Welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries. Link up your travel and expat stories below and be sure to visit other bloggers. The next link up will take place on Thursday, December 5th.
Today I’m going to discuss our adventures with corporate housing. Why? Because living in different places all over the globe is hilarious… and also a pain in the ass. I’m sure other expats can relate when I say that we’ve seen (and heard) everything. We’ve now been living out of our suitcases for the past couple of years and here are just a few of the funny situations we’ve encountered.
When we first moved to Scotland, University students were flooding the city so it was difficult to find a flat. Therefore we lived in a small hotel room for a couple of weeks while we tried to find something to rent. Like I mentioned in a previous post, this process was funny because we literally had to run to the leasing offices after showings. The fastest person usually won (I should have participated in cross country in high school), and even if you offered more money per month, they wouldn’t accept. Not only were we slower (I blame beer calories) but we were Americans, so the odds were not in our favor. After weeks of viewing way too many places, we finally found a small flat next to a famous pub so we were happy.
When we moved into our new flat, my allergies went nuts. I was popping Claritin like an addict and we found out that this was due to the two inches of black mold in the spare bedroom and bathroom. We called the leasing agent and for the next couple of weeks, a nice Scottish man frequented our flat to make repairs. Seriously, it took him two weeks to remove mold and paint because he talked the whole time. He was the nicest guy but he would show up unannounced and that’s not cool when you’re in the shower. After six months of living in this little moldy, damp, smoke-filled flat, we decided to take off.
The main reason we moved from our city center flat was to find a bigger place with a garden for the dog — Oh, and to find a home without black mold covering the walls and ceiling. We had always loved our friends’ place on the other side of town, and since they were moving back to the States right when our flat lease ended, we called the office to negotiate. The owner of the unit agreed to allow us to have one dog on the property as long as we paid a little more per month. Done!
On the weekend after we moved in, the weather was beautiful. We were busy organizing the house and playing with Malcolm in the yard when someone knocked on the door. It was our upstairs neighbor who shared the garden with us. B answered and right away our neighbor started scolding him, insisting that the backyard was for “human use only” even though our contract stated otherwise. B explained to the neighbor that the owner of the flat and the leasing office approved our request for a dog. Neighbor started swearing and finally retreated back to his flat. About twenty minutes later, there was a knock at our door again and it was him. He went on and on and on about the yard and how dirty pets are (even though we cleaned up after Malc every single time) and showed B his contract for the backyard which was pointless because it didn’t say anything about pets not being allowed — umm? He retreated once again and then sent his wife down to do his dirty work. She brought a document that he had printed out called the ‘Dog Fouling Act of Scotland’. She basically told B and that they didn’t want Malcolm stepping foot in the backyard, and threatened to contact people because it was unsafe for their children. Unsafe? Malcolm is a fluffy nugget that loves children! Finally, we agreed that we would buy a stake and leash to keep Malcolm close to our door. This made me sad because Malcolm couldn’t go Westie crazy in the grass.
The next annoying neighbor I will be discussing lived on the opposite side. Thankfully we didn’t share a yard with her, but we still dealt with her odd ways nonetheless. She owned a black Ford hatchback and every day after she parked her car on the street, she spent almost forty minutes buffing and waxing it with one of those clothes you see on informercials. If you happened to be walking on the street, she would stare you down and scowl. She also felt the need to watch my husband from either the street or her upstairs window when he returned from work, and semi-stalked and yelled at one of the women in my expat group. The woman in my group parked in front of my flat (it’s open parking so it wasn’t a big deal) and crazy neighbor #2 started screaming and waving her hands. She then walked up to the car and said, “I’ve never seen your car in this neighborhood. Why are you parking here? You need to leave.” Expat woman told her that she was stopping by my house to pick up a dehumidifier we had just sold to her and said she would be quick. Crazy lady got upset and asked, “Are you really going to be quick? I’m going to watch you!” She then stood on the sidewalk with her arms crossed and watched my door until the expat woman left and then stomped back to her black Ford to buff it some more — in case she missed a spot.
We also went through around four or five recycling bins when we lived in that flat because someone kept stealing ours. And that was Scotland…
I won’t say much about Arizona because honestly, it wasn’t that bad. A bunch of college students lived around us so they like to party and knock on apartment doors in the middle of the night, but the location was convenient and I was able to foster 4 dogs and adopt 2 others — one for us and one for my younger brother. The office never found out. Muahahaha.
The worst part was packing up our apartment to move to Florida because they picked up a water-filled iron and threw it into a box (this belonged to corporate housing) and mixed my nice DSLR with shoes in a box. They just had no idea what they were doing.
I think Florida may have been the worst because our upstairs neighbor was a creep and he liked to look in our windows while Brandon was at work. My desk was right next to the window and he would startle me almost every day. When I went outside to walk the dogs, Malcolm and Ollie would bark at him and I’d have to hold the little buggers back and one day, his car was parked in front of our window and it was seriously steamed up. Like… was he in there? Needless to say, I started closing the blinds.
And I still have nightmares…
Our next door neighbors really like to smoke weed — and they don’t open windows. I text Lisette almost every day when the hallway fills with smoke, and every day I tell her I’m going to call someone. I don’t though because I really like the neighbors. And I don’t like it when people hate me.
There’s also an old lady down our hallway who’s strange. She likes to slam her hands on my door and scream at the dogs while I’m home. She calls them stupid and tells them to shut up, and then Malcolm and Ollie get nervous and end up barking at everything for the next two hours. It’s fun. Last weekend she left a note on our door asking about the “lost dog”. She would like to purchase the white dog from us because he would be a great companion for her. Malcolm hides under the bed now.
As for us? I’m sure people probably think we’re odd. We talk to our dogs in baby voices and have dance parties on the regular.
Have you ever lived in corporate housing?
Filed Under: Expat