As the saying goes, 'the housing problem has corrupted everyone'. When adapting this phrase to the residency realm, we can safely say, 'The housing problem has ruined everything'. Simply because there is no option to answer the question 'How are you finding the residency?' with 'Everything is great, but the housing could be better'. Everything starts with housing, continues with housing, and ends with housing. Therefore, it makes sense that at the start of the residency it takes some time for the participant to settle in: that is, to familiarise themselves with their new reality and get the housing problem over and done with.
When settling in, it is crucial to remember to make a schedule and distribute the existing residency tasks across the heaven (or hell) of everyday life. My task is quite challenging: the residency coincides with the summer holidays and takes place in a seaside resort area. On the one hand, this is a unique way to mix business with pleasure, but on the other hand, it is too easy to succumb to the temptations of the sea and sun.
We are slowly putting together a regime, drawing concentric circles of exploration on new terrain, starting from our courtyard. While the construction of the resident cottage is underway, we are living in the nearest village, blending with tourists. Since I am in residency with a child, this is an advantage, as the place we are staying in is teeming with children and my daughter has effortlessly entered into the neighbourhood life. A bunch of games that we strategically brought over (overstuffing the picnic backpack) is a great help. My daughter's willingness to socialise provides me with at least four hours to work at the computer a day. This becomes the backbone of our schedule.
Now that the writing schedule is sorted out, I need to make sure that I don't overdo it – that is, simply pencil in the sea. It's very important to sort out food and water. We're approaching this task slowly, limiting ourselves to necessities. So far, we were happy to come across Gayane, the main fruit, vegetables and nuts dealer on our street. Living in the village in the summer is rather pleasant: the cult of shorts and flip flops reigns here, so everything is simple and low-key, just like at home. I can finish writing a paragraph, put a pot of water on the stove, pop out to Gayane's for new potatoes, return to my boiling water and drop the potatoes in. While they are cooking, I get to write another paragraph and then feed the child. The main thing is to keep in mind that I have to write something. And to feed the child. Regularly.