I just arrived home a few moments ago and once I came inside, closed my door, and turned on the lights, I turned around to see my living room. I actually clapped my hands with excitement as this is the first time in 7 months I have actually come home and felt like I’ve come home.
Earlier today, I went back to crapville to check and make sure I didn’t leave anything behind, and that it was left in good condition. As I looked around at the empty space, the great view of the lake, and the water stains on the wall, I just had to shake my head an wonder how I got sucked into that place. Remember, that was, at the time, the 28th apartment I’d seen and construction was just being finished. I think what sucked me in was that it was newly constructed and that it was the 5th floor with a great view. I didn’t look at the small details, mainly because many of them weren’t finished.
So this time around, I studied every crack and door frame, the flooring, the walls, the quality of the cabinets, the furniture, etc. And folks, I think we have a winner. I’m not all that crazy about living just two flights up from the owners, but they are kind and I think that it can provide a great cultural experience for me. They have two teenage sons who speak decent English and who were excited to learn that I had taught in Japan. During move-in day, they were still installing a few things, and even though I told them that anytime that day they were welcome to go in to finish up projects, the elder boy, Trung, would call my cell and ask if it was ok to go inside. Good start.
I haven’t unpacked everything yet, and I still need some pieces of unprovided furniture; a dresser in the bedroom, a guest bed, book shelves in the living room and possible more seating than what you see in this photo. But the thing is – I can’t wait to make my home in this apartment. I really, really like it and I am really looking forward to a long and happy time here.
I am overly delighted to have arrived at my very own home sweet home!!!
On the Bright Side,
I went by my new place today for a site inspection and was so pleased when I walked inside! The place is really coming together nicely. The furnishings come from UMA, which is a company run by the former IKEA owner/prez or such. It’s where I would have bought my furniture from anyhow, had it been up to me to choose.
I’m so pleased with the earth tones, and the style of the furniture. It’s casual and comfortable. All of my Japanese treasures will go nicely with this home and I am excited to finally unpack everything and put all my goodies in their proper place. They’ve spent the last few months in boxes and in suitcases, as I have been uninspired to do anything with them – more so because I’ve been afraid they’d get ruined in my leaky-walled apartment!
I had hoped to move in on June 10th, but you can see it’s not finished yet. My coffee pot is there, but a few things need to be installed or delivered and general cleaning needs to take place. My current lease expires on the 25th, so moving into my new flat on the 20th works out just perfect.
I came back from my appointment this evening and had to do a funky little dance and and “I’m out of crapville” routine in my kitchen. I am so outta here!!!!
On the Bright Side,
I wish I were hilarious enough to make this stuff up. But unfortunately, this photo is the reality of my life at the moment!
To put it in a nut shell…Big rain storm. Lots of wind. Crappy building. No over-hang on the roof to protect this back wall. More rain. Rain, rain, rain. Unsealed walls. Walls absorbed the water. Water came through to the inside of the house. So wet, it ran down the walls and flooded the floor. My maid (bless her) freaked out, but cleaned it all up and did good by putting all my belongings in the guest room.
I’ve ‘evacuated’ the master bedroom as it is so humid in there with those wet walls. I’m living in the guest room with all my belongings. Cursing the management for their lack of care in fixing this super huge problem. Laughing at them because the crew that came today did not install an over-hang on the roof, but simply put a sheet of metal over the corner of the roof. Not a permanent fix, but what the hell do I care.
Found a nice agent who will take me to look at more places this Wednesday. Found one house online that I really like. Hopeful. Will keep you posted. Too much drama to write this out like a normal person. Tired of this nonsense and so very ready to move on. I have so much work to do, I don’t have time to deal with the apartment drama crap! I really hope the house gods like me!
On the Bright Side,
Just thought I would let you know…I have an appointment this Saturday with an agent to look at some houses. I’m contracted and paid up until June, so that gives me a bit of time to hunt. I’ll keep you posted!
The weather forecast said there would be a thunderstorm on Tuesday. It just didn’t say that it would blow in at 4am! And that it did. The thunder was super loud and the lighting bordered on an electric storm. I don’t sleep well during storms anyway, the pounding of the rain didn’t help lull me to sleep!
