Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adjustment difficulties & Croatian neighbour saga

(Beware: VERY long post ahead...read if you want some real-life soap opera drama)

I´ve been having a hard time readjusting to Germany:-

Sunday and Monday - Huge jet lag. Spent the bulk of the days clearing clothes, ironing, cleaning the house, buying groceries etc...

Tuesday morning - Croatian Neighbour saga

I have never met a more chauvinistic, egoistic, horrible, unreasonable, shameless and incorrigible man before.

I was going to leave the house for work when the Croatian neighbour who lives 2 storeys above us confronted me.

We have a window outside our corridor which is just beside the staircase. This window is normally opened whenever I cook so that the smell of the food dissipates through the window and not through the staircase into the houses of the neighbours.

When Stephan left the house in the morning, the window was completely opened which meant that the Croatian guy opened it. He has been opening our windows as and when he likes - even during cold winter nights. Such that the wind seeps through our corridor into our house.

So when we saw that it was opened, we closed it.

He opened it again.

This went on another 4 more times in the morning!

Finally he yelled at me saying that I better tell my husband to tell me that the next time I cook, I better open the window.

I said that we normally do that anyway, but this time we forgot to do so (since we were away for 1 mth). He then continued yelling at me in an intimidating way, shaking his hands at me as though he was going to attack me.

He told me that I´m not allowed to close MY window, when he opens it because what I cooks stinks and it smells in his house.

The stupid thing is that he opens our window but leaves his own window (outside his house)closed!

I tried explaining to him that if the entire stairway stinks, he should open all the 3 windows and not just our window. Boy, he was SO stubborn! He kept insisting that he will leave his window shut because he´s not the one who cooked.

Simple physics tell you that hot air rises and cold air sinks. Which means that if my cooking smells reaches his house, it makes no difference if I open my window, because the cold air is going to remain at my apartment! And when no other window is opened, there is no ventilation so the smell remains in the house!

He´s the type of person who will not listen even if you´re right. He will keep insisting on his WRONG way, just because he doesn´t want someone telling him what to do.

I told him that I needed to leave because I had a train to catch, but he kept continuing his tirade, so I basically walked away and left him yelling at me through the house.

Wed night -

Stephan goes to talk to the Croatian guy telling him that he is not allowed to talk to his wife (me)the way he did to me one day before.

The guy yelled back at him saying that my cooking stinks and his house stinks - same pt again and again.

When I couldn´t hold back any longer, I told him I didn´t believe what he said. Because we were on holiday for a few days before (which meant that there was no cooking) and when we came back, the window was open again. I said "Are you telling me that the smell takes such a long time to dissipate?"

He said that when we left for holiday to singapore, the house continued to stink of my cooking for one whole week!

I can´t believe this guy! I don´t cook weird stuff for crying out loud. I cook normal food- Chinese, Italian, normal sandwiches etc.....

When I asked him why he continued to open my window even during winter when its cold for me and I don´t come from a cold country, plus I pay rent and I deserve to have a warm apartment, he simply said that he doesn´t come from a cold country either (Croatia). Oh goodness. No matter how hot Croatia is, it can never be as hot as Singapore! This guy is not only stubborn, he´s also really so ignorant of where Singapore is!

I then said, "The difference is, I don´t go and open your window at night, but you open my window at night in winter!" To which, he started yelling at me about irrelevant things again and I simply stormed off.

So, basically he was insisting that I better leave my window open, EVEN THOUGH its cold in my apartment as long as he doesn´t have to smell the stuff coming from my kitchen.

This was the SAME guy who ignored our pleas for co-operation when we first moved in. Sleeping beside the stairs of the house, I was always awoken whenever people ran down the stairs and slammed the main door upon leaving the house.

We tried hanging a sign saying "please be quiet when you close the door" and he tore the sign down TWICE! When we asked him why he did it, he yelled at us saying that we just had to learn to deal with it, since we all live in the same house.

Hence, I used earplugs and it has not bothered me ever since.

So now Stephan used his own advice against him and told him he has to learn to deal with the smells, since we all live in the same house and there´s nothing we can do - we can´t possibly stop cooking just to satisfy him???

That guy simply ignored him and said that we should discuss the entire issue with the landlord.

