Thursday, August 13, 2015

How To Be a Good Roommate

After hosting Hanseo University' students last two weeks, I became a volunteer on an Asia Pacific-level event last weekend. Actually, I was registered nowhere; I thought I will be the member of Registration Team following the first briefing, but at the final briefing I didn't find my name anywhere. So then, I decided to stay with the Registration Team – and it was the right decision knowing that the table can be sooooo busy when the participants arrived.

As I found that administering data can be so overwhelming, my duty was preparing the ID Cards and goodie bags. But one time, the committee who worked at the Room Arrangement need to leave her desk for a while. Because I had no still position, I filled her position and helped to arrange the room for participants – until the next day.

Turns out, it was one of the most tiring job in the committee. Funny thing, I got a lot of awkward situation because I also managed the complaints from participants. Most of the problems are..... the roommate. So, usually the problem started with “I couldn't stand it, my roommate is dirty/sloppy/messy/not friendly/a/b/c/etc.” Thankfully, I got no one said, “my roommate snores.” How could I help with that?????

Looking back to my experiences, I stayed at my friend' apartment in Ho Chi Minh. I also slept at a female dorm consists of six persons in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. When I become the finalist of World Muslimah Award 2014, I had four roommates in Bogor; and then Dina Tokio was lucky enough to have me as her roommate in Yogyakarta. Lol. Dina never had any roommate in her life, and she said – alhamdulillah – I was a great roommate. Last but not least, here in Yogyakarta, I have a roommate at my aunt's home.

Being a good roommate is everyone's responsibility as it's everyone's expectation. When we travel, we want to sleep well so we can maximize our day time. We also don't want to have trouble with our roommate, and then have a feeling of risking our stuffs when we leave the room. Also, it's very important to keep the bathroom clean, because's just important after all. So, I would like to give you some tips on how to become an awesome roommate.

1. Claim Your Space
Dina had a HUGE suitcase because she travels to Indonesia one week before the World Muslimah Award. She also doing her own make up, so she has a lot of stuffs. Compared with me, I brought some books (and that's why she called me 'geek'). So then, we divided our room as west and east. I used the shelves at the west side of our room, and she can use the table at the east side. We even use this rule for the cupboard. With this way, there was none of my goods slipped in hers, vice versa. Anyway, without this rule, another finalist got a problem with her legging lost somewhere in her roommate' suitcase.  

2. Keep Your Voice Down
When I was in Phnom Penh, I was just arrived at 11PM. Luckily, my roommates was just ready to go to the party – so I didn't make any problem for them. But, they did make noisy sounds when they got back at 3AM. They even prepared for their departure at 6AM, so I stayed awake until they leave. Cry cry. This kind of problem surely can't be avoided, but we can do some things, such as: if you want to make a phone call at late night, you can do the call outside the room; use headset if you want to listen to music before sleeping; well, you name it.  

3. Don't Take Too Much Time in the Bathroom
I did have a roommate who shower too long, she even sang in the bathroom while we have to ready soon. Oh God, it's torturing actually. There was one time when I join a tour in KL, and the tour guide said: 'you can do the make up while you wait for your roommate in the bathroom; and then you can take shower from neck to the bottom.' Everyone was laugh at that time, but I know it's true. Luckily, I take a bath fast, so I can assure you I'm a good roommate, LOL. 

4. Always, always, always Keep the Cleanliness of Your Room
The thing is, I know that some persons think that the room will be cleaned by the cleaning service in the morning. It's a big no no, because once you don't keep clean, people will think that's how your personality is. You might also have a roommate who is clean-freak, so just try to respect to each other by making sure that your space is neat enough.

5. Be Nice
Perhaps some of you just don't really comfortable in having stranger as roommate. But some greetings like 'good morning', 'thanks', and 'have a nice dream' can be a beginning for the next conversation. If they give positive response, just continue with simple questions, such as, 'how was your sleep?'; 'have you seen the swimming pool? It's beautiful!'; 'the bathroom is really good' (– Dina said it to me actually :p). Hopefully, it breaks the ice between you and your roommate.

Aside of some rules above, I usually give some private 'space' for my roommates. I never touch my roommate's stuffs without asking. I also don't talk to them if they seem tired or using their mobile phones. Knowing I talk a lot, I hold myself much because we do want some silence and quiet times.

So, don't be nervous to have stranger as roommate at the next time you travel. You might 'lose' some; but trust me, if you see it positively, you can also gain unforgettable experiences – it's a chance for you to uncover some intercultural-related lessons. 

Have a nice trip!

Lots of love,

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