Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012

Gulnara followed up on her word and called me from the rental agency indicating she was getting the list of available flats and sending out the driver to pick me up at 10:30. She also advised me that Lingua was picking up the tab for the 1500 soms fee as part of their agreement as a host institution. She had already contacted Elvira to meet me at the agency at the agreed time. I was glad I had gotten up very early, had had breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen completely.

It was very cold, around -2 Fahrenheit, when I stepped to the curb to wait for the taxi. We picked up Elvira and a young woman from the Salut agency before heading to the first showing, an older apartment close to where I was living. I didn’t like the looks of the dark, unsecured staircase and none too impressed with what they called a “remodeled” flat since everything in it was old, dark and dreary. The apartment was incredibly small and there wasn’t even any power on to be able to appreciate the bathroom, which was in total darkness.

I then learned that the agency only had three flats to show me as the other ones had already being taken and they didn’t get many units located on the top floor as I had requested. The next one showed more promise as it had a separate room that could serve as an office, but no separate dining area. The young woman who owns it agreed that if I were to rent it long term, she’d be willing to make improvements to it. The unit was on the third floor of three-story building and had a gas stove with an oven. Moreover, I liked the fact that he owner spoke English and seemed easy-going.

The apartment resembled the one I had rented in Dushanbe in the fact that the bathroom consists of separate toilet and tub area and then there was the kitchen, living room and bedroom. The unit has tall ceilings, but really small radiators to cope with all that space. The kitchen was outdated and had no microwave and the TV set most have been around for at least twenty years. The owner agreed to purchasing a microwave and bringing in a flat-screen TV once we had sign the rental agreement and I had paid two months in advance. We had agreed on a $650.00 rental fee.

We went back to the apartment to get my things and were able to fit most of it in the car except for the desk, which needed to be taken apart. Elvira had to go back home and the driver and I returned for the second trip while also waiting for the landlady’s agent to come and collect the rent and payment for the utility bills. Once that was accomplished, we made the last trip to the new place and I was left alone to cope with the cleaning of the kitchen which seemed to have been used by the Miss Piggy family as every surface was covered in dirt or grime. I had no luck in making the tub look any better as the surface seems to be pitted and is simply beyond redemption.

There were lots of old broken kitchen items that needed to be discarded, and I placed those in a bag to deliver to the owner tomorrow when she comes to sign the rental agreement. I’ll be making a list of the things I really need and just hope she’ll be amenable to purchasing them.

Am I happy now? Not exactly as I’ve traded a modern beautiful apartment for an older unit with lots of work needed. On the other hand, I know I’ll have some peace of mind when spending time in this unit and that happens to be priceless. I’ll miss the view of the mountains from the kitchen window, the updated bathroom and open-floor plan, but I’m gaining more space, a bookshelf and two balconies to boot. Things could be worse.

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