Its not just a matter of our house being cold, its also a safety issue. When the window is completely open, robbers can easily climb into the house and our apartment would be the first one to be robbed! We live on the first floor - which does make us an easy target!

The thing that was so disgusting for me was that I think he was shocked when I answered back to him, after he confronted me. He literally was shaking and getting so angry! When he was talking to Stephan, he was pissed off, but when I opened my mouth, he was like exploding!

I´m so sure this guy is an MCP- male chauvinist pig who thinks women are nobodys.

He even told Stephan later "How old do you think I am?" To which Stephan replied something like that is really irrelevant to what we´re talking about now. He then said to Stephan "You are too young, that´s why you still listen to your wife!"

Ohmigosh. I almost fainted when I heard that!

Oh boy, I really need God´s grace for this. We´re so disgusted by the entire saga that we´re seriously starting to look for another place to stay.

PS. Don´t take me wrong. I like Croatians. My close friend, Tina is half-Croatian and she´s the sweetest girl ever. I just used "Croatian" neighbour so that this person has a "name".

Some other minor difficulties:-

- Constipation!
I´ve been having constipation ever since I moved back even though I don´t think there´s anything significantly different about my diet. Been trying to drink more prune juice, take Fybogel etc and hope and pray that it will get better. I think the entire weather change, from hot to cold, stress with the neighbour and all has taken its toil on me.

- Not being paid at work
My school´s HR matters are dealt with by the Munich office. As teachers we have to submit our transport claims before we can get reimbursed. Lately there has been so much bureaucracy and red tape, that I sent and re-sent my forms 4 times over a period of 5 months. Long story cut short, this resorted in the school owing me over 800€.

After months of frustration, emails etc, I finally received about 500€, with an outstanding 300€ because the Munich office claimed that the Nov 2008 expenses were "overdue".

I was so frustrated because I sent in my Nov form 4 times! The Munich office kept changing rules for the transport claims and I had to re-send it so many times and now I was denied payment.

Just when I was about to give up hope, my boss came up with a brilliant idea and went straight to the big boss of the Munich office. Apparently the big boss is way more competent than the people who had been dealing with my transport expenses.

Hence, I WILL get my money after all....after a 5-month wait! Amen! Praise God! At least one silver lining at the dark clouds.

Yup, so you can see why I struggle to settle back into Germany.....Any prayers, comments or notes of encouragement would be deeply appreciated!

(OH btw, I feel SOOO much better after blogging about it! Its like I managed to unload all this toxic poison that has been going around in the house! I´m actually smiling again!)

18 comments:

Sabrina said...

Hey lil sis,

wow, what a nightmare to come back to. But whenever things like this happen and bring you down, just take a deep breath and think of your amazing time in Singapore and Bali. There are plenty of people out there who would be more than happy to take double the amount of $h.it for four weeks off in such amazing locations. It's only been a few days, things will get so much easier once you are back in your daily routine.

Long weekend for you already... :)

xx

Pris said...

Dear big sis!
A big THANKS to you for always being my faithful reader, encourager and commentator on my blog! :) We went for a superbly nice grill and baptism today- the sun was shining, we had our first taste of BBQ after a long winter and boy! I´m happy to be back in Germany again! Feel so much better after I blogged about it and if anything, this just makes me doubly-happy that Stephan is not an MCP! Love ya! Pris

lilacdropsofdew said...

hi pris, gosh, i am very astonished to hear that about your neightbour, it doesn't seem easy at all. Pray that things do get better, and that this guy will soften somehow. Guess the best thing now is also try to avoid him as much as possible? take care dear! andrea

Pris said...

Dear Andrea!
Thanks for reading and your prayers! That neighbour is a real pain in the axx. Some days he´s "fine"- meaning he leaves our window alone, on other days he keeps opening it (even though we open the window anyway, when we cook).

Possible Solutions said...

Could it be locked from inside?
Few options:-
Discuss with landlord.
Report to police if threatened. After all, we pay the police through income tax.
Pray without ceasing.
If all fail, move to another place...

Beau Lotus said...

Arrgh, what a horrible neighbour you have!!!! But you are lucky Stephan sticks by you and didn't stand by letting that guy insult you.

