Alert: This is a long post.
TL;DR: I moved to The Hague, briefly lived with a cat, didn’t like my first apartment, moved again, now love my apartment, and Marks & Spencer’s fitting room.
The company where I interned housed me in a hotel for the duration of my internship. It was quite fun accommodation, living with other interns on one floor, sharing a kitchen and living room, but having a decent-sized bed – and bath – room to yourself. Oh and not having to clean or worry about changing sheets, because that’s handled for you. But my internship ended, and I had to check out – only problem was, I didn’t have anywhere to go, and I could have moved to another room in the hotel, but there were no available studios.* I searched for houses on every decent (and free!) forum I could think of, and I did see some promising ones, but none was quite right – from the one whose requirements made me flag him as a potential rapist (unfair profiling, I know), to the one who wanted me to live with his family (no thanks, it won’t take too much for such a scenario to get weird). See, I don’t have a job yet, and I don’t know which city I’m going to end up working and living in, so I couldn’t go looking for homes with long-term contracts, so this significantly limited my pool of options. Meanwhile I was feeling guilty for staying past my internship period at the hotel, therefore I tried my best to lay low, so to speak. I found a house eventually, with someone who is currently away for summer and wanted to rent out her apartment for this period. Thing is, when we started speaking, she was already gone, and she didn’t think to take pictures of the bathroom before leaving, so I couldn’t see the bathroom. I’ve noticed that many people don’t think it is important to include pictures of the bathroom and toilet when advertising an apartment, they imagine if you fall in love with the room, everything else should be a breeze. Anyway, so there were no pictures of the bathroom/toilet, but she described them to me as ‘old, but not genuinely unclean’. And she said I didn’t have to pay or stay if I felt miserable there, etc, and I thought that was a bargain, so I decided to move in. Oh, I couldn’t go to check out the place beforehand because I live 3 hours and €56 away, so…
I moved out of the hotel the same way I moved in: I rented a car, and my friends helped me. I moved to The Hague, but because the keys to my apartment were still on their way to me from the UK, I rented an AirBnB apartment for 3 nights. My hosts were super nice (with such a cute 1 year old son!) and went overboard helping me settle in. They own a cat though, and this was my first time ‘living’ with a cat. One time I repeatedly made swiping motions of my hand near her, just to see her bare her fangs. One time she tried to swipe back, but she missed 😛
So, my keys arrived and I moved into my new apartment. The bedroom was fine, with an ensuite kitchen but shared toilet/bathroom. Everything was looking good, until I went looking for the toilet. My goodness. I am not going to torture you with the pictures I took, but that entire bathroom is a Final Destination movie waiting to happen. I scrubbed as best I could, but scrubbing cannot take the place of renovation, unfortunately. I tried to take a shower the next morning (after spending some hours psyching myself to actually enter the bathroom), and I discovered too late that the knob to change from ‘tap’ to ‘shower’ was broken. I cannot describe how I took a shower, but as soon as I got out, I sent a message to my ‘landlord’ to say that I would be moving as soon as I find a new apartment.
The good thing about that room (other than the ensuite kitchen and its huge size) was that it was 5 minutes away (on foot) from an African restaurant I found online. I went there, and for the first time in 2 years, I ate delicious (but expensive 😦 ) okro soup. Whoop!!
I found a new apartment in 2 days (and please don’t ask how I showered before I got the apartment. I prefer to erase such from memory). And it’s quite nice, and cheap too. I have only one flatmate, and he’s great, and the shared spaces are very clean. It’s almost perfect, really.
I went to the city center yesterday, and I entered H&M. H&M has been my favorite haunt in every city I’ve been, but it appears that in the 6 months since I had to live without them, – the city where I interned doesn’t have H&M – things have changed. I entered H&M yesterday and I did not like anything. Then I went into Zara and omigosh I wanted EVERYTHING!!!** Maybe this is one of the things that constitutes ‘growth’. I entered Marks & Spencer (I did not know that there was a Marks and Spencer in Netherlands!) and decided that any of their fitting rooms would be fine as living quarters for me 😀 Also, they have the most interesting***, well-packaged food collection in their food court. They have shortbread! And scones! And big bottles of cider. They want all my money 😦
I have an interesting thing to share today, rather than a favorite thing. The bell in this apartment is literally a simple bell. I have never seen that before.
Thank you for reading this far, I hope you liked at least one part of this post. À tout!
*Studios are rented out on a monthly basis in this hotel, so they are infinitely cheaper than standard rooms.
**That’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.
***Especially pastries and all those things you eat during tea. Dutch pastries do nothing for me.