Go big or go home…

Posts Tagged ‘housing

I assumed the trees outside our condo looked a bit scrawny because they were young. Turns out they were thirsty.

Before After
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Yesterday was slightly stressful, but by tea-time J and I had secured ourselves a place to live.

The process was rather portentous though. It all started to go wrong when I turned up at the bank to get a cashier’s order for the landlady (in lieu of a chequebook). I’d allowed half an hour for this task, surmising that few people could have urgent banking needs at 11am on a weekday.

How wrong I was! The queue moved torturously slowly, and I was 20 minutes late meeting my agent. She was good natured about it, but I did see her jaw set into a slightly harder line when I informed her that I’d also forgotten the letter of intent.

This document – meticulously filled out by J and I that morning, and still sitting neatly on our coffee table – was the crux of the whole meeting. It is signed by everyone involved, and means no one can back out without paying at least some damages.

“It’s ok,” the agent reassured me. “I have copies. You and the landlord can sign now, J can sign again later.” So we went up, met the landlady, lied cheerfully to her: Do you have pets? Nope. Do you smoke? Definitely not! Then the moment came to hand over the cash.

“Um, this should be a ‘G’, not a ‘Q’,” the landlady said.

Aaaarrrggghhh!

My agent drove me back to the bank, and deposited me in another hour-long queue. By the time I’d got the right cheque, with the right name on it, the simple task of meeting someone to exchange pieces of paper had occupied me for four hours.

It’s done though, the flat is ours! And the cheery optimist in me thinks that if things go wrong at the beginning they’ll only get better as we progress.

The flat is lovely – two bedrooms, two bathrooms, amazing views, little maid’s balcony. I don’t have pics yet, but here’s the project from the outside:

City Square Residences

City Square Residences

And here are some photos of the surrounding area.

We’re one week in and doing well. J had to go straight into work after a single day off, which must’ve been hella hard – he certainly had my sympathy. (Especially as I have been swimming, reading & sunbathing, basically being an expat wife layabout.)

In between expatting and laying about, I have been busy house hunting. This in an arduous task that means asking myself many challenging questions: is two tennis courts enough; how much space does a maid *really* need? That kind of thing.

I’ve been to about 20 viewings in the past week, ranging from enormous but ancient apartments with peeling paint and a surfeit of dark wood to ridiculously pert new-builds with bomb shelters (“Only 30 minutes drive to the subway, mam”).

We’ve settled on one and are putting an offer in today, but I don’t want to say anymore cos I’m superstitious and fear that committing my thoughts to paper might jinx the deal.

We got to see a bit of the city over the weekend. On Saturday evening, one of my best friends from uni’s best friends from school (still following?) took us to Newton Circus for satay and carrot cake.

Both J and I assumed they were talking about the sponge-carrot-creamcheese frosting version of carrot cake, yet neither of us questioned the pairing of high tea components with grilled meat and peanut sauce.

Turns out high tea has nothing to do with it. Carrot cake is kind of a radish (white carrot) omelette, and bloody delicious. We also had stingray – that was for you Fry, now there’s one less in the world for you to worry about.

After that we put away a bottle of shochu in a Japanese bar (the budgeting is going badly), then found ourselves at the quays watching a rather rotund transvestite cover 80s rock classics. We definitely didn’t sing along to Bon Jovi or Guns N’ Roses though, and wouldn’t admit it if we had.

On Sunday a Singaporean friend showed us round Chinatown, where New Year’s celebrations are still in full swing, and took us to dinner at a Korean restaurant where the food came in hot stone bowls (and J ate mushrooms :-ooooo).

Today has been more pedestrian – got a bank account, got a phone, got some work to get on with. On that front, I’m temporarily borrowing my soul back while I do a bit of freelance journalism, and also have a second interview with an ad agency on Thursday morning. Phew on both counts, looks like J might not get paid until the end of March!!

In other news, I still haven’t got bored of saying “Ah, it turned out warm again,” every morning when I step outside. Hopefully I will tire of this before J puts an end to it by punching me fatally in the back of the neck.

Hope you’re all well. I hear it’s snowing in London, bad luck!

Elle xx