my temporary solution for accommodation was a hotel….
… but then, I eventually had to move out into a rental apartment. This is where comparison becomes inevitable. in the US, the very existence of Craiglist (online classifieds) makes life so damn easy to look up cheap and VFM accommodation. I used craigslist to look up for accommodation all the time I’ve lived in US. Well, this is Finland, not the US and Finland has no such active online classified. All they have for a solution for accommodation is a bunch of real estate agents. not the typical ‘S L V real estate’ types. (S L V is a popular name for most small businesses in Bangalore).
The most noteworthy of them in Vaasa is Pikipruukki. They control more than half the rental apartment complexes in this area. I had no choices but to fill in an application form and be wait listed. I was told to wait for their call coz they work their way down the que. I had reached Vaasa and my application wasn’t approved yet .
I didn’t want to stay in a hotel for long coz food is a big issue. Not that I’m a master chef. In fact I am a disaster in the kitchen. But I can just pass off to make myself food for survival. which meant I needed a kitchen. If somebody was going to suggest studio apartment hotels like Extended stay America..no..they don’t exist in Vaasa, Finland. Before I got all frustrated about it, I got a call from the real estate agent that my application did get approved and I now stand a chance to get myself an apartment. .
I quickly went to their website where they update the weeks availability of apartments. Happily I chose one close to my Clients’ office where I was given an office space. I went to the real estate agents office and…:
me : Hey, I got a call from your office..this is Avinash..I am looking to rent an apartment.
agent : yes, I called you. We have approved your application and we can now offer you an apartment.
me : excellent ! I’ve made my choice. Can I get this one in the city center?
agent : hmm. no.
me : what? what do you mean you can’t give that to me? I saw it this morning as available.
agent : that house got picked up yesterday morning but the list on the website is updated every weekend. I have the most updated list.
me: damn..so what next then?
agent : we have one in Gamla Vaasa.
me : where the hell is that?
agent : its about 8 kms from city center.. its called Alkulanpolku.
me : I don’t want to be that far away. what other apartments are available.
agent : I do have another one slightly expensive.
me : excellent..why didn’t you tell that earlier. where is this?
agent : Alkulanpolku.
me : err, the 2nd one..can you tell me where is that?
agent: Its in the same place.
me : oh no..If I let this go, what are the chances of getting one in the city center soon?
agent : No clue. I don’t see one coming up anytime soon
me : alright..where are the papers where I sign?
..and thats how I live in a place called Alkulanpolku in Vaasa, Finland.
A colleague was moving back to India and I had bought all his furniture. Once we had done all the paper work, we quickly got a trailer..hitched it to another friends Ford Mondeo and moved all furniture to my new pad.
Now comes the all important bit – internet. I was told the ports were all ready and wired up and it won’t take more than a 1/2 a day. So wrong I was. I went to the internet company and signed up with them and I was told that it would take 5 working days. no way….
There was no way they could reduce that lead time. Now I had a house fully furnished up..per se but I wasn’t gonna live in it. I extended my stay in the hotel just for internet. I finally moved in when internet came alive.
All that was to be done was for the technician to drive up to the switch box and activate the port. that’s it. But then, this guy would not work for more than 8 hrs a day and schedules work for the day and doesn’t budge a bit around that schedule.
I realized one thing. Back in India, a little bit of muscling around can do wonders in such cases. I also realized that we take service providers for granted and don’t really care for their time and expect them to serve us at whatever time or in whatever situation they are in.