay to return home). We arrived to around twenty people, going about their daily business. We were told to look around, take our shoes off and peer through their lives, whilst they watched. Due to our own anxieties, we both threw ourselves into the nearest bush until they left. We didn’t, however, we did leave – it wasn’t what we wanted and we weren’t 100% on whether the current inhabitants came with the house which with Dylan toilet training and Dotty’s new found fascination with toes would be a real logistical nightmare.
We went back to Valentina and Steve’s house and felt a little flat. Maybe we could just live here and borrow their piece of tropical paradise. We would greet all other guests with hi’s and hello’s and when asked when we would leave, Sam who by then would of grown a floor length beard just for effect would stand with his new found stick that he would also be carrying around with him, bang the ground and bellow “NEVEEEEER!” huddle us all inside our room and lock the doors. Or we perhaps would keep looking.
We continued scrolling the local estate agents pages and showed interest in a property, within five minutes we were all bundled into a car and taken to see a house, not the house we had showed interest in, but a house all the same. It faced a brick wall and had very little space outside – it was very, very grey but everybody was so nice. And Sam and I are suckers for nice people. The landlord was a lady and she kept calling the house our new home, showing us textile options and offering us a kettle. She fawned over the girls as the estate agents gathered the paperwork for us to go through after telling us repeatedly how amazing it would be for us. They placed us in the living room and gave us ‘our’ remote control and spoke about when we’d be moving in. The stairs didn’t have a handrail on both sides which would be a nightmare with two children we raised, ‘IT’S DONE, $100 DOLLARS, IT’S DONE’. Well, that’s that then isn’t it, this grey house is perfect – everyone is so kind, let’s move in.
We got back to Valentina and Steve’s $100 dollars lighter and in a little bit of a haze. We didn’t really speak for an hour or so, either of us not entirely sure what had happened.
‘I don’t want to live there!’ one of us finally exclaimed after the shock had worn off.
‘ME NEITHER! what do we do?!’
We phoned the estate agents the next morning, we’d got caught up in the kindness but we didn’t think the property was for us. He was disappointed but immediately spoke of his many better properties and offered us another trip in his car. We declined and the $100 handrail was never spoken about ever again.