Why I Miss AP House (But Love Living Downtown)
Hunched over in this annoyingly familiar seat, I wait for my time to come. Money in hand and the clock on my mind, I sit patiently. This might seem like I am in line to buy a bus ticket to go back downtown, but I am actually at the electricity office to pay my bill.
Yes, my electricity bill.
I missed the deadline again, so I am back at the office to pay it in person.
That’s how life has been since moving to downtown. Bills, bills, and more bills! I hate the word “bill!” (Other than my friend Bill, who takes great pictures.)
It just wasn’t like this when I lived in AP House.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my life downtown now, but I sometimes miss the convenience of living on campus, where, for example, all my utilities were included in my rent. Electricity, gas, water—in AP House, I didn't need to think about them separately, I just paid a fixed amount every month.
Of course, the lack of bills isn’t the only thing that made dorm life great. AP House gave me a smooth and comfortable beginning to my university life. Leaving my country to study in a foreign one was tough, but thanks to friends I made from different parts of the world and from a plethora of backgrounds—friends whom I still depend upon even in my second year of university—my transition was enjoyable. Those experiences are still fresh in my mind.
Actually, I used to study a lot in the kitchen on my floor as it was quite big and people were always around if I needed any help.
One time, my friend was cooking traditional Sri Lankan food from his hometown while I was studying. He invited me to join him for lunch, and we chatted a bit about Sri Lanka while eating. He even helped a bit with my Japanese studying and taught me a bit of Sinhalese, one of Sri Lanka’s major languages. I remember being pleasantly surprised to learn that Sri Lankan cuisine is really similar to the food of my home country, Bangladesh.
These kind of experiences happened all the time. Sometimes I really do miss that friendly atmosphere on my floor.
But that aside, the freedom that comes with living downtown is amazing, and this made me realize that life is the best teacher. Now I truly know how life feels when you’re on your own. The complete independence is preparing me well for life after graduation, and all these collective experiences are molding me into a stronger, more resilient and capable person.
However, as the saying goes, with great freedom comes great responsibility—which means now I actually have to wake up on time to get to class! Gone are the days of leaving my room just 10 minutes before class starts and still making it on time. Now I have to wake up one hour before class and run to the bus stop.
“Omataseshimashita (Sorry to keep you waiting),” calls out the receptionist. “Your bill is all taken care of now.” My time here is up, and now I must move onto gas and then water.
Hopefully next month I’ll remember to pay my bills before the deadline so I don’t end up paying in person again. Come to think of it, it might be time for me to sign up for automatic withdrawal for all my bill payments…
So maybe, just maybe, I will get out of this vicious circle of bills. But for now that’s my cycle of bills and my cycle of life.