Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Room of One's Own, part 3: Success?

How do you measure success when finding an apartment?  Location?  Amenities?  Low utility bills?  Great neighbors?  In Astana, Kazakhstan they measure by number of months you can stay in one place without being driven out by a lessor with delusions of empire.

If you'll recall, in my first post in this series, A Room of One's Own, part 1, I described my apartment hunting experience.  During that time I looked at a number of apartments before settling on the palatial prison.  Turns out we should've taken the place that looked less nice.

There are some rules for interior decorating I've noticed in my months here that it seems property owners should follow:

  1. All rooms must have at least 2 different wallpapers (except bathrooms)
    • with the corollary that all rooms must have wallpaper (bathrooms optional yet not excepted)
  2. All rooms must have a chandelier-like light fixture as the primary source of light
  3. All apartments must be decorated according to a pre-1990 style or contain at least 2 fully non-functional items with resemble functional items
  4. All apartments must contain at least one anachronistically-placed appliance or piece of furniture
Our new (also current [5 months and counting!  cross your fingers!]) apartment (we went back to the less-pretty apartment) breaks some, though not all, of these rules.  And it's my hypothesis that the less an apartment follows these rules, the less likely it will be that the property-owner will conform to the crazy landlady paradigm.  Our new landlady takes a hands-off approach to the lessor-lessee relationship, only dropping by after calling in advance to pick up the rent money or coming over to fix a problem.  

She's also wonderfully patient with the fact that I only understand about half of what she says (she only speaks about 5 words of English), and that I generally only reply with "yes" or "no" to her questions.  And she also handles the utility bills for us, paying them when they come in and letting us pay her back afterwards, instead of us having to stand in line at a post office and then getting yelled at by a disgruntled postal worker in a language we barely understand.

So, were we finally successful in finding a good apartment?  I'll get back to you in a few months.

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