租房记 | Adventures in renting a room

Posted on 2022-12-17  159 Views


终于结束了惨兮兮的期末周,可以有时间慢慢来写碰到的有趣的事情,先从我的租房奇遇记来讲好了。

第一天到London,下了飞机原本找好的短租房东突然跟我说手机被偷,今晚不能接待了的时候,我有点晕乎乎的,脑子里已经在盘算机场呆一晚还是桥洞窝一晚了。

还好被同一班飞机的中国姐姐好心捡走了,一起去住了青旅。当天的房子已经被定的差不多了,只能住男女混住的十人间。但无论怎样,都比流落街头要强得多。何况青旅前台的服务员态度亲和,长得也好看,于是放心把手机给他倒腾订下了一晚上的房间。

提着大箱子吭哧吭哧上楼,一位背着一个大乐器盒子的老哥帮忙推开了一路的门,我忙不迭地说了一路的谢谢,并且最后鼓起勇气说了一句“have a nice day!”。这个看起来很酷的老外也很酷地回了一句“you too”!

于是我到了我的房间,于是我推门进去。

小心翼翼地环顾了一周,两个老外正坐在床边闲聊,我只好鼓起勇气跟新室友打招呼。一个是中亚哪个“斯坦”来的小伙子,在这边工作边读书;一个是来旅行的苏格兰大哥。印象最深刻的是那个小伙,比我大不了几岁,但是会说五六种语言,他的英语还是两年时间自学的!我深深地自叹弗如了,希望这个坚毅勇敢的小伙子能一切顺利。

第二天我搬出了青旅,去找我“不靠谱”的短租房东。一早起来拎着我的全部家当,不熟路也不敢打车和坐公交,采用最为原始的方式徒步过去。当天正好赶上英国女王的葬礼,一路上都在交通管控,甚至在等红灯的时候还有警察闲聊问我是不是去看葬礼的。

我说不是,我来读书的。

上桥,从象堡过桥去考文特花园。走在桥上的时候大发感慨,绕了半个地球跑到这陌生的地方来,不同的街景、人种和语言,觉得自己好像在做一场不真切的梦,下一秒就要变成庄周的蝴蝶飘走了。

新房子地段很好,窗户望出去是一个城堡一样的博物馆,让我觉得自己住在古老的英伦皇宫里;我的房东姐姐更好,一谈发现居然还是本科校友,世界真小。我开始当跟屁虫,并且依样画葫芦地学会了坐公交,找中餐馆和中国超市。衣食住行都短暂地得到了解决。

中途还去住过几天airbnb,房东是一个很高大的黑人大哥,在房子马路对面开杂货店。因为住两个人要额外收费跟他争执了一下,但态度还是好的。这是我在这边第一个正经打过交道的有色人种,加上他的房子在郊区,环境很漂亮,所以印象很深刻。

后来我又回到考文特花园的皇宫来住,虽然是地铺,但是跟中国姐姐一起做饭逛街,加上还没有开学,日子过得很好。开学了以后更好了,因为到学校只用步行十分钟,我可以刚睡醒就晃到学校去上课,熬夜党真切地听到了福音。

半个月之后租约到期,我和我的房东姐姐瞬时沦为赤贫阶级。我帮着她把皇宫里的家当都打包好,叫了一辆面包车一样的胖Uber,逃到我们新的短租小窝去。新地方的名字我不会翻译:“Vauxhall”,我需要咬牙切齿才能念出第一个音节的发音。但是就在泰晤士河旁边,风景实在美不胜收。

对这个美景我也没有别的评论,只觉得“以乐景衬哀情”。

新的家没住几天,房东姐姐找到了房子,于是我强颜欢笑地送她搬家,一到周末就开始疯狂看房子。Vauxhall的房子是我住的最漂亮的,但也是最难过的。房间很小,一个人独处的时候面对压力免不了生出些自怨自艾的愁绪来。

