Walking the newly bald Alfie earlier today, a warm draft brushed my cheek. It should have felt pleasant, it didn’t. It felt as though I was walking past one of those choked up restaurant extractor fans, spewing recycled air and grease onto the streets. This warm air is a harbinger of change; it announces summer, not the bogus exotic summer of last week. But, the long awaited temporal summer that flits briefly from spring to autumn, never quite settling long enough to become familiar.
There is a lot of change happening in our small expat community. Living arrangements are being redefined; people are resigning their position as expats and going home, while others make their position more permanent. It all feels a little unnerving.
Mr Sunshine and I are experiencing a few changes too. I’ve started looking at new apartments, I’ve not actually been to see any - that would be tempting providence (we haven’t heard if we’ll be asked to stay yet). It’s not that we don’t love our apartment, we do. It’s the noise that’s getting us down. During the winter the noise isn’t a problem, but once the sun arrives and the Hijgend Hert throws open its yellow doors, the regular bands become less quaint.
It all came to a head a fortnight ago, when my mum arrived from the UK to a heat wave and dozens of zombies roaming the street outside our apartment. The zombie themselves were quite entertaining, the pulsating zombie theme music that accompanied them until 2 am wasn’t.
‘I can’t do this anymore Trace, it’s gone beyond a joke.’ Said Mr Sunshine.
For once I agreed with him.
I’m not sure I agreed with the other change in Mr Sunshine though. A few weeks ago, you might remember we went to see Cesar Millan. Despite the distraction of Cesar's nipple tweaking on stage, we did learn a few important lessons. One of which is: your dog needs to engage with his nose more often at home so he feels like he’s earned his treats. Now, Alfie has a very active nose whenever we’re out, there isn’t a urine soaked lamp post or antique turd he hasn’t glued his little wet nose too within 5 kilometres of the apartment. However, in the apartment his nose had become totally redundant, so Mr Sunshine took it upon himself to transform into Alfie’s mentor.
Most dog owners would settle for training or teaching the dog, which would, of course be too easy. The mentoring starts when Alfie is called into the kitchen to watch Mr Sunshine prepare a few treats. Then Alfie is asked to wait in the kitchen while the treats are hidden in the lounge, which I have to say, Alfie does with amazing patience.
‘Go find them.’ Yells, Mr Sunshine.
Alfie bounds into the lounge dashing round the furniture looking for his treats.
‘Use your nose. ‘Mr Sunshine says.
Alfie continues to unsuccessfully look for his treats.
‘Like this, sniff-sniff-sniff.’ Mr Sunshine is teaching by example.
Alfie continues to look for his treats.
‘Sniff-sniff-sniff, come on you can do it.’ It’s the example thing again.
Then he does, Alfie’s little nose drops to the floor as he impersonates his mentor. Cheers of encouragement escape both our mouths whenever Alfie draws close to his treat, as do sighs of disappointment as he walks right past. It’s a slow process, but with his mentors help Alfie is finally learning to use his nose at home.
Other changes this week:
- Alfie needed to be scalped when we found him foaming at the mouth after trying to eat another tick, his long hair was lovely but a heaven for burrowing ticks.
- I lost last week’s will power and gain a couple of lbs. - it’s not looking good for Turkey and bikinis.
- The best news is that our shower is blocked. Doesn’t sound like good news you might think – remember my plumber?