Ruth's Diary


October does not seem to have been a good month :(

I'm normally not the kind of person who has bad days, or who would describe myself as having a bad day, so having a month of things happening that made me depressed and/or in a low mood is...well, it's just making me desperate to see the beginning of November. I mean, I'm keeping all this in perspective: I'm still healthy, mentally and physically, I still have a job I look forward to doing, I still have my cash cushion and I live in the company of friends. So it really isn't all doom and gloom. Maybe it's why I feel the need to write this down? I need to sort out my thoughts in order to see the silver lining.

At the beginning of October I needed to go to Hrabůvka to hand in my keys and officially end my lease to the old flat (Jan gave me his keys, so there was nothing else he needed to do). I was also hoping to get my deposit back, but I knew it wouldn't be all of it as I had intended to use a chunk of the deposit to pay anything outstanding that I owed. I convinced Nat, one of my flatmates, to come with me after work, as we work for the same company but not in the same team. I also needed an interpreter as no one working for the building managers speaks anything other than Czech. So we go to the building, find one young lady, who then tells us that things like this can only be done when one particular woman is around...a Jana Freislerova.

She's like a...admin head or something? I'm really not sure. So Nat and I go back the next day, after I had gotten a colleague called Lenka to ring this Ms. Freislerova to arrange all this. I won't say which Lenka it was as there are 3 working in my department (or something like that) but I will say she'd make a damn good secretary. If anyone needs an English-German-Czech speaking secretary, I'll happily forward your details! Anyway, Ms. Freislerova said she won't be at reception at 5ish pm or whatever but there will be someone around, so Naty and I go on Thursday evening, but first I notice they expect payment for October. I disputed this as the official termination date was September. They agreed to that, but then the lady said the flat must be properly clean and left as I have found it, otherwise I am expected to pay an extra 6000 kč for the cleaning crew. On top of the fact that the outstanding payments mean my deposit remaining equaled 0.

I was allowed some time to clean the flat before going to the reception again to finalise it all. Naty saw the actual flat with me and said with certainty I would need to clean out the random junk, take with me the curtains I had intended to abandon, as well as get the wall imperfections re-plastered. So problem 1: who could do the re-plastering? I could buy the plaster myself but I only needed so little. Problem 2: the best time to sort all the contracts and crap out was during the day (between 10am - 4pm). Problem 3: after arranging time off, I would still need an interpreter. Naty couldn't take time off - and I knew this - because she had needed to take 3 weeks of sick leave after a previous neck injury. Good thing I have another friend in my company who works in yet another team. So I asked Martas and as he had arranged a day off for the next Wednesday, he agreed to take Tuesday afternoon off to come with me and sort all this out. Arda, my Team Leader (of sorts, the real Team Leader was and still is off sick), allowed my time off. So with all this sorted, I then had to deal with the flat proper.

I had intended to replay Spec Ops: The Line that Saturday, but instead, I had to go to my flat the entire afternoon and bit of early evening, in order to clean, clean, clean...and clean even more. The smartest thing I did that day was bring my own food and drink, preventing the necessity of leaving the flat for any reason until I was done. In hindsight, I should have gone to the flat sometime during September to do the necessary cleaning but...well I had a hectic Summer so thoughts about my old flat had slipped my mind. The cleaning meant the skin on my forearms became very irritable and itchy, stupid skin. Now, I couldn't do the plastering on Saturday, so...

The woman who sub-lets this bedroom to me (the one I'm in now) heard the story and also talked about it with her boyfriend, so Vlasta spoke to Petr. They have a friend that lives 2 doors down from us, Pepa, who they also spoke to. So Vlasta and Petr had a bucket of plaster, as well as wall-decorating materials to spare, and Pepa was talked into coming with me on Sunday to plaster the bits necessary. We were there hour? And this slotted perfectly into Vlasta's and Petr's plans, as they had loaned Pepa and me their car, which went from Hrabůvka to nearby Zabřeh, to pick up Petr's son Honza. The car was also carrying the curtains and curtain-rails. Petr and Vlasta speak limited English, so I speak Czech to them, but they did tell me Honza spoke good English. I will say, for a 17-year-old Czech, his English is amazing. In fact, for a 17-yo anyone from a non-English speaking country, his English is amazing. He told me about his love of cars, infestation of his bedroom from mosquitos, we both debated PCs vs Consoles as a video game platform. But I'm now going off on a tangent.

