Photograph the Hole in Your Toilet

Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte) Honuguavers!

This is not just a light hearted title to kick-start your week but also a crucial step to follow when living on your own. A precaution that, when not followed, can lead to a disgruntled ending to what may have been an amazing experience abroad.

This title struck me while walking by Baby Plage with my good friend Sheree, not because we were watching the shooting water of the Jet d’Eau spout into the air, but because we were discussing leaving our fist apartments in Geneva. She was one of the lucky ones that walk away from the final room inspection from the landlord/lady. And as I have found the hard way, this is more of a rarity.

Though I like to think everyone has good intentions and the concerns of others at heart landlords are the exception. Your future landlord/lady may be great but always be prepared as if they were not. When moving in to an apartment don’t just be shocked at the disrepair of a room and move on, take photos and make a list of what was already damaged before it is too late.

This may seem like common knowledge, but for those starting off on their own for the first time, it can slip past them in the excitement… or drama. My first room, though a student dorm, greeted me with a mysterious stick under the bed and a gaping hole in the toilet that kindly refreshed the floor upon each use. One semester later I was free and spent two hours cleaning with my poor visiting mother to celebrate.

Lo and behold, I was charged a 150CHF cleaning fee for dust on the heater. It is always fun to share these stories later, but if there is one lesson learned from living on our own that all my friends can agree on is to photograph your room upon entry. You could even make a list of what state the room is in before hand (hole in toilet, floor not cleaned) before moving in with both of your signatures so that there will be less room for surprises on your checkin out.

Having your own apartment is a great thing no mater the state it is in, as it is yours! One of the great aspects of living abroad is learning to make your own way in the world and grow from the challenges you overcome along the way.

My apartment essentials: postcards plastered on the wall from past travels, a comfy pillow and the bell sculpture/mobile brought back from Santorini.


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