December 2017

The first month spent in our apartment was not an easy one. While winters here are very mild, it was still winter, cold and wet on occasions and we barely had heating. The gas powered heater provided some, but we had to open the windows often in order to have clean air. The wet heat and the outside cold helped the mold to grow wild. One morning we noticed a lot of mold on the walls, so we first had to clean that up. The rain continued to pour for days, and one of our room had a leak in the ceiling…

By the middle of the December we had running water, and two days later hot water as well. It was life changing to be able to shower normally after almost two weeks of wet wipes and lazy showers!

The whole month was full with ups and downs.

At the beginning of the month we realized that our car needs some servicing. The “copelas” some metal-rubber parts from the front suspension needs to be changed. We went to one of the local shops, and to our surprise the guy made an offer for 990 Euros. The value of our car is about 1000. What was upsetting is the fact how this moron tried to scam us, saying that changing these parts are super difficult. We knew how difficult it was… 2 years ago we changed one in a parking lot with my dad in half an hour, without having an idea how to change it, with basic tools we had. None of is is car mechanic. Not me, nor my husband nor my dad, we just had basic idea, and a broken down car. To avoid this happening again, we bought new parts and wanted them changed… And just to show how outrageous the price for the service was: at the end an official service changed it for 135 euros, with some other extra small fixes.

We barely got the money to pay for the car fix when the plumber-electrician also wanted us to settle the bill. I kept telling my husband to ASK for the price upfront, I do not want any surprises… He kept saying that “I asked bu the said he will tell us at the end and it won’t be huge amount”. You can imagine the shock we had when he gave us the bill… 1250 euros. I was almost crying.

From where the fuck are we going to get this money? I was very upset. Somewhat at my husband, because I was not yet speaking the language, but mostly because we were so poor that this amount was ridiculously high. We managed to pay it in 3 parts. I don’t even remember how.

At the end… one good thing emerged from this: both of us realized that either we need to make more money. Like way way way way way more in order to afford some experts to come fix our house, or we need to become the experts (or butchers) ourselves and do it with our hands. And so we did.

This particular bill for the plumbing and the basic electricity made us plumbers and electricians, and tilers, and window installers, and carpenters. You will see… pretty much everything. Also super grateful for the idiot from the first car service. He did us a massive service with his ridiculously high price. Next time we went to the shop next door. It was for a simple oil change. And we found a very nice, honest and good mechanic there, who so far never tried to rip us off. It’s good to know basics about how your car works, or how much it takes to change certain parts. Being poor as fuck sometimes can bring you unexpected benefits in other areas.

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