June 13-June 30, 2016
I came back from China feeling unsettled. This feeling was off for me because usually when I come back from a trip I feel refreshed and happy to be back in Taiwan. After every trip my travel thirst is quenched and I’m ready to go back to work. I did NOT feel like that after Beijing. If anything, my travel thirst was worse! I started thinking a lot about what the next year or two could look like for me. (A future post to come on what I want to do.) All of this planning and processing was abruptly put on hold when I received news from my boss that our landlord was planning on selling Alex and I’s apartment February 2017. She so graciously offered us a six month lease, which I just took as an insult because then Alex and I would need to find a new home in January, and no one would be willing to offer us just a six month lease.
Thus, Alex and I got tossed into the deep end of apartment hunting in Taiwan, and with our apartment requirements including a kitchen in this metaphor I was sure we would drown. It had been so stressful and frustrating trying to find the current apartment; how were we going to find another one!? We also had the added complications of owning all of our furniture and an air conditioner unit.
First step, finding a new apartment. My boss, and everyone involved with helping us try to find a new place, did not seem to understand the urgency of our situation. Alex and I needed to move ASAP because we were both going to be very busy people in July. We were immediately searching online and having people call landlords and realtors. This is where the amazing productivity and focus of Alex’s friend Rebecca came in. She went with us to an apartment that was terrible. It was so oddly large that every little noise echoed in the apartment. We quickly left and Rebecca suggested we go to a realtor agency across the street. There, we signed up to look at an apartment the next day. Feeling a little better with Rebecca on our side, Alex and I went home. While we were eating dinner Alex received a video chat from Rebecca. She was in an apartment that had everything that we needed and it looked nice. We drove over to the apartment and we were sold! It had a large kitchen, and two bedrooms that both had their own bathrooms. With rent only $50 USD more than our current place we told the realtor we would take it. That was Sunday, June 19th. By Tuesday, June 21st we met with the landlady, and her son, and signed the lease. Thanks to Rebecca’s overall persistence and helpfulness we were able to find a new apartment in one week!
This is where the REAL frustration began. The “take-your-time” attitude our landlady and my boss had before we had a new place to move to immediately turned into a “okay, so you will be out by June 30th” response after we found a new place to live in. That gave our new landlady five days to get the new apartment ready for us to move-in and for us to move out of our old place.
I hired some movers and Alex and I put our furniture and air conditioners online to sell. We started packing on Sunday and moving on Monday, June 27th. Our furniture was moved on June 28th and we cleaned our old apartment on June 29th. On Thursday morning, June 30th, we met with the realtor and old landlady. They looked at the apartment and gave us our full deposit back because we had cleaned so well. (This was great news for me because Alex had been paying for everything since I had sent ALL of my money home the week before the apartment fiasco began. I really do have the best roommate!)
I think the biggest frustration for me, and Alex too, was the reactions and comments I was getting from my boss, the old landlord, and maintenance guy. When we had moved into the old apartment the landlord wouldn’t buy us air conditioners, so we asked this maintenance guy to find us used ones. He didn’t and he ended up installing a brand new air conditioning unit into the apartment. Throughout this whole process we were going to have to pay the bill. When we moved out the old landlord wouldn’t buy them back from us and neither would the maintenance guy (even though he said he would). Lesson learned! Trust nobody when it comes to air conditioners. No one saw this as a problem, and then when I was asked what I wanted to do with them I said, “take them with us, of course. Where else are they going to go?”. So then it became a hassle to get them uninstalled and try to sell them. I had a second-hand shop come and assess them. They offered us 3,000NT (100USD) for the whole unit and I told them to leave. I was so insulted. To get the air conditioners uninstalled was 3,000NT (100USD). By this time I was sooo ready to be done with this maintenance guy and hope to never see him again. Finally, on Saturday, July 2nd the air conditioners were brought to our new apartment and we were free to sell them as we pleased. Goodness!
To add on top of everything I had to do all of the communicating through my boss, who is already busy enough at her JOB, and have her make all of these phone calls for me. I’m sure the last thing she wanted to do was deal with apartment drama with me, again! Despite my frustration with the situation, that kind of got taken out on her, I am grateful she even made the phone calls for me. She could have said no, but she didn’t. Alex and I will definitely be giving Patricia and Rebecca a ‘thank you’ present for all the help they provided to us.
Completely moved and set-up in our apartment; Alex and I could finally breathe. We were in our new apartment and loved it. We have gotten the best sleep since we moved in. Our landlords are great! The son can speak English, so I can speak directly to him. So in the end it all worked out okay.
Here is to happy living and one more year in Taiwan!