Friday, July 15, 2016

F*oreign You
So I have to admit to being a little annoyed that after all the work I did to get people to offer Tina and Job a place to stay rent free with part-time jobs included, I ended up being the one to apologize for disappointing them. I hate having any tension with people in my group so I just explained to Tina that sometimes I feel like she thinks everything comes easily to us, and that it doesn't take dozens of hours and repeated attempts and many awkward conversations to line up every opportunity for them. I asked if she thought I was angry with her. What could she say? She said no. I said she was right, but I was frustrated because I thought she should at least consider staying in the place we found them that was rent free, Grey Gardens or not, for two months to get medical care and save money while we looked for a better place, but she just grunted about my emotional display and flat out refused the offer on the table. She feels it is too far away from her friends and too isolated of a location. Well, listening to me talk made me feel better so I guess the air is cleared. I figure I understand 65% of what she says so the percentage is probably equivalent on her end. I was also pretty amazed, if not incredulous that F's student managed to get us a real estate agent who had a perfect apartment for them and was willing to work with us. Unfortunately, not one of us was surprised when the whole deal fell apart. 

Tina daydreaming about having a really nice apartment.

The real estate agent, Valentina, is a friend of F's student Gabriella, who also is an architect who also rents out a room by the week in the city. F assumed and he witnessed them talking about the fact that the apartment was for our Nigerian friends and that it was hard to find apartment contracts for foreigners, that is people from Africa, Pakistan, China, and other primarily non-English speaking countries. Valentina told me today that she would not have wasted anyone's time if she had known that the apartment was for Nigerian people because these home owners would never approve them. Today we got an email from Valentina saying that the apartment owners did not want to rent to Africans because they were worried they would fill the apartment with family members or friends who needed a place to stay. She also said it was a disadvantage that Tina is pregnant because Italian homeowners fear they will not be able to throw a mother and newborn out on the street if the rent goes unpaid at some point in the future. I begged her to consider that they had gotten a raw deal and had done the best anyone could be expected to do under the circumstances. I offered to sign a sworn statement that I would personally guarantee as to the number of people who could sleep in the apartment at any given time. I begged, I cajoled, I pleaded. In the end, she said she would talk to the owners, but that if she were me she would not hold much hope. 

It was awful to have to tell Tina, yet again, that another possible home fell through because people had realized she was Black. I mean that is the long and the short of it. The baby is due in exactly a month. I encouraged her to use the network of Nigerians at her church to spread the word that we had money to pay a comission to anyone who can help them get a rental contract, without which they will not be able to get health care outside of the emergency room or a regular doctor visits for the baby. 

I also feel a bit badly because until the work comes through it is true that the proof of employment that they have to offer potential apartment owners is that of friends of theirs. In other words, we are all, out of desperation, not being entirely acting on the up and up. We can't be sure the agricultural job we are hoping to get them will come through in August, althought it would sure solve a lot of problems if it did. 

Meanwhile, we still don't have hot water at our own place because the whole boiler has to be replaced. It rusted through less than a year after it was bought in what was theoretically a new and unused condition. We had to figure out how to turn off the hot water and empty the tank so as not to cause damage from a flood to the entire palazzo.. Ironically, I had to call and apologize (doing lots of apologizing lately) to our current landlord for disturbing him on his vacation cruise because he bought boiler that crapped out after less than a bear; and it turns out he has to have his plumber buy our new boiler from our old landlord who we know is horrible cheapskate. 

Here. Enjoy my friend Patrizia's kitten: 
At least Patrizia, who is not a foreigner here, finally got her housing issues resolved!

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