Tuesday afternoon I went back to Hrabůvka with Martas. I told him what needed to be done and what I needed him to say. He was calm and casual about everything, having a very slight smile and feeling confident. I needed a friend like that at that moment. One thing I could not clean on the Saturday, no matter how hard I tried, was the bathtub. I had never figured out how to clean it even when I lived there. So the receptionists inspecting the flat were not happy. Martas said he knew what to use in order to clean the tub, so we went to the nearest DM for some Cif bathroom cleaner, to get rid of the yellow now I know. After the bathtub was finally clean, I handed back all the keys, signed the necessary paper and Ms. Freislerova said I didn't need to pay anything, which was the best news all day.

So the next bad thing to happen: won't dwell on it too much, I got a cold while in Amsterdam. It meant I felt generally miserable on the nicest day of my 5-day stay in Amsterdam and I took out my lousy mood and frustration on Nathan and Emma. Needless to say, they didn't appreciate it much. I was ill and feeling/looking/sounding awful the entire time I was in Germany. :( I wanted to avoid hugging my relatives, just to make sure they didn't catch anything. They didn't care, that's something at least. Oh but then, at Köln-Bonn Airport, before I could check in my suitcase for the flight back to Prague, I noticed the code on my suitcase had somehow been changed while in Nathan's car. I had to spend 20 minutes trying nearly every single combination before getting it open and learning the new combo (I can't be bothered to find the instructions and set it back to the previous one).

And then yesterday, my wallet went missing. It just completely vanished...on the way home from the shopping centre! So at least I'd bought everything I guess. I had too little credit on my phone (yes at least I still have that) so Petra, the flatmate moving out, had to call the bank and cancel my card for me. Oh, but my UK cards were in the wallet too. So I opened Skype to call out on my Skype-Out account, to find I had little credit left. I happened to notice Eleanor was logged in, so I did the crazy thing of calling her on Skype and getting her to call Smile for me. Eventually, the agent wanted to talk to me directly, so Eleanor had to hold the phone against the computer mic/speaker. With that all done, it sank in annoying losing a wallet is. I didn't really lose anything valuable (my cash amount was about 110 kč, peanuts really as it equals less than Ł4), it's annoying I lost my Driving Licence and Health Insurance card but those are replaceable and not used that often. I just use my card for a bloody lot of generic stuff! So that's where the annoying comes in. I'm sure every Czech I come across will be more than happy to declare Roma pick-pocketed me. Honestly, I don't care, and if that is the case, then I'm just sad for them. Don't they want to distance themselves as far from their stereotypical depiction as possible?

At least I still have my big sack of sweets, at least my cupboard is properly stocked with food, at least I have about €80 if I'm really desperate for cash (that's in my room, out of reach of any thief and that's worth a lot of české koruny), plus I bought my copy of Beyond Two Souls before this fiasco happened, so guess what I'll be playing after I upload this? Also, just like that first Thursday in October, when I was in a bad mood about my flat, Pepa came round spontaneously and wine was shared. Why does Pepa keep coming round with wine when I'm in a low mood?

Funny thing that happened yesterday, I told Pepa about a problem a colleague is having with her oven and asked him if he thought he could do anything about it. He said yes so he agreed to having his mobile number passed on. I learned his real name is Josef (Pepa is just an official 'short' version of the name, used by all friends) and then he admitted he didn't know his mobile number. Very normal, so I told him to find it on his phone. He didn't know how. Within 10 seconds of him handing it to me I found the option "Moje čislo" (my number). Now this guy speaks no English whatsoever, so our Czech conversations are...interesting. But I could say this to his astonished face: I don't understand much Czech, but I do understand electronics. Gave us both a good laugh!

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