I find it very strange that my first instinct was to pop out of bed and check for roof leaks. After the whole water heater incident, I clearly don’t have the greatest confidence that my apartment building is built soundly or with terrifically skilled workers.
Sure enough, with just a 45 minute storm, though it was a heavy downpour, several water spots appeared all over the house. I’m glad I thought to take photos, it came in handy explaining it to the apartment management.
I met the “technicians” on Wednesday morning. As it turns out, one was the plumber, which made me think that the crew didn’t understand that this wasn’t a pipe leak, but parts of the building that weren’t sealed properly. I walked through the house, showing them the photos and the location of each leak.
I also showed them that the window that they sealed up in the living room, wasn’t properly sealed on the outside of the building. I don’t know what the hell these people were thinking! I serve enough as a teacher in my work in hospitality, I just don’t have it in me to teach someone why the construction of a building is not strong enough! No one understood why I was knocking on the bedroom window seal, trying to explain that the area underneath the window is hollow. They couldn’t hear the difference in sound when I knocked on different parts of the walls!
Of course, the security dude who I’ve locked out by changing the locks, took his golden opportunity to explore my apartment, opening the bathroom and bedroom doors to take his peak everywhere. I should have yelled at him, but I’m somewhat fascinated by how curious he is about the apartment. He looked around and then went back downstairs.
I just couldn’t get over how clueless these folks were. They asked several times how the water leak started. Through the interpreter, I kept telling them the water came from the outside, from the storm. All the leaks are from the storm. Yet they still asked in a couple of locations if the water came from the inside. Umm…yeah. I threw water against the wall, and particularly near power outlets because I think it’s hilarious!
So, two scrawny little teenagers showed up this morning to get up on the roof and put down some more material over the bathroom. That part was easy. In the living room, another guy stood on a bucket on a chair and chipped away at the moldy part of my wall. You can see in the pictures that one he exposed the brick, there was even one big hole that was never sealed up at all! Yikes!
What ticked me off is that everyone planned to meet here Saturday and get everything done. But I was told that they would come back Thursday to paint and fix the outside of the building. I’m not happy about this. I hate having to arrange my schedule to be home. But they were not prepared to fix anything but the big hole in my living room wall. And I can’t do a damn thing about it!
I sent an e-mail to the management asking them why they weren’t prepared. It makes me feel better, but it is in vain.
Ms. Ngoc, our HR executive and I discussed this and the other things which have popped up since I moved in. She strongly encourages me to find a new place to live. Since Ericsson employees occupy the rest of the building, I think they would be happy to have one more unit in the same building. This would sure make it easy to break the contract. While there is a part of me which does desire a better living situation, another part is not willing to go through a search and a move. Yuck. what a pain in the ass!
What would you do if you were me?
On the Bright Side,
A window in my bedroom. A line formed and then the water just started dripping. You can see the wall opening was too big for the window and improperly sealed.
We Westerners sure love our space. And we adore privacy. We put a fence up around our homes and stick signs up to say KEEP OUT. At hotels, we have the option of letting everyone know that we do not want to be disturbed. Even on SKYPE, you can select a status of “do not disturb” which, frankly I wonder why someone wouldn’t just log off, but that’s a story for another day.
We value our personal space and privacy. As much experience as I’ve had and as much traveling as I’ve done, I still value it, too. But this is not the case in Vietnam.
As soon as I moved into my apartment, I noticed that while I was away at work, people, someone, who knows who, had been in my apartment while I was at work. I would return to opened curtains, new paintings hung on the wall, or a note left on my coffee table telling me that the internet was working. At first, I tried not to get upset, because I realized that they were simply trying to check on things and spruce the place up.
After the dust settled, though, I told the manager that no one needed to enter the apartment any longer, that I didn’t want strange people going inside. And me being me, I’d booby trap the place before I left in the morning so I would know exactly if someone had entered and where in the apartment they had been.
One day as I left for work, I was told that a maid would start coming to clean my house and that she would start that day. I thanked our receptionist but politely declined the service. I didn’t tell them I would use only someone I know and trust. When I came home that night, I knew someone had been in my house, but not a maid. I called the manager and expressed my displeasure. He assured me it wouldn’t happen again.
