January 30, 2002
Lease Signing Day
I was called for a second interview at one of the schools that I had been to. They had a class for me, but I needed to meet with the director. When I went in, she was all smiles. She explained that the class was for a group of architects, five in all. We will meet on Wednesday evening for two units of forty-five minutes each and then again on Friday morning for another two units. The class will last for sixteen weeks. She gave me the books that we would be using and an orientation to the school’s library, staff room, and paperwork. Rather than an interview, this was more of a “Welcome aboard” meeting. I was thrilled with the assignment and think that it will be very interesting.
We will sign our lease for the new apartment today. As of February 15th, our address will change. Since many of you are not keeping up to date with this journal, I have sent the change of address as a separate e-mail. Updates later…
Well it is a done deal. We signed the lease and what a process that was. It was easier buying our house than what this experience turned out to be. We needed a letter signed by the owner stating that he gave permission to use the apartment as the ‘seat’, a Hungarian term, of our business. He had agreed ahead of time, but being the cautious one that I am, I had the realtor put the stipulation in the lease, so there was not chance for a problem after the ink dried with our names on the lease. I had e-mailed the attorney ahead of time asking for this letter so that we would have it at the lease signing. It was in my e-mail last night. He sent two copies, one describing the owner as a business that owned the apartment and one as an individual that owned the apartment so that we had both options. Each was done in both Hungarian and in English. Just as a safety measure, I saved both copies on disk and took the disk with me in case there was a problem, the realtor could make adjustments, and we could get it signed.
We met at the apartment to go over the inventory of what was there, something that I had insisted on since the daughter of the owner was living there last and had many personal items still there. Since we had made a point of this fact, much of it was cleaned out since we last looked at the apartment. They also brought in most of things that we insisted on having such as an iron with an ironing board, a vacuum cleaner, microwave, television, more blankets, sheets, and drapes for the master bedroom window.
The realtor, who is a dynamic young person, had his Palm Pilot type devise and did a room-by-room inventory with his wife while we were there. Ron and I inspected the apartment for things that were broken or not working. The owner was not available, but had given his twenty-two year old daughter written permission to sign on his behalf. You could tell this process was wearing on her and she was tired of being under the microscope. Life is like that so it is beneficial for her to learn this lesson early on. It took an hour and a half for the inventory to be completed. In the meanwhile, we found a handle on one window that came off in our hands, a hinge missing a screw on the medicine cabinet, a crack in the bathroom mirror, and a chunk of tile missing from the tub. They are to fix all of these things by the 15th, but even if they do not, which does not matter to us, it is recorded. I tested every shade, both regular and security. I had the realtor specify what plants could be tossed and what had to be kept. Since no one had been living there, there were dead plants all over. She has dried flower arrangements all over the kitchen, living room, and some in the bedrooms. They have to go too. She gave us permission to dump them and they will go the first thing. They are not attractive dried flower arrangements, but look like what was once fresh flowers that have never been tossed when their souls escaped and now are just decayed resemblances of what they once were.
After Andras finished typing the inventory, we went over it room by room to verify it. He put in every spoon, fork, cup, and little piece of plastic that was left there. This is what was so time consuming. Now let me divert for a minute. He has this mobile phone which is about six inches long, and about four inches thick. The phone opens lengthwise to reveal a full keyboard Palm Pilot type device. From this, he was able to e-mail the list back to his office where it was printed.
We all piled into the daughter’s car and drove to the office for the signing. We each read the lease and made any changes that we did not agree on, which were minor and few. First, I wanted an original copy of her father’s permission for her to act on his behalf, then her signature on the permission to use the apartment as our business base. She did have a problem with this since there was no period included. Andras said that this would have to wait until it was included, but I whipped out the disk with both versions on it for him to make the necessary changes and she was willing to sign it. Grateful that I thought ahead, we were able to move on and sign the lease. At this point, I had to turn over 280,000 forints, which is the equivalent to $1,000 for a security deposit. That was the most difficult part of the whole ordeal. We had to shell out $900.00 for our current apartment’s security deposit and will supposedly get that refunded minus the final utility payments and cleaning costs a couple of weeks after we vacate. That is officially February 23, but we will be gone sooner.
My head was reeling with details, figures, and plans that needed to be recorded somewhere in order to stay focused and organized. In the meanwhile, Ron had been confident enough now to deliver his resume to other schools. He has been making lists of schools that sound interesting to him and goes in person to drop off his credentials. After his first interview, he has become a changed person. His confidence has taken a dramatic turn for the positive and he makes his plans and rounds with enthusiasm. When he went to one school, he was able to speak with the director immediately. She is an American and the school has over fifteen teachers. She tried selling him on teaching there more than his having to be interviewed. She said that they did not have any vacant classes at the moment, but that he was welcome to come to a faculty meeting on Friday to meet the rest of the staff, which he plans on doing.
This evening we went to Dawn’s for dinner. She had a co-worker over, a Hungarian woman named Aggie. She was a delightful person and full of Hungarian history, since this was her major in college. For a young person, she has an incredible work history, being a business consultant for some major companies. She was offered a position at Audi, but refused it since she would lose her independent status. Aggie also had a catering business for years and loves to cook. She is going to take us shopping and translate items that we need to know and also to show us where the best cheese store in Budapest is located. She has offered to give Ron cooking lessons after he expressed this interest and of course, I supported the idea. Why would I not, I will be a beneficiary. It was a wonderful evening and Dawn sent us home with a bag of books that she has read and no longer wants. Dawn is thrilled to have us here to have ‘playmates’ available and we are grateful to have her here since we have known her the longest of our Budapest circle.