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April 11, 2006

Moving in with - our own happy Monday

Movingin1 I think moving into a new house is one of those things that you always look forward to as being exciting, but in the end it is actually quite a hassle and rather stressful, even if, like us, you hardly have anything to physically move in.

Yesterday wasn't without setbacks. The first was that we had no water. I hunted high and low for some sort of plumbing related switch to turn the taps on to no avail. In the end I had to phone our landlord. His English isn't so good, so the conversation was difficult. However, in the end I understood - "Is not problem with flat, problem with community". So, on our first day we had a water supply failure. Good start, eh?

Another thing we didn't check when viewing the place was the mobile phone reception. It is patchy to say the least, which made me quite nervous about whether people would be able to get hold of us in order to get directions for deliveries. Actually, it was worse when they did get through.

Claire had gone down to the supermarket to get some supplies that didn't need to be refrigerated in order to get us through the day if none of our stuff arrived, when the phone rang. It was the people with our bed. I then had a very painful five minutes on the phone trying to explain where we were.

"You know if you are on the bus going towards Kalamaki, there is a supermarket called..."

"No, I'm not going Kalamaki. Is 10 kilometres away."

"No, not in Kalamaki, if you are leaving Chania and going towards Kalamaki"

In the end after much to-ing and fro-ing I had to meet them down by the side of the nearby supermarket to direct them in person.

Mostly everybody else found it OK. Around lunchtime one crew arrived with our fridge, washing machine and the TV, and at around 6 o'clock the people with our cooker arrived. Actually they were so sweet and helpful that we kind of felt bad about not having bought all of the electrical gear from them - I think we'll definitely go back there for whatever we decide we can't live without next.

We were also due to get some furniture first thing in the morning. It didn't arrive, and we didn't expect it to later on, as when we tried to arrange the delivery we were told they didn't work on Monday afternoons. So we went off for a stroll, and were in the middle of checking out one of three local supermarkets when the call came - "We'll be there in twenty minutes". Well, we were just about twenty minutes away from the house at that point, and then managed to get into a queue behind one of the slowest supermarket transactions in history. I kid you not, at one point it had degenerated into the sales clerk reading the cooking instructions on some frozen potato products to the customer in order to explain that they were not microwavable. We got to the house just in time to find a couple of slightly exasperated delivery guys on the point of departure.

But in the end everything arrived and everything works. The water came back on mid-afternoon - we hope it isn't a regular occurrence, but from everything I've read about the utility services here it wouldn't surprise me if it was. I'm sure we'll be keeping plenty of bottled water in storage. The only thing that didn't go right today was that the plug in the bath doesn't work properly, so we weren't able to enjoy the long soak we were hoping for.

Movingin2We ate our dinner out on the balcony, using the box the TV came in as a make-shift table between us. It feels very odd after having been on the move since mid-December to suddenly be settled in one place for a year.

Around 9pm our landlady came down to introduce her baby to us, and a little later our landlord came down to check everything was OK, and to offer us some fresh oranges. Both of them said we must come up and ask if we need anything, and that if I need to use the internet I can use their office. They seem really sweet, and very approachable, which is good news, since, frankly, we still don't understand what we are meant to do about the electricity and water. Or where the bins get collected. Or how to get lights fitted. Or whether Greece has a TV licence. Or how to get a mailbox. And a hundred-and-one other things that you just take for granted at home because you've simply just grown up around them.

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