So here I’m going to have to condense things a bit as my mind is a bit fuzzy on the exact days things happened but I can say this is all stuff that happened in the first week. First thing Tuesday Neville and I had a fight about the internet – yes I’m sure you all knew that was coming. His basic answer to me was tough shit and there is a KFC that is open till 11:00 pm about 5 blocks from your flat – use the wifi there. Then he was angry about my comments on his “contents of apartment” list. He put down everything and I mean everything on that list. First off we had 3 spoons, 3 forks, 3 bowls, 3 plates and 3… well you get the picture. He even had 3 bottle openers as if we couldn’t share one of those. But he also had things like a bed and mattress that were in storage (in some undisclosed location) and even the light bulbs and shades on the light fixtures which I really thought was a bit extreme. Also how can I be responsible for items in storage somewhere in the apartment building (presumably the basement or attic or something) that I had no access to? So I pointed that out and used as much leaglize as I could muster up. Keep in mind I was raised by a lawyer and both my brother and sister are lawyers so it’s not like I had no clear understanding of terminology and I threw it at him.
Then there was the matter of the “house rules” which really were a bit childish and ridiculous like “no visitors” and the whole locking the door even if you are in the apartment and someone ran down to throw the trash in the bin. But there was one rule that really annoyed me and that was that we weren’t allowed to hang anything on the wall. Thing is before I got the rules (and as soon as I had unpacked) I did just that and put a poster with post-it tape up on the wall by my bed. Neville had been in the apartment while we were in class to fix the washer machine (which we were told not to use on Sunday but that would be fixed on Monday). When he saw the poster he removed it and took 1/2 the paint on the wall with it because he didn’t know that you could release the tape instead of rip if off. According to the rules I was now responsible and I wasn’t having that. Also he never bothered to indicate that the tile in the kitchen right by the door to our room was cracked and very discretely tapped up. Maybe he thought I wouldn’t notice and he could blame me later but I did notice and took ample photos.
So my email to him wasn’t well received and I was still pissed about the internet. On Tuesday our washing machine still didn’t work and though I didn’t need to do laundry yet I was annoyed with Neville so I reminded him about it. Also the toilet wasn’t flushing properly and we had to keep sticking our fingers into the tank to fix the plunging mechanism and really I’m not a plumber but even I knew it was one cheap plastic part that would fix the problem so I told him that too. I got this reply:I followed up on Leslie’s email and noticed the tile so yes, that has been noted and is not your fault. The toilet is working perfectly fine. The washing machine needs another !@#$%^&* part so we will arrange that tomorrow – if you are pissed about that then join the club. I have spent a lot of time this week trying to get it ready for you and the so called ‘experts’ in the shops have not been able to deliver. It will be done tomorrow or else I will eat the washing machine piece by piece for charity.
It didn’t get done the next day either, he didn’t eat the machine and YES there was in fact something wrong with the toilet.
On Thursday Neville came with the part and fixed the washing machine and then gave a bunch of instructions about it’s use to Louis who had returned home while he was still hooking it up. Louis had come upstairs and heard arguing in the apartment between Neville and his son so he hid in the hall for a while hoping they would leave. When they didn’t he finally went inside and Neville quickly finished up gave him instructions about the machines use (not to use it if you’re not home) and left. Let me tell you about washing machines in Europe. They are front loading and small but the cycle is as long as any other front loading machine or actually longer. I takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes for the machine to complete the washing. This one stopped on cycle 6 and if you didn’t push it forward it never finished to the end of cycle 8 and unlocked. Louis never got that memo. Eventually we figured out that the machine needed prodding and when I complained to Neville that he should have mentioned it to us he said “I told Louis.”
Another thing that happened that week was a book went missing from the school. And this is the email we received when it happened:We would like to remind you that ALL ITTP library books must remain in the office. Mila has let us know that a grammar book (number 1) has gone walkabout from the office today. Please note that if this isn’t returned by tomorrow then the full price of the book, plus transport charges, will be charged to the group as a whole. Certificates cannot be issued when there are outstanding debts. I’m sure the person who has it probably has it as a mistake but nonetheless, it must be returned tomorrow (Wednesday) to avoid everyone paying for a replacement. The same of course also applies to damaged books. We run courses almost every month of the year and the books are for all groups – hence the reason we insist that they remain in the office. Thank you and have a lovely evening!
Well I don’t know about you but I am not a fan of being threatened about money at every turn and there was this and the security deposit crap (if we used too much water, if the toilet was broken we did it and now the book?) Of course I went to Neville and asked for proof the book was missing. I mean how do I know you even had it and they had just moved offices and this was the first class in this location so how do I know if you did have it that it even made it over here on the move? He didn’t like any of that talk at all. But the thing that was the most ridiculous about this was that the book had been returned already, he just hadn’t bothered to tell us this. So he can freak out about stuff and accuse us and threaten but he doesn’t even bother to tell us it has been returned? His answer was Mila should have told you. Jacqui and I both told him that HE should have told us as he was the one who threaten us about it, not Mila.
Eventually, I think he got a bit worried about what our reviews of his school would look like if he kept pissing us off like this and he decided maybe it was best to try to be nice. His next email was this:Firstly, thank you all again for choosing this school and I’m glad that you all arrived safely and in 1 piece for your first week of study. This morning a few students mentioned to me that the class was a bit perplexed by my email earlier in the week, written as a result of a book going missing from the school library. I just want to reconfirm that the email was my second email to the class since arrival (the second email is pasted below this one for your convenience). Having spoken with the students who brought up the concern I completely understand and I am glad that they took the initiative to do so. Here is the dilemma: On the first day Mila clearly explains to everyone that all books must remain in the Training Center. On day 2 a book goes missing from the Training Center. As co-owner of ITTP it is my responsibility to maintain order within the Training Center. However, it is also my position within the company to manage applications. So, it’s a little like ‘good’ policeman/’bad’ policeman. If all goes as it should, if everyone respects our guidelines, then I fully enjoy my position as the ‘good’ policeman and I have a sincere interest in helping our clients. If something goes bad, if a guideline isn’t respected, then I need to exercise my right as ‘bad’ policeman and I act to solve the situation. We need to adopt a hard line regarding disrespect of the (not unreasonable) guidelines (as any school would). In my email to you all I explained that if the book was not returned then the charge would be divided between the class. This was correct. However, it was wrong of me to mention that your certificates could be withheld and I am sorry for any stress caused as a result of this statement. The book was returned so thank you to the person for respecting the guidelines and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the rest of the course… If I offended anyone then I sincerely apologize and that was not the intention.
Meanwhile Ashley and I started seeing Prague in ernest from Tuesday after class and everyday on from there. We had a guide book or two or three and would pick an area or a place and go. We invited the whole class but most of the time it was only us and one other person. There was a whole lot of poverty, studying and other things going on so we just did our own thing every day and whoever joined was more than welcome. It was great having someone who wanted to see everything just like I did. We went to crazy tourist places like the Museum of Sex, the Museum of Torture and the Ice bar. We went to cultural places like the Magic Fountain and the Jewish Quarter. We hiked to Petrin, the summer palace and to Vyšehrad. I can say for sure that there wasn’t anything in Prague we missed. It’s not a big city but is sure is pretty and if you get lost well then eventually you get unlost. I took over 1100 pictures of Prague (just Prague) to prove it. So while issues with Neville occupied my day; my evenings were occupied with new friends, foods, sights, sounds and smells and it was good.