I hope you aren't lookin' for that thar fancy camera work...
The final moving update! Or at least the final one till I get paintings hung up and I do a furnished apartment tour (you know you want it.) It took me awhile for this. It is the final weeks of school which makes me insane, and I also managed to get some evil viral stomach bug that is going around. Yay, for being a teacher.
Moving day was INSANE. We had packed up the rest of the stuff on a Saturday, and the move was the next day. The movers were supposed to arrive at the old apartment at 9 in the morning. They showed up at 8:15. Fortunately, we were ready. Well, ready-ish. I was still in my pajamas, and we were eating breakfast, but we had everything packed up. They started hauling boxes at breakneck speed. Cue panic because I am supposed to be at the new place to open the door for them.
Have I mentioned that I now like in a sixth-floor walk-up? 105 stairs. And that it was 36 degrees (96.8)? We had to pay the movers a little extra, but I still thought for sure that there would be some whining. Nope. These guys were beasts. They had these packing straps and were hauling up the boxes three at a time. It was insane. While the movers were coming up and down the agent appeared with the internet guy, and within two minutes we had the internet! Significantly faster internet. Aw yeah!
There is something about having all of your possessions out in the open that really makes you question your rampant consumerism. Why do I have that many shoes? It also reminds me of why I own a Kindle. Having a Kindle means that I had four boxes of books rather than 400. Just when I start to think I want my thousands (not exaggerating) of physical books again... It just doesn't fit into my chosen lifestyle. *cue rolling your eyes at me
We paid by the truckload, and they were genuinely concerned that we would be angry that they couldn't fit all of our belongings in a single truckload. They also moved a bed from one room to another and finally moved the ugly couches out of the apartment. They managed to carry three huge pieces of furniture down twelve flights of stairs in less than ten minutes. It was amazing. When I paid them, after everything was finished, they wouldn't even let me tip them.
I have unpacked and put pretty much everything away, and so far it looks as if nothing was broken. Although, I haven't found my tube of painting/pictures. I wonder if it was misplaced in the move or if they were just put away (by me) in the new place never to be seen again. I will have to search for it this weekend now that we are all unpacked.
I never did find anyone to buy those hideous couches. I don't even care. In my head, the furniture that we bought to replace it was just REALLY expensive. #noregrets #seriouslynone
In the miracle of the day ten minutes after the movers left the IKEA delivery guys arrived. Somehow they got a king sized bed up these stairs. We threw money at the problem of assembly. I know that we could have done it. It isn't rocket science or anything. But getting it assembled for you is very cheap in China. We had enough to do with unpacking. We had nine pieces for them to put together and it took them less than two hours. It was impressive.
We had one random day of school and then the Tuesday off for Dragon Boat Festival. Don't question it. It is China. We were able to get about 85% of things unpacked that day, and then we picked away at it for the next week. As of now, we have everything put away. I have some organizing still to do. We have a ton of paperwork (you know the kind that adds up) that isn't in any particular order, and I haven't put anything on the walls yet. I have a week after school lets out and before we set out for New York and I should be able to get that done then. I'll keep you updated.
Contract Signing: A Timeline
8:00- emailing Housing Finance Officer to get confirmation about moving.
9:28- return email telling us that our landlord is too busy with the One Belt conference to let us know and that he will have to let us know on Wednesday.
9:29- I insist Housing Finance Officer nag until we get an answer. Six weeks is more than enough time to decide.
4:15 final confirmation that we have to move out of our current apartment.
4:20- We confirm with the agent that we want the apartment that we had looked at on Sunday.
4:25- Meeting set for 7:30 to sign contracts
7:29- We arrive and stand awkwardly outside as everyone is late.
7:45- The Agent (but not the one that showed us the place) arrives and informs us that we (not the landlord) are expected to pay his fee. 30 seconds before we are supposed to sign this contract for an apartment that works for us and that we will never be able to find again. Shady AF, yes.
7:45- Landlady arrived
8:00- Chinese legalese as the contract is gone through line by line. It is a standard contract from our school and the one from this year is pretty strict about the landlords throwing us out. We get four months rent and our deposit back if they break the lease.
8:15- I get them to agree to take out some of the random furniture. We can also replace light fixtures. Score!
8:25- OMG we are still reading through this contract.
9:15- bizarre conversation about the days that the rent will be paid.
9:30- Despite confirming a two-year lease the day before now the landlord wants one year. Nope. We argue and win.
9:25- Landladies husband arrives. He is nice and speaks English.
9:45- still filling out the details of the three copies
10:00- we finally sign the damn papers
10:15- awkward small talk
10:30- We can finally leave!
10:30- Agent texts that he has called Housing Finance Officer and that everything is okay
10:45- A meeting is arranged for 6:30
4:00- We get an email from Housing Finance Officer. Our agent had her put in an addendum which basically nulls the penalties for early termination of a lease.
4:01- I am in the HR office waiting for the Housing Finance Officer.
4:07- She finally arrived, and I might have yelled at her. Why would you change a contract after it has been signed! Enraged.
4:10- Her boss pulls me into his office to go over the event
4:20- angry text to Agent. Defensive text in response
4:30- still being soothed
4:40- more angry texts to Agent.
4:45- realize that it was mean to yell and apologize. All is well.
4:45- The husband arrives and is soothed as well.
4:50- soothing unsuccessful
5:11-Do we still want the apartment? Everything and everybody looks shady.
5:15- taxi to the bank to pick up the deposit. We will go to the meeting, and if it doesn't work out, we walk.
5:15- phone calls to friends to get advice. The consensus is that Agent is highly suspect.
6:30- meeting. Pissed.
6:45- ridiculous conversation about the dreaded fapiao (China's tax stamp that rules everyone's life)
6:50- Landlord finally realizes that we are about to lose it and decides that the addendum does not have to be signed. Relief.
7:00- Keys are exchanged!
7:01- We are in possession of a deposit reciept!
7:07- Endless small talk that has to be done in mime.
7:20- Landlord agrees that I can replace couches. Yay!
8:30- celebratory beer and burger.
10:30- I hand contracts into the Housing Finance Officer.
10:50- look for acceptable furniture online.
11:45- try to figure out how to physically move all of our stuff. There has to be a company for that, right?
7:00- pick up the extra sets of keys from Agent.
Next time on "Carsten and Tara have to Move." Packing, Cleaning. Does this mattress belong to us? Dragging boxes up a hundred stairs and throwing money at our problems.