Balkan Reflections

This blog has been set up to assist in communicating with friends and family while we are in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Location: Ontario, Canada

Striving to a better day.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I was warned by something I read on a website that things would be different here with regards to landlord tenant relationships.

That is certainly the truth.

When we arrived, we had a welcoming party to watch us unload.

I was invited down for coffee by the landlady (I did mention that I don’t, or certainly didn’t at the time, speak a word of Serbian?). It was a bit painful, but I went to be polite. Her son was there, so he could translate a bit…when he wasn’t enthralled in his TV show. But mostly I just smiled and nodded.

When dh and I went to pay the rent the first time, we’d just arrived home from getting groceries. They were still in the car! But we didn’t know how to say ‘no’ when we were asked in, and weren’t sure it was a good idea anyway.

I had to say no another time, as the baby was sick. I have not been asked again.

And the houseplants…mostly African violets. About 20 of them. After the first week we were here, they checked to make sure I was caring for them properly.

I guess at some point they decided I wasn’t. After our trip to Croatia, we arrived home to find all the plants taken from our girls’ room. That was actually a relief. It reduced the humidity!

Also upon arrival home from that trip, I discovered all the plates had been moved to a bottom cupboard…no word of explanation. Good thing I found them before the baby did.

Last week, we discovered what I had suspected from the time we arrived here. We have a mold infestation. It was first evident in the girls’ room by characteristic black spots in the room corner. Ah! This might explain why we’ve been ill?? I have been keeping the windows open for a while in the mornings.

One disadvantage to radiant heat is poor air circulation. A fan would probably help the problem immensely.

Last weekend, while our Serbian tutor was here, the landlord and his son’s girlfriend, who speaks some English, came up to tell us about keeping the windows open (“or we’d have a bad problem”…no kidding…). They reminded us that we can run the electric heat/AC/dehumidifying unit to keep warm while the windows are open. And we are to leave the windows open when we’re out of the apartment…

Then they went on to tell me that I needed to make sure the washer was very full when I ran it. Very full. Or it would be bad…we should read the book. Book? We didn’t get a book! The only problem with this washer the way I use it is that it nearly boils the clothes on any setting and everything is still nearly dripping wet when I take it out.

And anyway, how do they know the washer ISN’T full (and it's rare that it isn't full!) unless they’re in the apartment when we’re not here?

Yesterday, our tutor was here again. She said she was getting angry overhearing the conversation.

I heard a story from another expat about him waking up in his apartment in the morning to find the landlord watching TV and drinking rakija in ‘his’ living room. I can say that we haven’t had an experience like THAT…

God Bless


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