Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Nightmare before Hallween

     Today I cried twice, but before I tell you the trail of my tears, I need to start at the beginning. The beginning of a very windy roller coaster. Actually, as much as I allow you all to only see my life through rose colored glasses, the whole time I've been here has been full of so many ups and downs. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, just getting all the details out there for the peeps who really want to know what has been going on.

        So this post was about me finally moving into my apartment after a horrendous time piso hunting and a million doors slammed in my face. Needless to say that when I first got in here it seemed to be really great. The owner of the piso, Fina, is from Galicia, so she hired a lady from Chile, Carmen, and her son Alberto to man the fort while she's gone. When I first came into look at the apartment with my AArmy BFF Brittany, Carmen and Alberto said that Fina was hardly ever home. She would only be in the apartment maybe 1 day out of the month to collect the money, and then bounce. turns out that isn't the only piece of information wasn't the only half truth given during the quick check out the house then sign the contract encounter cause we know you're desperate encounter. 

You see, despite what this post, or what my blog may portray, I am a very non-complainer, non-confrontational person, as unhealthy as it may be...I'm just an avoider. So when all was said and done and I moved into the apt, which they said they would clean every week, when it wasn't prestine, I just kinda went with the flow. You know, scrub the shower quickly, jump in and jump out as quick as possible. The microwave and oven are disgusting? Well looks like cereal and sandwiches for me.... As Brittany reminded me when we came to look into the apartment, that we've lived in much worse living conditions...(cucarachas in PR) So I just went on dealing with it. 

Aside from cleanliness, there was the also lack of privacy. Remember when I said Carmen and Alberto said Fina wouldn't be there hardly at all? Well The month that I was there she was there all day everyday for about 2 weeks. Carmen and Fina themselves pop in whenever they like, supposedly coming to clean or fix things (which in turn would take an hour or so, but they are there like 5 hours just hanging out, and Alberto smokes).  Not only are they coming over, but all of their friends/relatives, at whatever hour they wish. So what do I do if I don't want to interact with people in my own house? Just stay in my room until the coast is clear, again I'm not one really to speak up if it's uncomfortable, so to avoid conflict...just deal with it....

So even though things weren't ideal I was getting by, going back and forth to work, sleeping, and checking out things in the city. Then 4 more people moved into the piso (my first thought-YAY FRIENDS!!) and this is where things really were looking up. 4 of us clicked really well. It was me, 2 guys from Mexico and a girl from a different part of Spain. We went out to different things, improv shows, dinner, a soccer game. So at that point in time I was really happy, what was seeming like a very solid group of friends with similar interests, and a good atmosphere at home...well that was only that week. 

The roommates started talking, and we were all sort of in agreement that the conditions in the apartment were pretty gross (despite having someone who "cleans" once a week).  So we compiled a list of things that we wanted to talk to Fina and Carmen about including, the cleaning, putting chairs at the table in the living room since we all have some kind of work/studying to do, and the chairs in our rooms (aka foot stools), our privacy...etc. 

Before we were able to have this meeting one of the Mexican guy roommates decided to leave because he was just fed up with the bedbug problem we had. (Yes bedbugs... :-/). The thing is the ladies wouldn't believe us there were any problems. When I told them I was getting bit, they said let me see. The thing was that my bites were not in places I felt comfortable disclosing to just anyone...especially creeper Chilean son. AND the principle was that if I was saying that I was bitten I shouldn't have to prove to them it's happening, I'm not just going to make up stuff for no reason...

Well these two ladies come out with their claws saying that we didn't have any right to do this, that they left everything clean for us and it is up to us to maintain it (which we were fine with if they gave it to us clean), that  the chairs didn't matter because you can't eat that the dinner table (yes, you read that right....) Then they started putting all of these other rules that we can't bring people over to our place, especially not for lunch since she pays the water and the gas (umm... no I pay 420 euro for a pay that with my money...) That if we bring someone to spend the night that it's 20 euro a night (yes you read that right again...) so for my sister, cousins, hermanas, or other auxiliar friends who are counting on me to have a place to stay for them, I can't really open my house to them graciously, I have to charge them 20 euro for this place which we can now call barely tolerable.) 

