I went to pick up the key to my new flat today, which meant I got to see it freshly painted and without other people’s furniture in it. It was most exciting. Of course, I took a few things over there with me. Nothing big or important – just a couple of books and two white candles with golden stars on them. Things that would fit in my handbag. With that pathetic amount I can’t really claim that I’ve moved some of my stuff in, but even just having those tiny little things there makes me feel good. It’s as if the place is now really and truly mine.
The first thing the lady from the housing association told me when I arrived was that I would have to call the Stadtwerke (dictionary translates it as public utility services) and arrange an appointment to have the elctricity back on. Then as we were leaving she mentioned that they were just around the corner if I wanted to pop in instead of calling. So I made my way to Stadtwerke. Once there I was absolutely amazed to be greeted by someone who not only pronounced my name perfectly first time (not sure that’s ever happened here before!) but was also incredibly helpful, phoning his way through 4 or 5 different departments to find out what was going on before asking me if I had time to go to my flat right away as they could send someone round within the hour. Wow! Talk about service! About 40 minutes later a man turned up, but unfortuantely the cupboard thingy where the electricity meter and switches live was locked, and I had no key for it. We then between us went to every door in the building but nobody seemed to know anything. Then he called his work to see if they have a key (apparantly the housing associations do that sometimes) but nope, no joy. He even called the housing association for me as I had no credit but the woman didn’t answer either her mobile or the landline. *Sigh*. At that point we decided to give up and I was about to leave when he decided to try his boss one last time. He’d had an idea… You see, usually he is responsible for another part of town. The only reason he’d turned up at my door was because the person he is usually responsible for the area was ill. So he got his boss to ring this poor colleague at home and find out what he usually does. Turns out someone who lives in another part of the same building (a part with a separate entrance strangely) has a key. So we rang her bell and she came down to open the cupboard. Phew. I then headed upstairs to check whether my lights were now coming on and the Stadtwerke man rang my bell on the way out so I could tell him through the intercom whether it had worked. It had – my electricity was there. Yay! I’m not sure why the woman couldn’t have just told me where to get a key while she was there and saved me the hassle, but all’s well that ends well as they say. And how nice was the Stadtwerke man for hanging around for that long to help me out? Most public services people would have been gone as soon as I said I had no idea where to find a key. My life in the new place is getting off to a good start I feel.