But it did happen again, not long after that and I had to have a face-to-face meeting with him to let him know exactly why it was unacceptable for someone I don’t know to go into my apartment when I am not there and when there is no appointment. He agreed that only by appointment or if I was home would his security or maintenance staff enter. I told him that if an unwelcome entry happened again, I would change the locks.
So everyday for a few weeks, I maintained my simple booby trap and would come home quite pleased that no one had been inside. That was until the Friday before I left for Berlin. The little piece of black paper was not in the door jam. I looked up and down and could not see it. My heart started to race as I put my key in my door and opened it. I could see the little piece of paper in the middle of the hallway. Someone had been inside.
I looked around everywhere, checked all my belongings, checked everything and then sat down on the couch and tried not to get angry. I wasn’t sure why someone had been inside, maybe something happened and there was a legitimate reason. But it felt SO VERY WRONG. I felt invaded, taken advantage of, all sorts of other horrible emotions. I mean – who came in? What did they do? What did they look through? Did they sit on my couch, watch a little TV? Before I got too worked up, I called Mr. Thien, the manager and asked him who had entered my apartment and why.
He responded that the security guard had entered the apartment because he needed to water the plants (I have a window box and a palm on my balcony). I explained that I water the plants every weekend and that in addition, the weather had been wet and rainy the entire week, so there was no need to water the plants. “Oh, I see,” was the quiet response. No apologies, no additional excuses. I asked him if the security guard had an appointment. “No.” I asked him if I was home when the security guard entered. “No.” So I reminded him of our agreement and he left me with, “It won’t happen again.”
You bet your sweet ass it won’t!
I had the locks changed. And I can’t even tell you the peace of mind it provides to know that no one can enter my home except me. I can’t wait for the phone call from Mr. Thien where he says, “Shanna, our security guard tried to enter your apartment today, but maybe you changed the lock.” And this will actually happen. And when it does, I’ll let you know!
On the Bright Side,
UPDATE #4: A new water heater has been put in. I was told that the only way to hold the damn thing up was to hang it by the “cables” and “wire” in the the manner you see in the photos. It had to be done this way because I’m on the top floor and they can’t secure it to the cement wall??? OK?
Today I came home to see how they repaired the roof. Essentially, they just slapped A LOT of plaster over the bad patchwork they did last week. And tomorrow they will paint. And then it’s a done deal.
I just hope when that thing snaps, I’m not in the shower!
UPDATE #3: Oh, I forgot to mention that I now get only 4 minutes of hot water. Yeah. That’s just not going to work…
UPDATE #2: Not only is the roof a mess, but my bathroom has a sweaty smell to it that is reminding me of the Seinfeld episode where he gets a smelly car back from the valet…remember that one? Yea, not so funny when that’s what your bathroom (the one next to your bedroom) smells like!
UPDATE: Round one of “Let’s fix the heater” is finished. This is the condition the heater and the roof was left in. The manager will come by my apartment tomorrow morning (or so he says) at 9am. Let’s see what happens next. I’m all for adventure, but this is not the fun kind, ne?
So….I’ve been working from home during Tet and at about 1pm, thought I would take a quick stroll around the neighborhood to see what people were up to and to see if the little market had opened yet.
Did see much of the neighbors, but scored with the market! Yes! The couple who runs it are super nice people.
I came home, put down by bag of goods, went into my room to put away my purse and noticed white little rocks on the floor, coming from the bathroom…and then all over the bathroom. And then I looked up and saw the heater coming out of the roof.
What the hell happened? The water heater just fell down? It didn’t burst because there is no water spouting out. It just looks like it tried to escape out the roof panel but got stuck! Yikes!
I’ve called the manager and sent him a photo from my phone. I’m waiting for someone to come fix it. Thank goodness I wasn’t IN the shower when this happened! Holy crap! I don’t even want to go anywhere near this thing, and I’m usually pretty good at fixing stuff!
I hope he/they/someone can come soon…..
On the Bright Side,
For anyone who has traveled through SE Asia, this is a familiar sight. I love these little geckos. I was delighted to come home tonight and find one tucked up near the corner of my living room wall. He was a tiny little one, not even as long as my index finger.
There must not have been enough bugs around – he was gone in the morning. Bummer. I hope he comes back.
On the Bright Side,