Today it has been a week. A week we’ve been on the island. It hasn’t been a particularly smooth week, as settling in anywhere can be challenging. Settling in in New Caledonia has its own challenges. Fortunately we’ve lived here before and fortunately I speak a bit of French (to navigate things like bank accounts, telephone lines and ADSL subscriptions), but there are new challenges this time around.
The big one this time is: roaches.
Last Friday, both our little guy (Pablo, 6 years old) and I had the fright of our lives. As we walked down into the garage we noticed what looked like a wall-to-wall carpet of leaves move. Move a lot. As we got closer, we figured out that they weren’t leaves, but roaches the size of human fingers. A whole wave of them, scattering in every direction. There were far more of them than the floor underneath them.
We got into the car, thoroughly traumatised (having grown up in Florida, I knew roaches could be big, but I had rarely encountered such a mass of them – and Pablo, well, he had never seen such a thing in his life).
When we returned 1.5 hours later, they were still there, but many of them were dead. Pablo refused to get out of the car. When I finally convinced him, we both RAN.
I thought to myself, “If I have to go through this every day to get this little guy to school, this is going to be impossible. I got him out of the car once. I doubt I’ll be able to get him out again.”
Turns out the garage roach invasion was due to a treatment that is carried out in the building every 4 months. They are thrust out on a regular basis and eventually the building concierge sweeps them up.
But that doesn’t wholly explain the roaches in our flat. I killed 4 little ones this morning before coffee and then I had the pleasure of finding one in the silverware and one in the food cabinet. I’ve started noting how many I am seeing – and it is driving me crazy (8 Saturday, 5 Sunday, 8 today …). We’ve set out traps and wrapped up all the food, but I hate seeing them on the windows, scattering across the floors and diving into holes. Little makes my skin crawl, but roaches in my food, clothes and books is close to giving me nightmares.
I’m told we have to request that someone ” de-roach” the flat and that after that it will be okay. My husband tells me each time I jump that it is worse in Africa.
But we are not in Africa. New Caledonia is warm, yes. But we are in a clean, modern flat. We don’t have to live like this.
Or do we?