I Did Not Survive the Hunger Games

So…it’s been a while. Not that this blog isn’t used it it’s share of awkward silences. But this past week has been unexpectedly insane.

Here’s my explanation:

The owner of the company that I’ve worked for here in Edinburgh owns ~22 shops along the Royal Mile, the center of Old Town Edinburgh. I began to see each other these shops as a District, like in Panem.

Some of the districts were eager to please the Capitol. President Snow was happy with them; he regularly visited them and they grovelled in submission at his presence. They kept their heads down and worked hard and brought in a lot of revenue for the Capitol.

But some districts were farther away from the Capitol. Outlying, you could say. They didn’t receive as much support and supplies from the Capitol, not enough to live by in most cases.

I worked in one such District. We’ll call it District 12.

Let me give you a rundown of the daily life in District 12.

I’ve mentioned before that in District 12, our cries for supplies (merchandise) to keep our District sustained often fell on deaf ears. When supplies came, they were always less than half of what we’d asked for and nearly always the wrong products and rarely what we actually needed. We were actually under instruction from President Snow himself to stop ordering new supplies for our primary product, jewelry, because our sustainability was negligible to him. So we began to languish. People who passed through District 12 often did so with attitudes ranging from confusion to contempt because we were unable to provide for their needs.

In addition to not being able to serve our purpose as a District due to the extreme rationing, our living conditions were also poor. We half-joked that we were living in medieval times, because we had no running water in the District, and had to walk two Districts over to have access to water.

Because we had no running water, we were forced to dump the contents of or dirty mop bucket onto the cobblestones when no one was looking. It was degrading, really.

It took weeks sometimes to get the supplies we needed to maintain order around District 12. Broken mop? Guess you won’t clean the footprints off the floor for a few days. Broken hoover (vacuum)? Sweep the wool lint into the street. Out of glass cleaner or paper towels? You’ll have to resort to stealing them from the other Districts.

So here we were in District 12 with dirty floors and empty shelves, trying to be as pleasing to both tourists and President Snow as possible, but it just wasn’t possible. Occasionally a peace-keeper was sent around our District to make sure we weren’t getting out of line, but our situation in 12 steadily deteriorated, and along with it, our morale and sanity.

Whenever we reached out to the Capitol for ways to increase our production or upgrade our living conditions, we were rejected with an iron fist: 1. Our microwave in the cupboard-under-the-stairs “staff room” began to deteriorate inside, becoming questionable for use, and we were told we were no longer allowed to eat on District 12’s premises rather than supplied with a new microwave. So in addition to going two Districts over for water, we’d have to go to yet another District to eat in an underground hovel, with an equally sketchy microwave, rotting floorboards, and mold on the walls, and holes in the ceiling. 2. One of the head peace-keepers came to visit and asked why our District looked so desolate. We told him we did not have permission to get new supplies, and he went behind President Snow’s back and told us to make an order. Only a few days later did we receive a call from the same head peace-keeper to say we were likely to be punished for making the order.

Occasionally I had the opportunity to visit other Districts, some which were healthy and close to the Capitol, and some which were struggling just like 12. I tried to learn the secrets to flourish in Panem, but discovered that it was simply ruled by nepotism, racism, and completely irrational and just plain bad business practices. So naturally I rebelled.

It was subtle. Planting seeds of rebellion and movement among the other Districts, primarily. Pointing out the injustices forced upon us, discussing ways in which we could seek freedom as peacefully as possible. Note that I was not trying to stir up a war here. Just trying to help some changes happen, and seek equality for District 12.

Occasionally I would vigilante some supplies from other Districts, like I’ve already discussed previously on the blog. But nothing noticeable or extreme. But I did not go unnoticed by the ever watchful President Snow.

On Monday last week I was told that I would not need to come back to District 12 after the end of the week due to and overpopulation problem in Panem, and the fact that I’d be leaving to visit my family for three weeks for Christmas. That was it. A swift and precise execution.

To be honest, I have no idea if my little rebellions were noticed by President Snow or not. Most likely, because tourist season has slowed to just short of a halt and President Snow isn’t bringing in as much money as he’s used to, it means he also doesn’t want to pay out as much money as he used to, and I was an easy target since I was going to leave for three weeks.

Unfortunately, this also means that I have no way to sustain myself in Edinburgh until my visa expires. And to prevent complete destitution, I’ve made the decision to not come back once I go home for Christmas.

Thus, my week has been unexpectedly insane. I’ve been trying to tie up lose ends and spend time with my friends here as much as possible. I’ve hardly slept for days, but it’s worth it to enjoy my last ten days living in Edinburgh to the maximum.

Some of you may be wondering – what will happen to this blog I’ve come to love about an American student living in Scotland? Never fear. When a writer writes something good, it often takes on a life form of its own, as this blog has. This has become a blog of adventures, film critiques, and amusing musings, and those won’t stop just because of some American soil. In fact, it’s recently been brought to my attention that I’ve been to equal amount of US states as I have European countries, so I’ve decided to shift my focus to exploring my own native land (until my financial famine takes a turn for the better anyway). So starting on December 9th, I’ll be writing to you from the Home of the Brave, hopefully with some equally interesting facts and theories on life.

This coming week I will explore as much of Edinburgh as I can and hit all the great things I’ve managed to miss for the past 15 months. So my posts about Edinburgh are not over.

I actually need to catch up and tell you about my two days I spent in London this month, and probably should write about Mockingjay Part 1 as well…so be back shortly.


2 responses to “I Did Not Survive the Hunger Games

  1. Bahaha great post!
    Sorry about your predicament. I’m in London myself at the moment and I must admit I’d forgotten how much it costs in the UK. Staying afloat is getting harder and harder these days.
    Best of luck xo

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