找房子,便宜点的大多都很抢手,有一次看到一个价格美丽的房子,加上我一共有四个意向租客,我们一进门就把不大的公共空间占了个满满当当。

一个高大壮实的老外房东慢悠悠踱过来,跟我们一一打招呼,我们四个待宰肥羊面面相觑,看着他很严谨地用四张便利贴写了名字,再挨个问一些基本信息,场面堪比面试现场。待宰的肥羊只需要等着被挑,我还要想着怎样能给房东一个“把这个小屋当自己家一样爱护”的好印象。当然,最后也没把房子签下来。

在Spareroom上病急乱投医,最后只有一个老破小的房间中介回消息约了实地看房。我甩链接给房东姐姐,现在她变成了我的租房参谋,她直接一句“是人能住的房子吗”把我呛了回来。那阵子我们的微信聊天都变成了:
“你找到房子了吗?”
我沉默。
“盲猜一个没有(狗头)”
我更沉默了。

被催了很久“皇帝不急太监急”之后,皇帝也着急了。从vauxhall搬出来后又在摄政公园附近找到了一个短租。房东姐姐也是中国人,但是已经在这边是老伦敦了,养着一只胖乎乎的橘猫。也可能是猫猫带来了好运气,刚踏进11月初,我就找到了合意的房子。房租过得去,室友和房东人都很好,加上可以步行上学省公交钱,生活质量发生了质的变化。

可是安顿下来以后我又总是想起这段租房奇遇记。我的“伦敦印象”,很大程度上也要跟这段动荡不安但又妙趣横生的日子紧密相关了。读三毛的《雨季不再来》,她说:

“在我来说,旅行真正的快乐不在于目的地,而在于它的过程。遇见不同的人,遭遇到奇奇怪怪的事,克服种种的困难,听听不同的语言,在我都是很大的快乐。虽说一沙一世界,一花一天堂:更何况世界不止是一沙一花,世界是多少多少奇妙的现象累积起来的。我看,我听,我的阅历就更丰富了。”

我深以为然。流浪的日子不见得就比逛博物馆看戏剧要差,有时候想起来我还带有一点莫名的小骄傲。(我到现在还没有去逛近在咫尺的白金汉宫和大英博物馆,就跟去北京不去故宫和国家博物馆一样离谱。:))

最后想起一件最最好笑的事情。有一次跟打算一起租房子的朋友三个人去很远的市区北边看房子,回来的时候一个醉醺醺的流浪汉凑过来讨钱,我的朋友说:“我们没有钱了!我们被房东赶出来了。”结果流浪汉大哥很认真地开始掏钥匙:“你们可以来住我家”,一边晃悠着钥匙还一边念叨着问我们是不是今晚就没地方住了。我们笑着跑开了,也没真当一回事。被流浪汉提供房子,真是典型的英式幽默。

告别了朋友,还要走一段路去地铁站,郊区的路边稍显脏乱,还有白天路边摊的棚子没收起来。但看着熙熙攘攘的人群,和路边房子暖黄的灯,这么觉得就那么顺眼呢。


English version:

Finally, my miserable final week is over, and I can have time to write about the interesting things I encountered in this semester. Let me start with my adventures in renting a house.

On the first day I arrived in London, When I arrived in London on the first day and got off the plane, the short-term rental landlord whom I had made an appointment with suddenly told me that her mobile phone was stolen and was unable to offer me the accommodation tonight.

Fortunately, the Chinese friend I met on the plane kindly picked me up and we went to live in a youth hostel together. The house for that day was almost fully booked, so I could only live in a mixed room for ten people. But no matter what, it's better than wandering on the streets. What's more, the receptionist of the youth hostel was friendly and handsome, so I felt relieved to hand over mobile phone to him and he helped me book a room for the night.

Carrying a big suitcase going upstairs, a guy carrying a big musical instrument box helped to open the door all the way. I said thank you all the way, and finally got up the courage to say "have a nice day" !”. This cool-looking guy also coolly replied "you too"!

So I went to my room, opened the door and went in.

