March 23, 2008

The new place

I haven't written as much lately as I might have, due to not having an internet connection in my new house. But I wanted to write about how it's been going...

I moved in on March 8. Thanks to help from Steven, Natasja, Laura, John, and a co-worker, Marinella, it all went quickly and smoothly. I had the usual first few days of feeling weird in the place, not being used to it, not feeling like it was home yet, but I'm pretty much over that now.

I had a lot of stuff to buy for the apartment, since it's unfurnished. I especially focused on getting kitchen things since I wanted to be able to cook properly. I have most of the necessary things now, and I think that helps make it feel more like home, that I can cook in a nice, clean environment, especially when thinking back to all of the lousy hostel kitchens I tried to cook in while I was travelling, not to mention the kind of scuzzy kitchen in the house I lived in in Melbourne. One very good thing about the house is that the entire place was renovated a little more than a year ago (my apartment is in a large house that's been divided up into 5 living spaces), so all of the appliances and fittings are very new, it doesn't feel like some ancient, moldy, dirty place that has seen decades worth of tenants. So I have a lovely, shiny gas stovetop and a shower that works well and nice tiles and all of that.

It is missing a few things though, which has made me sometimes wonder if I should have taken this place after all. I was very disappointed to see that the kitchen didn't have an oven, especially since I told myself that, above all, I wanted to be sure to have an oven. Then it turned out that the little fridge that was here belonged to the guy living here, not to the apartment, so I had no fridge when I moved in. Also, there isn't a hook-up for a washing machine, though all of the other apartments in the house have one, so I need to get used to going to laundromats.

The fridge issue has been solved though, that was a top priority and my new fridge arrived on Thursday. I promptly went out Friday and bought all sorts of food I couldn't have before. It has a little freezer section as well (a proper 4 star freezer, not one of those cold shelves that can hardly make ice). I need my ice cream in the summer! The oven issue will have to be solved later, I'll get one of those combi microwave things which kind of scare me, but I want both a microwave and an oven, so that's what I'll have to get.

Apparently getting a washing machine hook-up may be possible, but my landlord's gone AWOL and no one's heard from him in about a month. I'm hoping he's just on a long holiday. He still hasn't signed my contract and I haven't been able to talk to him about anything, such as the washing machine hook-up and an internet connection.

It'll be awhile yet before I have all the main things I'd like to get for my place, but it's getting there and it does feel more like home. Like I said, having a good kitchen, for me, makes a big difference and that's pretty well taken care of now. I'll have to post some photos soon, even though the place is still a mess with boxes and suitcases in the middle of the room...

March 7, 2008

The universe is determined not to let me have a proper kitchen

In my new place there are a couple of key items I need to get for my kitchen. One I already knew I wanted to get, a combi oven thingy. But then when I got the key this week, I found out that the little fridge that was in the apartment didn't belong to the apartment, it belonged to the guy renting it, and he took it with him. So now, even more urgently I needed a fridge, and most of this week I've been looking into buying one.

I found a small fridge last weekend that I liked and I thought I had found a great place online to buy it from: they didn't charge a delivery fee, the fridge was cheaper from them, and you could pay up to 3 months later with no charges or interest added. But just as I decided to order from them I realized it wasn't the right model and they didn't actually have the one I wanted.

So today I went back to the store I had looked around in last weekend with the plan to buy the fridge from them. But they didn't have the one I had seen. Crap. But that's ok, there was another one I decided to get that was similar and a bit cheaper.

The store was offering a buy now, pay later thing where you could pay up to 6 months from now with no charges and no interest. Perfect! I thought, in that case, I'll also buy a combi oven and have my kitchen pretty much sorted straight away and not have to pay for it for awhile! Yay!

A guy helped me out and started taking all my details. They needed quite a lot of info for the pay later scheme and he entered it all and then the computer checked if I was approved for it. And I wasn't. I don't know why. Maybe because I didn't have income for awhile, maybe because the guy spelled my last name wrong, I don't know why, but after all that and after me imagining having proper appliances in my kitchen already when I thought I'd have to wait a couple of months, I was so upset to be rejected by the bank.

It was back to just buying the fridge since I can't afford the oven as well right now and my only option was to pay either now or when it's delivered. So we made arrangements for the fridge, which I had to have planned for delivery in a couple of weeks so it's after I get paid again. I asked if I could pay by credit card, then I could have had it delivered sooner, but they only took Visa and American Express, and I have Mastercard. Who doesn't take Mastercard?! The guy told me they have to pay high fees for Mastercard, so they don't accept it. Aaaghhh... So I couldn't even do that. I left having purchased a fridge at least, but I still felt very deflated. I don't know how I'm going to eat for the next couple of weeks.