One Saturday I’m catching up with family and friends on Facebook when I receive a message from our landlord saying that our electric bill (for the first two weeks in the country) has arrived and we owe $262 dollars.
I laughed it off as I was sure that he had added an extra zero (as they commonly do here).
After four thousand conversations, emails and coffees, it’s obvious that our landlord is going to stick to his guns. I don’t know about you, but we never had such an electric bill for an entire month in the U.S. I knew that this was not what I paid when I lived here twelve years ago and it wasn’t what my friends were paying. It wasn’t even what our neighbors across the hall were paying. Last, but certainly not least, it didn’t not make sense given the cost of living in Albania.
Our greedy landlord threw a wrench in our plans.
We were going to stay in Durres until October because Saranda is full of tourists from May until October. We didn’t have a problem with hanging out with all the Europeans that show up to sip strawberry juice on the beach, but we didn’t want to pay “high season” prices for housing. Our fictitious electric bill, however, kicked us in the pants and we set out to see what our options were.
A new Facebook friend let us stay at his home while we looked around Saranda.
We let a few people in Saranda know what we were looking for but knowing how slow things move here we decided to hit the streets ourselves. Winding our way through the city we called every number we saw in the windows of empty houses and apartments. Then we saw a sign on a building that had an office on the bottom floor. I went inside and inquired about a place but none would be ready until May.
Seeing my disappointment she referred my to another building just two blocks down the road.
We found an office manager inside who gave us a tour of what we now call “Trump Tower”. The common area was clean and had tables to sit and drink coffee (the most popular activity in Albania). On our way to the elevator the office manager informed me that a spa would be opening within a couple weeks…and then winked.
I knew I was home!
Nothing could have prepared me for the next ten minutes and I did my best to not show any signs of excitement as I knew that would drive the price up, up and away. The space was warm (most buildings are drafty and cold because they do not use insulation), beautifully decorated, with ocean views from every room. I was dizzy with joy.
After the tour we learned that the rent was less than what we were currently paying and it was move-in ready.
As I sipped my peach juice with the sun shining on my face, I couldn’t help but think about that $262 dollar electric bill and be thankful for it.
The next time life changes your plans –
Look for the silver lining –
Hungry for More, Monique Alvarez *Have you downloaded my free ebook, The Hungry Soul’s Manifesto? It’s all about remembering what’s important in life – creating purpose and passion, instead of just passing the time amassing stuff. p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!