Sorry I haven’t blogged about anything in a long time, this is because we’ve had some problems.
Mandy and I finally found a reasonably priced, permanent place to stay. We both have our own room, well room, Mandy’s room is more like a broom closet (yeah, just like in Harry Potter). The house was messy and downright disgusting (De Smaakpolitie zou dit niet goedkeuren) when we moved in, however together with our Hungarian house-mate and her son we’ve cleaned the place and it looks liveable. It’s not perfect, but at least we have a roof over our heads.
We moved in last Friday, that’s when the problems started…
Gas and electricity are not included in the rent. It works with a pre-paid system, we have to put money on a card to pay for our gas. We’ve been told it was around 5 pounds a week, so we put 20 pounds on the card, however the machine only accepted 7.96 for gas, the rest of the money went to pay off a debt, because no one else in the house wanted to put money on the card, we ran out of gas on Sunday. One of our English house-mates called the gas company, since we’re a third party they couldn’t tell us anything about the debt. Because we didn’t have any gas we didn’t have hot water, so we couldn’t shower, and the house was freezing-cold. I basically had an emotional breakdown because this was not what I expected studying abroad would be like. We had to improvise with cooking, since we could only use the microwave and I had to sleep while wearing 3 layers of clothes. During the day we did everything we could to change this situation. Dave, our contact person at the University was very concerned, he was also very helpful and tried to help us in any way he could. He made sure we’re in touch with the right people and in case the situation would becomes any worst he made sure there is a back-up plan for us to stay somewhere else. Our house-mate had a chat with the property-manager since we had classes and Tuesday we finally had gas again. We could finally cook properly again, use hot water and the house finally had a comfortable temperature.
At least we have gas again, we still have to arrange things around that debt, because we don’t want to pay for someone else’s debt. The only positive thing about this situation is that Mandy and I really practised on our language skills, all those phone-calls, e-mails and conversations, trying to explain our situation and asking for help really tested our knowledge of the English language.