Just got the email everyone in the Foreign Service needs to hear at some point: “your housing board appeal has been approved!”
Yes, it is slightly insane to move one year into a three-year tour. But we’re going to do what we have to do. I’m thinking one intense week of moving-related activity. Like a Band-Aid: pull it off quickly! I am so glad I put a bunch of stuff into storage when we moved here from DC. So very, very glad.
I haven’t gotten into this on the blog, but if you know me personally, you know that there have been issues with our apartment pretty much from Day One. Starting with it being clear across town from our son’s school. We are in the area that families are usually placed because of its proximity to the American school. But he doesn’t go to the American school so his commute is an hour each way, and involves two different buses and two different U-Bahn lines.
For that reason alone, we probably should have asked for a change of housing as soon as we got here. But we didn’t, and I’m not really sure why. Lesson learned.
The other major problem with this apartment is that it is hot. I mean, really, really hot. You wouldn’t think that would be a problem in Vienna, but it most definitely is, and more and more so ever year, what with global warming and all. Older buildings here are not simply not constructed to deal with any kind of hot weather. Our apartment was built smack on top of an old house, with no shade, no awnings or shutters, and a red tile roof with no insulation. It is basically an un-air conditioned attic. And the landlord refuses to install any kind of air conditioner. (We are not the only family at this post with this problem!)
Last summer, the temperature easily topped 90 degrees in the upstairs living area for weeks at a time. The kitchen was even hotter. Portable air conditioning units provided by the Embassy did no good at all, because of course you have to open the windows to use them. They open onto a hot cement roof with no shade that you could almost fry an egg on some days. Good plan.
Now, don’t go telling me about fans and drinking lots of water and all that stuff. I am from Tennessee, and I grew up mostly without air conditioning. In fact, my parents just got central air last year. So, when I say my apartment is too hot, it is too damn hot. There are several other things going on with this apartment, but I won’t get into them.
Anyway, we’ve just been assigned a smaller, but nicer apartment downtown that will cut our son’s commute by more than half. And it has air conditioning! Some kind of “green” system with cold water pumped in from the river, but you know, it’s got to be better than nothing. And, this apartment is not on the roof. And it has those cool mechanical shutters for really hot days. So, taken altogether, I think we’ll be much more comfortable and it will be worth the trouble. I am looking forward to being able to walk to lots of stuff downtown, and pull my bike out for a ride by the river.
Very, very psyched 🙂
Here’s a couple of photos of things I won’t miss about this place!