Landlady’s daughter: Hello! Maybe tonight at 21:00 Mamy come with new lessee. OK?
Me: OK, I’ll just go outside when they get here.
Me: So I guess nobody is coming tonight?
Landlady’s daughter: Hello! Yes, I think so!
Me: Sorry, they are coming or they are not coming?
Landlady’s daughter: No, they will not to come. It is too late.
Me: (Where’s the ‘sigh’ smiley…?)
That was last Wednesday and the beginning of the end in my old flat. On Monday, I signed a contract, handed over my life savings and got the keys to the new place. Excited, I went back to the flat with the intention of packing up the contents of my wardrobe before the big move the next day.
After filling three black sacks, I realised that I might need to go and buy more black sacks.
A little disheartened, I decided to stop packing for a while, and instead, do my first run with the already packed bags. A few people had mentioned to me that my new area was a bit dodgy after dark, so with that in mind, I waited until after dark to do it. My reasoning was that if I never saw it after dark, I’d forever be sitting in my flat, afraid to move, jumping at every little bump in the night.
So, dressed from head to toe in black (for added menace), I hefted two of the sacks over my shoulders, stepped out into the driving rain and trotted into the night looking a little like Santa’s ninja sister. Thankfully, that night, I was (by far) the scariest-looking person on the streets.
The next day, around half an hour before my friend came round to help me move all my stuff, I realised that I hadn’t really packed anything since the night before. I hurriedly started emptying my wardrobe into yet more black sacks. Unfortunately, I hadn’t got to the kitchen by the time he arrived.
Scotsman: Are you taking all this food?
Me: Yeah, I guess. Hmm, some of it might be a little bit out of date.
Scotsman: (rifling through my cupboard) May 2013 (bin), Feb. 2013 (bin), June 2012… really?? (bin).
Then he hit the mini-Christmas puddings that had been lurking in the back of my cupboard since Christmas 2011. My mum had sent me a ‘care package’ and I hadn’t had the heart to throw them out.
Me: Christmas puddings last forever…
Scotsman: Linda. They’re about to walk to the bin by themselves. (bin)
We eventually managed to get everything packed up and into a big heap on the floor. It was time for the first daylight run to the new flat. Now, bearing in mind that my friend is around twice my height and width, he could carry a lot more than I could. However, not wanting to seem weak and girly, I gamely picked up far more than I could realistically carry and headed for the stairs. By the time I got to the yard, I was a sweaty, breathless wreck but of course, I had to keep going. As a result, what should have been a 10-minute walk, took around 25 minutes as I had to keep stopping for rest breaks veiled in excuses – oh, give me a sec, I need to take off my sunglasses, etc.
Naturally, this time round, the hookers and junkies were out in force. But they seemed friendly enough, even shouting out comments every so often, which I took to mean ‘Hi, neighbour!’ Well, hello to you too, my friendly neighbourhood junkie!
We deposited the first load and headed back. At this stage, I couldn’t feel my arms any more so we decided to lug everything down to the yard and then call a taxi. And so, around 20 minutes later, with me wedged under a table in the back seat, we were off for the last time.
With everything dumped on the floor and my friend gone, I immediately got down to business – sitting on my sofa and calling Lattelecom, the TV and internet providers.
After 10 minutes of ‘All of our operators are busy right now, please hold’, I eventually got through to the cheeriest Latvian on the planet. I, however, was less than cheery when she told me that the earliest somebody could come to hook me up would be the following Monday. It seems that, although Latvia has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world, getting access to the damn thing isn’t so speedy. (Luckily, my new best friend in the world lent me her mobile internet thingy which is why I’m able to write this tonight.)
After that, it was a fun thirty minutes of ‘If I was a kettle, where would I hide?’ and then back to work. Until midnight. And the same again last night. So, I’m sad to say, the flat looks pretty much the same today as it did on Tuesday. I have, however, made a mental list of things I need to buy – a toilet roll holder, shelves, a bathroom mirror, more wardrobe space, a bedside table, superglue, hooks (lots of), a coat stand, a shoe rack, a draining board, another lock for the front door, light bulbs, wine (lots of)…
The previous tenant did leave me some interesting stuff though.
He (or maybe she) also had some interesting taste in interior design.
It’s a very comfortable armchair but if history tells me one thing, it’s that I won’t be spending that much time in the kitchen.
I also have a new flatmate.
He may or may not be alive. I’ll poke him with a sweeping brush tomorrow and find out.
But for now, it’s back to my main priority – remembering that the toilet is NOT in the same room as the shower and the sink…