Then they came out with well, if you wanted to have your own rules, then you should have rented an entire apt for yourselves, but here you rented a room and that's all you have the right to govern over. So I told them, well if it's my room, and that's what I'm paying for If I want someone to come stay with me, IN MY ROOM, and sleep on the same bed, then that shouldn't be a problem. And they said no...that bed is too small for two people. And I said, well if that person and myself make the decision to sleep uncomfortably on that bed, then that is no concern of they retorted with fine,decide if you  to do that, they can't use the restroom or eat breakfast here because that uses water and gas (REALLY?!) On top of it all they wouldn't really let us chime in a word. Sonia (the Spanish roomie) was kind of the voice for us, even though we all agreed with what she was saying. The argument ended with them saying that the guys were coming to fumigate the place tomorrow so we couldn't be in the house between 11am-3pm

So the next day roomies and I decided we were moving out, and began piso hunting, which was a lot easier as a group then solo. We found a perfect spot, and we were ready to go. We were confident together we would be able to get our deposit back, and even if we had to sue. 

The next day which was the beginning of the long weekend here in Spain, my friend Marii from CSUN who is studying in Granada, came to Madrid, then we went to Leon together, and back to Madrid....Well with the atmosphere that my house was in I felt soo guilty having Marii stay in a hostel which would have been the same cost and wayy nicer than my place. I met up with after she got off of her bus ride, and hung out for a while (also dealing with her roomie being pickpocketed), and headed home to find my room had been sealed off due to fumigation...(remember they said only 11-3?) Well we went to talk to the landlady, Fina, to get our deposit back, and she said that she's never given a deposit back in her life (even though we know she gave it back to our first roomie who moved out), then she moved her story that we have to give her atleast a month to get the money together, when we accepted that and asked for it in writing she said she wouldn't that her word has value...THEN she came out with we'll only get our deposit back when we rent out our room to someone else...and when we asked for that in writing, no go either...then I asked her to undo my room since my computer was inside She said too bad, I would have to wait until tomorrow...

Well...the next day I had to go to Leon, without my own toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, socks and shoes. All I had to take with my was the clothes I had started to back in my backpack to go and the going out flats I had on my feet. So I bought socks at the bus station and hoped for the best. Just as I expected I ended up with a bad blister from the shoes, which made my trying to enjoy my mini vacation very difficult. Luckily at the pharmacy they had some band-aids that made it better. 
Also during the trip I made a phone call to Sonia to check to see how things were going and it turns out that things made another turn for the worst, another drop. Her dad had called her to say that her grandpa was sick and that she had to return home, leaving the new apt we had already picked out and such for a loss, and we were still there with las brujas. 

So when I came back from Leon, Sonia left with her father and her deposit, and the battle still continues for me. In an effort to compromise I talked to Fina and told her I'd stay the month of November and that would be my deposit, so when I leave she doesn't have to give me anything, and that was no-go as well. Then she started to tell me that I can leave as I please but if I do she'll just go to the embassy to complain, because we can't just sign contracts and then not finish them. She called me an idiot to my face for "following the lead of that rebelious girl" who was only trying to take advantage of me and called us idiots in front of our faces. When I told her that's not what she said, she told me, well maybe it's because you're not from here, and you don't understand things so clearly, but I am from here and that's exactly what she said....

So we left it off as if I find someone to replace me then I get my money back, their deposit, is my deposit...even though it's hard for me to think to subject someone to these people....but as my friend Jessica said, you gotta be looking out for yourself and not for others all the time, cause there isn't someone looking out for you." So despite my conscience eating at me, I posted an online ad for the room. 

