It was apartment hunting day and we had three appointments scheduled - one for a basement suite all to ourselves, one for a beautiful second story apartment with friendly flatmates and the third one we knew absolutely nothing about. So, smiles on, sunnies on, off we went to find our new home. The simple act of driving around the Mount on a sunny day is enough to put anyone's worries and stress at ease. We took a few moments to take in the big rolling waves of the ocean, the people bustling about in the shops and cafes and the big, beautiful dormant volcanic cone, Mauao, or The Mount. "ahhhh" escaped both of us as we realized that this city was a wonderful place to be, regardless of what apartment we chose.
Once all apartments were visited and we had foolishly claimed we would give them a "yes" or "no" by the end of the day, Luke and I set out to find a seat by the ocean to have a drink and a think. With lots of discussion, we opted to eliminate the basement suite because it was just a tad too "eclectic" for our taste. We opted to eliminate the friendly flatmates simply because they lived quite far from town. So, by the process of elimination, we chose the mystery apartment.
This apartment was stunning! It had beautiful large windows, two balconies, a big, open living area and was very nicely furnished. The flatmates would be a friendly couple from Chili with broken English. The only thing weird about our new place was this really strange, uncomfortable feeling that something wasn't quite right...
I have had quite a few moments of "I KNEW that was going to happen... OMG... I have intuition... that works!" throughout my life. Because of these moments, I paid attention to this little twang of unhappiness I felt regarding our new home and contemplated about it. Luke thought I was completely mad for not being as excited as him about our new place. The moment we walked out of it, before we had even seen all three places, he had an ear-to-ear grin and was ecstatic about the beauty! "This is the nicest, fanciest place I'll ever have lived in." And I'll be honest, I wasn't so sure that I wasn't mad. It didn't make sense. Like I said, this place was beautiful!! But, I kept my feelings to myself, we drove back to Terri's house and we got geared up to move into our new home the next day.
The timing of our scheduled move-in had been a bit vague but was for sometime in the afternoon the next day. So, after doing a bit of work around Terri's place to show our appreciation for all that she had done for us, we put on our job hunting duds, packed our car full of all that we own (which really isn't much), and made our way to The Mount. It was about 2:30pm and the plan was to drop off some resumes, scour the town for "help wanted" signs, move into our new home and crack our bottle of celebratory champagne. wooohooo!!
As we drove in to town, we received a text from our new "flatties" stating that move-in time was 8:00pm... clearly a bit later than we were anticipating. I responded asking if it was alright to have the landlords downstairs let us in but was told, "no" and to "please wait for us...we will be home 7pm now". We were definitely a bit peeved at this change in plan and couldn't figure out a reason that we would need to wait around town all afternoon and evening instead of just talking to the landlords. Now we couldn't take sweet sunshiney moving-in photos. Fail!
In an attempt to keep our moods high, we decided to start on the job hunt. We both went in to a number of places, and both came out with upside down smiles on our faces as none of our prospects were promising. We ended up feeling even more defeated. Fail!
It was finally close to dinner time so we decided to buy a cheap bottle of wine and find a BYOB restaurant to enjoy a nice long, time-passing dinner at. Turns out The Mount has none. Fail!
Sooo, what do you do when all else fails and you're broke and feeling defeated... hit up the BK Lounge, grab some grub and park by the ocean to watch the beautiful sunset behind the mount. Finally, while chowing down on our greasy burgers, we felt happy and our smiles came back. Success!
Terri of course had no problem with us coming back (she really is such an absolutely wonderful person!!!) and she laughed and laughed at our ridiculous misfortune. I felt deeply annoyed at the entire situation, having my intuition popping up regularly trying to warn me that something wasn't right. I was very bothered that we were being jerked around. "why had they not sorted it out with their landlords the day before..." "had they even asked their landlords if they could rent out the 2nd room before putting it up for rent?" "Is this what my weird feeling had been predicting? If so, would this be the end of it then?" I sure hoped so.
We woke the next morning to a very apologetic text saying that all was good and "could we move in right away, like 9am?" I was still feeling quite uncomfortable about the place, and was still annoyed at the previous days' events, so we relaxed at Terri's that morning. Another coffee for all!
By noon we were re-packed up and on our way off for Move-In Day #2. Lucky for us, and for them, all went according to plan. We marvelled at our new home, the view, having our own room with places to put our things. Everything seemed to be working out and the previous issues were almost forgotten.
As we were finishing up vacuuming our newly organized room (it was a pretty dusty, but we shrugged it off, because we were so happy!) our new flatties came in to let us know they were going out. The woman told us she was very excited because later, around 4:30, we'd be meeting her 14 year old son, and off they went.
As soon as we were alone, Luke and I looked at each other. "Her SON!?" Then we began to notice things, like the "bed" made into a "couch" in the living room that hadn't been there two days previously. And how they had mentioned that "Roofus" would take out the recycling and garbage every weekend. "Who was Roofus?" "Was he the son?"
