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Ana, Lalo & Isidro

All in all I had less than a week to move after signing my new contract last Monday and finally shifting stuff over to the new apartment today. Frantic and haphazard packing took place, with Peter doing the lion’s share of the work, and box hunting became a daily expedition. When friends first heard of me having to move a couple of months ago, and how distressed and overwhelmed I was about how I was going to get it done, they assured me they’d be there and help out. Ha. Not one of them came through. In the end, I posted a plea for helpers on Twitter/Facebook and got a reply from someone called Ana who offered me her van and her moving services for a very reasonable fee (compared to the 550 euro quote I got from the moving company last week). But it turned out that her van was too small for my bed and my sofa, so I started looking at vans to hire … and then Ana offered to drive for me. As I couldn’t afford to hire a van and pay her hourly fee, I offered her my help with setting up a blog and a few other social media thangs. And a deal was struck.

But suddenly it was Saturday and I still had nobody to help schlep the stuff – and there was a helluva lot of stuff piling up. Then I remembered that my friend Flor had told me about a handyman she sometimes uses and she thought he also did moving. Called him up around 7pm on Saturday and he said he and a friend would be there at 10.30 the next morning.  He quoted a fee, I counter-offered, and got a lower price. Fine…

I met with Ana at the car rental place this morning at 10 and took the van for a trial run through our route to make sure there weren’t any tight spots or difficult corners that weren’t possible to manoeuvre with a van. Meanwhile Peter had gone off to pick up Isidro and Lalo, and we all arrived back at the apartment around the same time. What ensued after that was approximately 8 hours of a curiously delightful hell, because although it was quite stressful and a LOT of hard work, everyone was so wonderful and generous – going way above and beyond to get the job done! – that I know I came away from this not just moved into my new home but also with an improved outlook on life. I’m now tucked up in bed with cats and laptop (using iPhone as a modem for now) and am a bit in awe of what happened today. I mean, three total strangers came to my rescue and totally made today not only bearable but actually pleasant. And I felt rather strangely like I was being taken care of… it was a good feeling.

In the end, after all the extra work that Isidro and Lilo had done, I felt ashamed that I’d bargained them down, so I gave them a nice bonus each, which was still much less than they deserved, but I think they went away happy with the deal. Isidro told me that if I ever needed any electrical work or other handyman stuff to give him a call and tell my friends. And about half an hour later when Peter and I went out to get a snack I ran into my new neighbour Colm (who also helped out by carrying up boxes during our first trip) who was just coming home with his baby daughter and we told him we’d finally got moved in and when I mentioned Isidro’s many talents suddenly Colm was very interested in getting his phone number. It’s not that easy to find an honest hard-working tradesman anymore. So I hope I will be able to pass on some extra work to the guys.

As for Ana, well, I still can’t believe that someone I didn’t know at all before ten o’clock this morning did all that she did for me. Very much looking forward to getting together with her soon to discuss her new blog and a few other interesting things that came up during our short yet perfect lunch at Casa Román. I’d like to do some serious brainstorming and info sharing with her sometime when I am not so distracted and stressed out.

So really, a wonderful day. The cats thought otherwise as I had brought Azar over here first around 9 o’clock, with his blanky and cushions and special drinking glass, but he was clearly terrified. Meanwhile I kept Loki in the bathroom at the old place during the first two runs, during which time he never stopped screaming his head off. But you know how I have to separate the boys when I go out, so it made sense to only have both over there when I was also going to be there. I needn’t have worried as, when Loki did finally arrive, the two boys seemed so happy to see a familiar face that I was able to leave them together in my new bedroom without any problems.

When Peter and I got back from our evening snack I finally let the boys out of the bedroom and it’s been quite fun to watch them exploring and taking a keen interest in every nook and cranny. I’m especially happy to see Azar here cuddled up on the bed next to me like nothing has changed (Loki is still out exploring…).

So I got moved and learned a very gentle lesson about the simple generosity of good people. And the new casa az is great. A few things to sort out (especially icky smell in kitchen), but I already know I’m going to be very happy here. Because I already am.

And now some sleep…