I got a few hits for it, and one guy came to see it was really interested and said he was moving in. This was on Wednesday, and I had to work on Thursday, so I told him to come on Friday and they'll make his contract, and he can move in then.... On Thursday night I was freaking out because all of the hostels I was looking at were all full, but again Jess to the rescue and I found the place that I am currently pouring out my mini novela. Friday Morning I get a text message from the guy saying if it was fine if he moved in at 3 pm, I told him that was perfect, and I got to work moving ALL my stuff to the hostel, and after 3 trips I did it. 3pm I was at the place waiting for the guy, gave him a call (no answer), 4pm, another call and a text (no response), 530, & 7pm, no response either.

   So back to round one, putting up the ad again and getting it filled. Now the thing is I have to find another apt, and another deposit, and just like how I said in a previous post....I wish my problems were Mo' Money. So that's when I called my mom today to tell her I'd most likely need to borrow more money from her. That's when the first tears started, I know we're not in the best shape and my lack of judgement and falling for a crappy illusion of a place has effected other people. Throughout all of this turmoil I hadn't cried, but today I couldn't stop the tears they just came out of me like a broken levee. 
I had to pull myself together, and call the places I'd found online, and start the vicious piso hunting process all over again. Much like i expected, half of the people either didn't answer or didn't take down the ad when they rented it. I found one that was right across the street from my first auxiliar friend I made, right around the corner from a metro stop, and a few stops closer to work. After making some calls, I finally got through and made an appointment to see the place its a 5bedroom 2 bath rented by people my age who 4 friends who found a better deal with 5 rooms. They kind of interviewed me to see if they wanted me to live with them, and said they'd be calling me back if I got it....well... I DID!! Tears of joy came out flowing from me as things slowly get back into place.

So after all the turmoil, there is a mini breath of fresh air, I'm still battling for my deposit, but like my tia told me, it's another life lesson to but in my backpack for life. Hopefully now I can stop being so worried and actually start enjoying this life I've been given.

If you've made it this far along with me, THANK YOU. I wanted to share these things with you all sooner, but I also don't want to worry my loves that are so far away either. 

Leave the love <3



  1. aww cathy i am so happy things are coming along well i love you take care of yourself >333

  2. I can definitely relate, my first month I got kicked out of my first piso for coming home too late (really the reason), had to leave the second because when my key broke in the door, my roommates refused to come home to let me in for more than a day (spent that night wandering around til i could find somewhere to stay). after 1 month I had stayed in 10 different places based upon places I was renting and people being nice enough to help me out. a month later I have been in my new place and couldn't be a better situation. I feel you, there is light at the end of the tunnel

  3. Aw, SISSY!!!! I love you!!! I feel so bad, but I'm glad things are coming along, I gots some CASH MONEY if you need it! I got your back. I hope these new roomies work out to be as good as Beyla and that group of roomies was to you! You gotta go through the bad to find better... YOU GOT THIS! I'll see you soon :) I love you! <3 <3 <3


  4. hey glad things got better! <3 IM so sorry you had to deal with that nonsense! KEEP YOUR HEAD UP! <3 mitzy l. :D

  5. Your experience sounds horrible-- I'm so sorry! Stay strong and know that your landlady has no legal basis for the majority of the stuff she told you. I hope your new place works out and that if you need anything feel free to contact me through my blog... I'll try my best to help you out! Stories like this one make me so angry with the people here abusing foreigners...

  6. Oh my goodness, I cannot believe that happened to you.... some people are ridiculous :( Sounds pretty terrible.... glad to hear that you found a new place.

  7. BIG!!! you are such a strong person and i admire that about you! I'm sorry that you had to move, but i wouldn't want you to be living in those places. You deserve better! <3 I miss you and I always talk to the rookies that my BIG is in Spain and doing great things! we decide on littles today, I've thought of 2 potential girls! I'm glad things are looking up, and if you ever need anything im here :D take care!

    Your little Andrea <3

  8. Cathy! I'm so sorry for all of that crap you're having to go through! I thought I was having it rough with not getting paid, but this is just awful! I'm so glad that you've found something else. Keep your chin up. You're right. You'll be that much stronger in the end :)