EXTREME freak-out mode hit both of us... "had we signed up to live with a family of three, in a two bedroom apartment, forcing the young man to sleep in the living room every single night?" But wait, we had no idea that there was to be a young person living in the same apartment as us, there had been absolutely no clues that suggested so. This was completely brand new information for both of us. We...were...CHOKED!
It all suddenly made sense.. this is what that feeling had been about... they had been hiding information from us.. whether intentionally or not, something had been left out when we first met and it was now coming to a front. We really had nothing against living with children, we just would have liked to know if it was in the equation of our new lifestyle from the beginning. And truthfully, we had no idea what our jobs were going to be. We had both applied to bars that, if we accepted the jobs, would likely have us coming home in the wee hours of the night and making a lot of noise. It's really not fair to have a child woken up every night when he should be getting his much needed rest for school! Nope, this was wrong. This was sooo wrong. Luke and I agreed that we had no other choice than to leave. This situation had been cursed from the start, and we felt so cheated by them withholding information from us. It was simply wrong and we wouldn't allow it to happen again.
So then the question became... how long do we stay? We had just unpacked e-v-e-r-y thing we owned, we had bought some groceries and put them in the cupboards, we had done a load of laundry which was drying on the back deck... clearly we would have to stay? But, we hadn't paid them anything yet. Nothing at all. Nor had we signed anything. We had verbally agreed to live there... and they had, we decided, verbally broken our agreement by withholding valuable information that affected our living situation.
Okay, we would stay one week... to help them out with one week's rent, and to be kind, and because really, it was a nice place. Yes, that was perfect. Then we were the being the bigger couple, helping them for a week, but really making a point that they were wrong to withhold the information and it was because of that that we were leaving. Perfect.
After an entire day of deliberation and frustration, we were a wee bit exhausted. We grabbed our laptops and wandered down to the town for a coffee, a sit down, and an online house hunt. As we scoured the internet, trying to figure out who we had contacted previously and which houses seemed appropriate, we came across one that seemed absolutely perfect. Luke read it out to me, "2 bed, 2 bath, an English couple, late twenties, both working, the apartment has a gym and pool and hottub and LOOK AT THESE PHOTOS!" Big, massive windows, beautiful dark wood kitchen, our own bathroom AND cheaper than any other place we had seen. We were ecstatic! Luke texted very quickly "Hi. We are a Canadian couple in our twenties interested in your flat, could we come by to see it?"
We were scheduled to see it that night. It was a beautiful apartment, with wonderful people, and it seemed like it was exactly what we were looking for. A young couple that we could become friends with, a nice place with a good view. The bedroom was unfurnished, but we didn't care, we'd find a bed somewhere. "We'll take it." The move in date was set for two days later.
As we happily walked out of the apartment building with extra excitement in our step, we were stopped on the street, by our CURRENT FLATMATES! They clearly didn't know that we were searching for a new place to live, or even that we were planning to leave at all. Oh it was awkward. Oh it was soo awkward. We said some awkward hellos while our male roommate looked from us to the apartment building, back to us, wondering what we were up to and we hurried to our car and drove off. "THEY'RE CURSED" I hissed at Luke as we drove off. "What were the chances of THAT happening?" The entire situation seemed too weird to be real. I couldn't believe this was actually happening to us.
We got back to "our place" and just felt soo frustrated and soo annoyed and soo in disbelief. At this point we got angry. We owed them absolutely nothing. Even just running into them and talking felt so uncomfortable, and things would only get worse when we told them we were leaving. And technically, the sooner we left, the sooner they could hunt for another person to rent their room. And, we knew that Terri would let us back to her place for a few nights before moving into our new, awesome, perfect place! Hmmm....
And so we packed. E-v-e-r-y thing that we owned. Out from its little hiding places in this cursed house and into our backpacks, then into the car. There was no point even spending a night here. We were very unhappy and very uncomfortable, and leaving seemed like the only option. It took all of a few minutes to finish packing up and by that point we were steaming mad. Luke called our new roommates to tell them what was going on and they, while unhappy, said they wouldn't be home until much later, so we told them we were leaving and that, was that. We piled into the car, "just drive" was all I could muster up and we drove away in silence, hoping to leave all the negativity and uncomfort behind us.
Luke turned to me and said, "you were right". My intuition had been correct. I had had such a hard time understanding it or even explaining it, but it had simply been a very strong feeling that something was not right with that place. I'm very glad it turned out this way. On Moving-Day #3, everything went according to plan! Luke and I spent the day searching around second hand stores for new supplies needed for our home, found the wonderful basics and happily moved in that evening. It has been a week now and we have become good friends with our new "flatties" and already feel as though we've lived together for months.