He certainly sounds MCP, racist, grey matter-challenged and thoroughly unreasonable. If you can open his window you should try doing it whenever you cook too. I don't understand how he could open your window so easily though...

He's lucky he's not my neighbour or I'll find some way to venge myself for sadistic pleasure.

Pris said...

Dear Dad
We can close the window from the inside, but any of the neighbours can open it again.

We have a main front door (that leads to all 3 apartments). Once you enter in, you go up the stairs and the first door on the right is the main door that leads into our house (which only we can enter, of course).

On the left of our main door, in the stairway, is the window,(where all the neighbours have access to). Hence the Croatian neighbour is able to open it from the inside. Which is why we can close the window, but anyone of our neighbours can open it again.

The option with the landlord won´t work, because they are very old people, who won´t listen to our complaints. We´ve tried complaining about some noise before from the neighbour and we just got a earful from the landlord instead.

The Police- this isn´t a criminal issue. That´s why the police won´t have anything to do with this.

Praying- that´s what we´re doing, but we´re also keeping a lookout for available apartments. Not like urgently, but keeping an open eye.

Pris said...

Hey S.
I liked the expression "grey matter challenged" hahaha!

The window is sorta a common window in the stairway that all neighbours have access too. We´re unable to lock it because its outside our apartment. Our main door is directly in front of the window, which makes it cold in winter, since our door is not airtight. And that´s also why anybody with itchy fingers can open it.

The thought of opening his window 2floors up did cross my mind, but I think that if I DID do that, world war 3 would be waged.

Grace said...

Hi Pris

Yr neighbour probably has plenty of pent up frustration which he is taking out on u. Don't let him. Suggest you try putting towels at the door sill or install a full length thick curtain about 2 metres from yr main door to keep the cold air out. Something like how yr dad used to keep the aircon in his home theatre area at the Green Meadows home. Take care.

Sabrina said...

As if I let my brother be a MCP... :) Hihihihihi...

Pris said...

Dear Grace, thanks for your advice. We´ve thought about that idea and will start looking for nice stuffed toys to put on the doorframe. Its just that everytime I close the window (when he opens it), I have to fight the urge to walk up to his floor and open HIS window too. And it frustrates me!- that some stupid idiot keeps opening MY window. But I´m thinkig of how to break this cycle..and if he won´t stop opening my window, I´ll have to learn to live with it. I think once I stop closing my own window (and just let him do what he wants) AND not be bothered about it, ´that´s when I´m going to really step of this cycle.

Pris said...

Sabrina- hahah, that´s true! Stephan had great training not be an MCP with you as his younger sis! heehee

Grace said...

Glad to hear that you are taking the non-confrontational route. Very often our reaction to being wronged would be to strike back, get even and do unto him what he has done to us. It is our human nature. Let's see what our Lord's advice is: 1 Peter 3:8-9,Matthew 5:38-42, Matthew 5:9, Romans 12: 17,19.

Pris said...

Dear Grace, thanks for your advice and understanding! :) Will check out those verses! Mother´s day is coming eh? How are your children intending to celebrate it with you?

Grace said...

My children will probably make some Mother's Day card for me or buy me small stuffed toys. In the past my son has bought me flowers and plants as he knows I love flowers. Anyway, I think most ladies love to receive flowers but yr dad disagrees with my view.

Pris said...

Oh Grace, I lOVE flowers too! :) Oh yah, my dad is not the romantic type, hahah. Coming to think of it, Stephan doesn´t give me a lot of flowers either! Hah, I think he used to give me more flowers when we had a long-distance relationship!

cuclainne said...

Gosh Pris, your neighbour sounds like a piece of work. At Elias' old apartment, we lived on the ground floor too - i've cooked plenty of times, even using belachan some and had the windows open when i do this. Thankfully none of the neighbours said anything, even when we had durians in the house. I wonder what your neighbour would have to say about that ..

Pris said...

Dear Cuclainne! :) So nice to have you drop by my blog! Heehee. Thanks for your comments! Its true, we do have pretty terrible neighbour(s). Anyway, we have decided that until we move out of the place, we would want to maintain the peace in the house. Hence, from yesterday onwards, we have decided to keep the window open all the time, esp. since its getting pretty warm these days. And oh boy! If we DO eat durians or belacan at home, I´m SO sure he´s going to bang on our doors again...

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