I swear when I was in elementary school, I would have sworn a summer lasted a full year. It is true that the older you get, the faster time passes. Sometimes I think people believe I sit on my hands when they are not witnessing me obviously doing something, but it is far from the truth. I often get this impression from my students who think that all I have to do when not at school is sit in front of the computer waiting for them to turn in their assignment as it fits into their schedule. Even when I stagger assignments, so as not to overload them or myself, it never seems to work out. Regardless of the threats, they treat my due dates like a suggestion box.
A couple of weeks ago, PayPal froze our account. We could still accept payments, but was not able to do a thing with the funds that were in there already. Not that I had any intention of moving money around, but you leave these things and the problem escalates. PayPal sent an e-mail stating that since we received a total of 2,500 Euros during 2011, the EU law is that they investigate the account for money laundering. Would anyone even bother pulling out laundry detergent for that amount of money? My basket has to be a whole lot fuller before you’d get me close to the washing machine.
In order to remedy this situation, they sent me a list of things they needed from me to resolve this issue. I whipped together the documents they required, scanned them and uploaded them in their ‘Resolution Center’. I thought it was a done deal, but apparently not. The next e-mail now requested another list of utility bills to confirm our address. It seems that my National ID card and address card was not enough. Once scanned and uploaded, it was just a matter of time. Wrong again. The next e-mail stated that the ID card was blurred and could not be properly read, so it needed to be submitted once again.
This time I scanned my passport and sent that. No good, that was blurry too, they could not read it. All of these documents are coated for protection and this seems to confound the scanner, so of course they are coming out perfectly. Then the light bulb went on. Take a photograph of them. I did that with my phone. Perfect, they accepted these pictures, but now they could not find my utility bills. After scanning those again, I sent them along with the photographs again in one stuffed package. They finally recognized all of the material releasing the account. This took a span of 2 weeks, because of the delay in their reviewing the materials. Each time, they wrote, their logo includes “The World’s favorite way to send and receive money”. Ugh! Who says? What is the alternative: Western Union, which is much more expensive. After all of this they have the nerve to send a quality assurance survey to ask my satisfaction with the process. If they wanted my satisfaction, they would not have bothered me at all.
For the last year, we have been trying to get our money out of a regular savings account in the US into a money market or long term CD account. We had one, closed it to buy a property, but wanted to reopen it later. Bank of America gave me the run around for months, before I finally was told they wouldn’t due it due to money laundering concerns. All of a sudden everyone is clean laundry conscious. One day on my way home, I noticed that there was a for sale sign in an apartment across the street from us. I approached Ron with the idea of buying another apartment. There are many times, people want a self-catering apartment as opposed to a B and B, plus there are Fulbrighters each semester. When he came around to my way of thinking, I called the realtor who of course didn’t speak English. Fortunately for us, her colleague did and took over.
The apartment was too much work to get ready for renting and the bathroom was in a really weird place. Peter took us back to the office to look through their listings. There are thousands in Budapest alone. Once we narrowed it to district, square meters, had a lift, above the first floor, maximum price we wanted to pay, we were able to cut the list considerably putting us down to 233. After checking addresses, this cut the list down substantially. What was important was access to public transport. This gave us a list of a dozen.
We found 2 we wanted. One was on the “theater street” of Budapest, directly across the street from the Moulin Rouge; however, it was 5 stories up and the windows were insulated, so no noise, and a great view. The problem with this one was that it was one room that had a sleeping cabin made of sliding doors and glass block wall. The other had just been remodeled 2 years ago, but the owners are pregnant with child 2, but child one is still sleeping in the one and only bedroom. We took my Hungarian adult student and an American friend to look at both. Their opinions were sharply divided in opposite directions. The next day it was a moot issue. Someone made a binding offer on the theater district one.
One more look-see on the computer where we found 3 more to visit. We completed that tour this evening. This experience has taught me the opposite of not judging a book by its cover. We have looked at some fantastic buildings that one would think are just as lovely inside, yet the apartments are horrid. The layouts of the rooms are cut this way and that way, making no logical sense. At one time, these must have been huge places that were cauterized into miniscule pieces.
Tonight we make a decision, before this becomes our avocation. We leave mid December and Peter leaves in February. We want to get this in progress so we can start furnishing it before spring.