I think most, no let’s say all of my issues living abroad have coincided with apartments. I’ve moved now four times, and soon to be a fifth in the span of ten months. A quick recap of my living situation is this: when I moved here I roomed with a friend from work for four months then we decided to part ways and find our own places. Thus commenced the month and a half search, 14+ apartment visits, and two moves in the span of a month and a half. I found an amazing place in the Madeline/Opera area for August with five windows (so nice for those crazy hot days) and a beautiful view but there was a bee and bathroom problem (luckily the two didn’t go hand in hand). Then I moved to what I thought would be my last place to live in Paris. A cute (but ridiculously messy upon arrival) flat right off the Champ de Mars. I loved the location. Things were good, and I had made it my own complete with new shower curtain, glasses, and a large assortment of cleaning materials.
Then there was the closet.
A closet located in the hallway with a red door and old fashioned lock.
Sounds innocent enough- what could a little ole 5m square storage closet do?
Drive me absolutely crazy for three months.
The girl I was renting from was storing some clothes in the closet. They happened to be winter clothes that she would like to get out because it’s well, cold. No biggie. Until you realize that the apartment concierge has the key. And the girl you’re renting from refuses to come by the apartment to take care of it herself, and instead asks you, yes me, to ask the concierge to open the closet.
I asked the concierge about 5 times to open the closet in horribly embarrassing French, to the point where my day brightened and darkened with the opening and closing of the closet door (pretty good analogy, eh?), especially when I realized the girl hadn’t come by to get her things which means I have to ask for the key again.
It kept getting worse and worse until three weeks ago it came to a crux, a ditch in the road so to say, lots of things lead to it but I was suddenly left with a message… I think I might take my apartment back.
I’ve had my heart completely drop three times while I’ve been in Paris. The first was several months ago, the second after getting this message and the next just one week after that.
I don’t like things being up in the air. I love spontaneity (sure! let’s go on a trip next weekend!) but when it has to do with basic needs like where I’ll be living in a week, I’m terrified. I like stability.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and to trust and believe that things will work out.
A call to my parents on Skype had us problem solving from three angles for 40 minutes. Then immediately after, a teary call with a dear friend. Midnight and another call from a friend who knows me so well that she knew I would still be awake.
I had countless offerings of places to stay and I’m so thankful for the support of my friends and family.
I didn’t want to move again but the stress of the apartment wasn’t healthy. I loved the location, the apartment wasn’t bad, but the drama was making my skin crawl.
And all because of a closet. un placard. I will forever remember that word with not so fond feelings.
Soon it was two days until I was to leave for England for the next two weeks for Christmas and New Years and I was flying on cloud nine. I’d had an amazing time meeting up with friends, shopping, and going to Christmas markets and Tina and I had decided to rent a place together for the last two months that I’m here, starting in mid-January when she returned to France. We’d found an incredible apartment with roof access and all that was left to do was tell my current apartment person that I was moving out.
The night before, I was packing and knew I couldn’t procrastinate anymore. With lots of help from Jenni and the Frenchman, we crafted a message for me to send her explaining that I had visa problems and had to return to the US mid-January when really I would be secretly moving to my next place. bahaha!
I sent it to her that night and didn’t hear from her. The next morning I was up at 4:30am to catch my 8am flight to Birmingham. Later that afternoon after tea and multiple “Do you have this in America? You should try it!” tastings, I checked my phone and saw a text from her.
The message- well this is an embarrassing situation. I might have to ask you to leave if I find someone to take the apartment on January 1st.
That would leave me homeless until the 11th and I had told her I would be moving out on the 13th. But thinking there was absolutely no way with just two days until Christmas that she would find someone, I didn’t respond.
It took just three hours and she had found someone. I was now stuck with 10 days without an apartment. Not to mention, I wasn’t supposed to be back in Paris until the 3rd. Jenni started texting her in French so there was nothing lost in translation and there was no leeway. I had to be out of the apartment by the 31st. If you hadn’t guessed, this was heart drop #3. And soon I was on the phone with my family sobbing and making those horrible gasping noises. My mom tried a true and tested mom-tactic, quickly changing the subject to try to calm me down and we talked about England and the ridiculously cute town I was staying in with Jenni and her family. Then it was back to the apartment, with a one hour strategizing session with ideas from every family member that started with my mom laughing, trying to lift my spirits, saying “You didn’t think it would be easy did you!” Well well! I guess I had? And I had been soo so wrong.
The first solution: I looked online and the apartment I was moving into next was actually available starting the 3rd. Perfect! And I could stay in Jenni’s place until she was back on the 4th. But it also involved me cutting my trip to London short and buying a last minute plane ticket to come back to Paris on the 29th. I’d somehow move all my things up four flights of slanting stairs into Jenni’s itty bitty (but mind you, ridiculously cute) apartment for a couple of days and then move into my new place before she got back. As I told Jenni, it would be like a little fairy had come and gone from her flat.
Sounds pretty horrible, right? Well it wasn’t meant to be. The next day I’d bought my plane ticket and was about to reach out to the apartment to ask if I could move in on the 3rd and it was now booked from the 2nd until the 10th. Which meant I was yet again homeless for 10 days. Noooo! It’s cold outside!!
Over tea, we had a lot of tea, I had an idea.
The second solution: I’d be missing a trip to London, but why couldn’t I take a impromptu trip from the 4th to the 7th? I would stay in Jenni’s flat until the 3rd when she got back from the trip I’d be missing in London. I’d be out of Jenni’s hair for a couple of days when she came home (a really good thing when we’re talking small studio apartment) and I’d be back in time for my internship that started on the 8th. Jenni and I would be sharing a single twin sized bed for four nights though but she assured me that we would make it work. Thanks Jenni!!!!!!
A couple blissful stomach aching from all the amazing food days later and I was on a plane back to Paris. I stayed up till 2am that night packing and listening to music as loudly as possible in hopes to annoy the neighbors a bit before I left. I ended up with two massive suitcases, two small suitcases, an oven, and several grocery bags of kitchen stuff I wasn’t parting with for the next two months. A message to Beatrice and I had a home for them for 10 days. yay!! 😀 I just had to figure out how to get them there especially because she was leaving the next day. A short chat with two French guy friends, Davy and Florian, and I suddenly had movers that had a car (super super exciting!). The next day I slept till 10 and then packed for a solid four hours. The guys reached out asking how much we were moving. A quick picture later and the storage location for my things had changed to one of their apartments. It’d just be easier they assured me. At two on the dot the easiest move in my Paris life commenced. The itty bitty elevator that fit two people was packed to the brim, Flo and I took the seven flights of stairs down with a couple of bags, loaded up his car and I ran upstairs to lock my apartment and grab my purse. Downstairs Flo tells me- why did you go get your purse! You don’t have to come, Davy and I will take care of it. What?! And who said the French weren’t nice? haha! I did get a message later than evening though telling me they had found a buyer for my things and would 300 euros be a fair price. haha!
The next day I was out of the apartment by 2 and after two trips lugging last minute bags (this always happens to me!) I was settled into Jenni’s. The next three days I spent holed up watching French TV and planning a super last minute trip. I can never make up my mind sometimes so the location changed about 5 times. Two days before I was set to leave I’d decided.
Hoping that Belgium chocolate and beer with a side of frites would cure my spinning head and aching back before move #5. 🙂