Four generations of my family have lived in our house; Great-Grandma, Grandma, Mum and now me. My cousins and I grew up running around the backyard, having water fights, fighting over who gets to use the blue cup and watching PowerRangers after school on Grandma’s giant boxlike TV. So when I look around the house – the architecture, the paint colour, the carpet – I think to myself, “this is normal”.
But is it normal?
For the past fortnight we’ve been housesitting at David Beagle’s house while his mum and dad were overseas. He kindly thanked us for our company by breaking into the bedroom, trashing it, consuming Panadol, throwing up on the couch and eating my underwear. We love you too David Beagle. Such a pleasure.
We forgive him because he gives great cuddles.
While we’ve been away, we’ve had our house available on Airbnb. Previously, we had stayed in a few Airbnbs across Europe and all of them had their own quirks. One lady crammed 8 backpackers in her tiny Spanish apartment. One listed exact ceiling measurements in her description. I thought that was odd until we turned up and the ceiling was lower than my head. A single mother and her son had spiderman pictures everywhere and one had a sticky copy of a playboy magazine… ugh.
So I wondered what do the Airbnb guests think about when they come to our house?
Are they in love with or bewildered by the giant giraffe we keep in our bedroom?
Nzuri is awesome, but when you wake up in the middle of the night and see the shadow of a life size person standing over you, it can be very alarming.
What’s with the jail like bars on the bedroom’s french doors?
WELL at night in Australia, it’s hot. And because our windows are doors, if we leave them open we might be murdered, raped or worst of all… invaded by a possum. Bars and a mosquito net were the cheapest solution.
Is Dexter using the area under your house?
No. This is my brother’s surfboard construction area. I know it looks incredibly creepy and I apologise. I do check it once a month to make sure no one is it hiding in here. Once our electricity bill was unusually high, and I was convinced someone was living in there stealing our electricity. They were not.
Why do you have a giant dead bush outside your house?
I stressed over the feedback each person who stayed put on Airbnb. I held my breathe every time there was a notification alerting a new review. Was our house clean enough? Were they unnerved by the carpet that hasn’t been replaced since the 60s? Did the verandah stairs fall in and are they going to sue me?
Kindly, all of them said great things. About how our house was peaceful, the veranda had great views and the neighbourhood was lovely. But secretly I hoped for more. I wanted them to take selfies with Nzuri on Instagram so that the hashtag #nzuri trended on all social media platforms, to comment on how awesome our exotic mosquito net was or in the very, very best case scenario, do the gardening for me.
But on the brightside, everyone who visited was super nice, it paid part of our rent for the period and best of all, no one stole our stuff. Woo!