Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Learning how to live in a new flat

by : 
SkieH

I arrived on this beautiful Spanish island at the start of September, full of enthusiasm and eager to start work as an English Teacher. I sorted all the necessary paperwork out and moved into a flat of my own within the first couple of days. Bliss. Or so I thought. At 4am and at several intervals after that, I was rudely awoken by the cockerel that lives opposite me. Fantastic, I now have 5 extra alarms every morning but this naturally depends on how annoying the cockerel is feeling.

In the following weeks, I also started to notice a trend. Things in my flat started to break at the rate of one object per day, whether it was the hot water, bowls, cups, shower, doors or glass shelves. Yes, I am clumsy but things just fell apart. If it wasn’t broken, it would either be dirty or missing. Turning out my washing basket for the first time was pretty disgusting. My clothes were swiftly followed by a hundred or so bugs that were living in the bottom.

As for the general lack of equipment in the house, there was no oven, tin opener, sharp knives or potato peeler. It turns out making a vegetarian burger from scratch wasn’t the best idea. Neither is stabbing open a tin of kidney beans with scissors to remove the contents. Cooking them, however, was interesting enough itself. I have a small microwave grill combo instead of an oven. I thought the general understanding was never to put metal in a microwave but I went with it. Smoke soon started to appear. I’m not quite sure if it was the burger or the grill but as soon as I opened the door, the electricity cut out. Fabulous. I spent the following 10 minutes in a dark, smoky room hunting for the power switch using the light from my mobile phone, which, as it happens, broke the week after and left me without a connection to the outer world.

Luckily, I’m now borrowing a phone and my luck has returned. No more things have broken, (probably because there is nothing left to break) and I’m slowly finding more friends. I’ve also realised that even if a flat looks pretty, it doesn’t mean its contents work. I am also learning how to adapt to life with limited, broken utensils and buy and make food with obscure products.

Discussion

Have you ever moved to a new flat? Have you got any advice for Skie?