Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Landlords are Crazy

... and apparently, that's somewhat normal. Although I suspect that the US has its fair share of crazy landlords.

Over Christmas break, they came into my home--they replaced some lightbulbs, fixed the faucet on the sink, and left me some chocolates, so I can't complain. They had told the secretary, but during that time things were very hectic for her and she forgot to tell me. So I found out some months later, and when I went to ask her about my landlords in my house when I wasn't there, she said that, yes, they had asked, but her reaction was--she couldn't say no, could she? It's their home, so of course they can come in. When I said something to the registrar (secretary of sorts), her reaction was--that's why she always changes the locks when she rents, so the landlords can't get in.

I know in the US they're not allowed in without permission. It's not a matter of, it's their home, so they can do whatever they want.

Anyways, as I said, they were nice, so although it unnerved me a bit, it was okay. If you want to come in without telling me and change my lightbulbs, I won't complain.

But then, the landlord was in town and wanted to come over when I had a translator. So we arranged for my aide to meet us at my place.

Then he told her that he and his wife were moving back to Astana, and they have nothing in their new home, so they'd like to take some stuff from here.

This place had come with a ton of stuff, more than I need, but I had been under the impression that everything in here was for my use.

They went through cabinets and cupboards, asking about so many things, emphasizing that they wouldn't take anything I used, but asking about everything. Some things I don't mind--there are cabinets that are so high I've never looked in them, so I can't complain if I lost something I didn't know I had. But I was racking my brain, trying to think about how many blankets we used, and which sheets were regularly used, so they could take everything else.

Then the landlady went through the pots and pans and bowls and spoons... Seriously? You can't just buy yourself some more silverware, you have to rummage through the stuff you left for your tenant?

And it was so awkward. What is my right to this stuff? It's not mine. Do I feel sorry for her and offer her everything, or do I feel selfish and claim the stuff as mine, as long as I'm living here?

And why hadn't they told the secretary their reason for coming? It just took me so much by surprise that they wanted their stuff!!

But they left, I cooled down, I still have too much stuff... Then about a month or two later, they came back. This time the secretary was there, and the landlord and his grandson went around the house and asked permission to take various--mostly boxes that were stored on the porch, so of course I didn't mind.

The secretary left to go cook dinner, and we waited for an hour for the landlady to show up. I thought they had already picked out what they wanted, but then she went through the kitchen.

The first time, I felt sorry for them--moving back to Astana, having no stuff in their new apartment. But now they'd had months to buy things, or bring things from Almaty. And she'd already gone through all the kitchen stuff! I thought she'd taken what she'd needed the first time.

She looked at my pots--do I need these? Yes, I said. So she pointed to each individual one and asked, this one? Until finally I let her have one.

But I was stubborn when it came to my spoons. We use spoons a lot, she'd already taken several last time, and she said she only would take what I didn't use, and I use those spoons! (And, again, seriously? She hadn't gone out and bought extra spoons during the two months between her visits to me?)

Again, in hindsight it's not a big deal. I still have plenty of stuff and I was never promised 6 spoons or whatever. Last year I had very little, and at least one co-worker here has little stuff in her kitchen. But I've used this stuff for a year, and it was nice to think that if ever I decide to have guests over, I have enough plates, bowls, glasses, silverware, etc, to serve them, and enough pots and pans to cook for them, and enough blankets to keep them warm should they spend the night.

And it's just SO ODD!!!

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