Moving Day

In transition. That’s how life has felt for the past year and some months. For five months of it, I had the privilege of living in wonderful Casaverde in Potrero, all of that time with Marcela and two of those months with Erik and Sigrid. With Erik and Sigrid heading back to Sweden and Marcela to Mexico this month, I thought it a good time to move into my own place.

I found a funky apartment for rent in a town close to the school I teach at. It’s loft style, with the bigger bed and wardrobe up a spiral staircase. The apartment is bright and airy and stocked with the basics: a two-burner gas stove top, a rusting mini-fridge, a decent bathroom with hot water (!), an AC unit (!!), a double bed for me, a twin bed for the main floor that will primarily function as a couch, a dining table, two chairs, and a mounted coat rack. Not bad for ole TJ.

Saturday was moving day. That morning, in true Tessa fashion, I hadn’t packed yet. I woke up early, took a shower, turned on the World Cup, and called my Oma, still not packing. Marcela and I walked over to Andrea and Linda’s house to bid farewell, as their year living in Costa Rica was coming to an end. Still not packing. We got back home and I had nothing else to do, so I finally started packing. As always, the big stuff didn’t take too long, but locating and organizing the odds and ends seemed to take forever. I made a pile of things I didn’t want anymore, zipped up my suitcase, and wondered aloud with Marcela how exactly we were going to move all of our things without a car to the new apartment. (Marcela was moving with me for a few days before going back to Mexico.) We could take the bus, but speaking from experience, using the bus to move is the pits. We asked around and found a taxi number of a guy with an SUV. Perfect. Marcela called Michael around 1:00pm, who told us he would be at the house at 2:30. We found Grease in Spanish on TV and enjoyed our last couple hours in Casaverde.

At little after 2:30, a small sedan parked at the end of our driveway. We looked at it and said, “Nah,” because we were promised an SUV. Marcela’s phone rang and lo and behold, the sedan was there for us. Great. We asked who turned out to be Michael’s friend to pull up in the driveway, explained again that we had a lot of luggage, and started piling it in. We somehow managed to fit everything in, with me sitting in the back seat, bags packed in around and on top of me. We drove the 20 minutes from Potrero to Huacas, Casaverde in the rear-view mirror.

I later told Marcela that I didn’t really feel sad about leaving Casaverde in that moment because I felt like our time there ended when Erik and Sigrid left. The house hadn’t been the same without them.

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We rolled up to the apartment building, lugged everything up one flight of stairs, paid the taxi driver, and stared at the front door of the next chapter. When we walked in, I went to the fridge to keep cold the things I’d brought over from Casaverde and noticed it wasn’t plugged in. I plugged it in and tried to turn on the fan. Nada. I tried to flip on all the lights. Nada. We flipped off and on all the breakers. Nada. We asked a guy working in the gelato shop downstairs, who pointed us to the main power breaker. Nada. I was not pleased. Marcela called the landlord, who indicated in a mix of Spanish and Italian that he thought he’d paid the electric bill, but would be over in a couple hours to figure it out, so we went to the store, bought a couple beers, and started unpacking.

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The landlord arrived and informed us that he had in fact not paid the electricity. Tight. He paid it then, but told us that we’d have to go to the electric company on Monday to prove that he paid.

So, we won’t have power until Monday?

Corretto. 

He lent us his chargeable flashlight and went home. Eli had arrived by then, so Marcela and I lit all the candles we could find while Eli went to the store to buy more beer and a bag of ice. We filled a bucket with the ice and beer, turned on music, and enjoyed each other’s company by candlelight.

Moving sucks. Moving in a developing country sucks more. Now, on Tuesday, the electricity has come back on, but the air conditioner doesn’t work, the shower drain is clogged, and the promised washing machine has not yet been installed. But with the right company, a few scented candles, and some late-night fried chicken, yet another transition marked with hiccups and missteps is made a little easier and infinitely more enjoyable.

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