Oh my brain aches this morning, groaning with reluctance to get the gears in motion! Anyone else? I’ve taken to disconnecting and decluttering on weekends now that I am back to work full time. Guess what folks, there really is such a thing as being out of practice when you are away from a proper office environment after a year! Just when we got used to isolated home office setups, here we are, amongst real (gasp) people, and re-learning everything there is to know about face-to-face communication and eye contact. Oh my fudge cake! We got so used to video calls these past two years and completely unlearned the process of getting up and ready in the morning to actually get past your front door, and not just stumble into your living room / study, wherever it is that you hold home office half dressed for presentable screen appearance, while remaining in your pajama bottoms!
So enough of the Monday morning blues. Let’s kick this week’s ass shall we? Remember the dream home I wrote about last week and thought the deal was practically in the bag? Well, I got screwed by the landlord’s broker and was left high and dry. After submitting all my documents and literally exposing my entire life on paper – the requirements for applying to rent a house in Portugal makes you feel as though you are out to buy the house and massacre everyone in the building! You are put through the food processor, chopped to smithereens, and then abandoned in a corner. Excessively dramatic? Ask any other foreigner who has tried or is trying to land a home here, and they will probably concurr with me. Much as I love this country and its culture, the real estate world of Portugal is a vicious and cut-throat industry not suitable for the faint of heart or impatient. Even if you take things with a grain (bucket?) of salt or a truck’s worth of humour, you will still land in an uncomfortable and frustrating situation.
What happened to my dream home that I raved about last week? The broker ghosted us (my team and me) after requesting the good faith deposit and additional documents. I was led to believe that the moment I paid the deposit the listing would be taken down from the website within 24 hours, as their show of good faith. I had given notice to the hostel, and was getting ready to move this weekend, but then nothing happened, not even a courtesy email or message to update us on the status. Repeated calls to the broker went unanswered, which is when I began to get a queasy feeling. So we gave them a deadline, Friday afternoon at 17:00 or the deal is off, the risk here being was that I would, worst case scenario, end up homeless. I’ll be honest with you, for a while there it was touch and go, but I have the Dream Team on my side and before I could press the panic button, they already put plan B and C in motion. So if anyone of you readers plans to move to Portugal, make sure you never work with the real estate brokers of ALUGA SEGURO. There is nothing seguro about them. Yes, I did get my deposit back this morning.
I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that Friday came and went, and I lost what I thought was the perfect place. I spoke to the landlady at the hostel and asked for the possibility of extending my stay, even if I had to move to a more expensive room. The only thing she could offer me was a two-day exntension (which ends tomorrow), because the hostel is fully booked for the next month (Easter and Spring Break). So I stared my screen in utter despair on Saturday and wondered whether my venerable ancestors had interefered for a reason, and were leading me to a better place. With that in mind, we all hit the interwaves looking for an AirBnB to tide me over. The situation is dire in Lisbon with the Easter holidays coming up, and all that was left were dodgy places in the back of beyond, or super expensive high-end places. Gulp.
By 14:00 I felt as though I was on the verge of the ultimate cliffhanger, ready to close my eyes and take the fishy beach-front place that was still open. Then it happened. I refreshed the page and there it was, the perfect private room in the outskirts of Lisbon, well within my budget, and charming as hell. It will be a long commute to work every day now, but since I value my safety and insist on a roof over my head, I am willing to invest in my own protection. For now, crisis averted, and I have a place to live for the rest of the month, and move in tomorrow. Oh and did I mention that the host is a photographer and designer? Is that fate or what?! As for my actual and final destination? Well, we are back to square one and have to start all over again.
So I’m off to see if I can wrangle another Uber driver story. Stay tuned folks and thanks for being on this wild ride with me.