In the room, two foreigners were sitting by the bed and chatting, so I mustered up the courage to say hello to my new roommates. One is a young man from one "Stan" in Central Asia(seemingly Uzbekistan), working and studying in UK; the other is a relatively elder man from Scotland who travel here. What impressed me the most was that “stan” guy, who was not a few years older than me, but could speak five or six languages. His English was taught by himself in two years! I felt a sense of adoration, and hope that all the best for this resolute and brave young man.

The next day I moved out of the youth hostel and went to find my "unreliable" landlord. I got up early in the morning with all my belongings, knowing nothing about the transportation system so I didn’t dare to take a taxi or a bus, so I got to my “Rome”in a most primitive and tiring way - on foot. It was just in time for the funeral of the Queen that day, and traffic control was in place along the way, and even a policeman chatted and asked me if I was going to the funeral while waiting for the red light.

I said no, I came here to study.

Cross the Waterloo Bridge from Elephant & Castle to Covent Garden. When I was walking on the bridge, I felt a lot of emotion. Having walked halfway around the world and came to this strange place, with different street scenes, races and languages, I felt like I was dreaming an unreal dream, and it would change in the next second.

The location of the new house is very good. Looking out of the window is a museum like a castle, which makes me feel like I live in an ancient British palace; my landlord is also a nice person, and I surprisingly found out that she is an undergraduate alumnus during chatting. The world is so small. I started to be her follower, and learned to take the bus, find Chinese restaurants and Asian supermarkets. Basic necessities of life were settled briefly.

I also stayed in an airbnb room for a few days several days later. The landlord is a tall black man who runs a grocery store across the road from the house. We had a short debate about the fee of the room, but his attitude was still good and we solved the disagreement. With this experience, and his house is in the suburbs with a beautiful environment, I am very impressed.

Later, I went back to the "Palace" in Covent Garden. Although I had no bed only sleeping bag, I still lived a very good life. I cooked food, went shopping with my Chinese landlord everyday, and since school hadn’t started yet, I had no pressure. It was even better after school started, because it only took me ten minutes to walk to school, and I could go to school just before the class. Being someone who is used to stay up all night, I really heard the gospel.

Half a month later, the lease expired, and my landlord and I were instantly reduced to abject poverty. I helped her pack all her belongings, ordered a fat van Uber, left our "palace" and fled to our new short-term rental "nest". The new place has a strange name "Vauxhall", I need to gnash my teeth to pronounce the first syllable. But right next to the Thames, the scenery is really beautiful.

I don't have any other comments on this beauty, I just feel that "the joyful added to the sadness".

Jest several days after we move in, my landlord friend found a room to live, so I sadly sent her to her new home and start my living-alone days. Vauxhall's house is the prettiest house I've ever lived in, but it's also the saddest. The room is very small, and when faced with pressure alone, it is inevitable to have some sense of upset.

When looking for a room, most of cheap choices are in high demand. Once I saw a house with a good price, but I need to compete with three other potential tenants. The small public space was fully occupied when all of us entered the door.

A tall and strong foreigner landlord walked over slowly and greeted us one by one. We four sat together, watching him write our name rigorously on sticky notes, and then we were asked some basic information. The fat sheep waiting to be slaughtered just need to be picked, and I still have to think about how to give the landlord a good impression of "I will taking care of this room as my own home". Even so, I didn't get the room finally.

I was so anxious to find a place to live, but on Spareroom there was only one old and small room's agent who responded to my message and made an appointment for an on-site viewing. I shared the link to my landlord friend, who now has become my rental consultant, and she choked me back with a direct question, "Do you really think it is a house suitable for people to live in?" During that time, our WeChat chats became like this:
"Have you found a house yet?"
I just kept silent.
"I guess - no(doge)."
I became more silent.

After moving out of Vauxhall, I found a short-term rental near the Regent's Park. The landlord is also Chinese, but she is already live in London for more than ten year, with a chubby orange cat. Maybe the cat brought good luck, I found a room suitable in every aspect at the beginning of November. The rent is decent, the roommates and landlords are very nice, and I can walk to school to save bus fare, so the quality of life has undergone a qualitative change.

But after I settled down, I found I missed the days of renting a house. Meeting so many different people, setting foot on so many different place in London, my "Impressions of London" will definitely closely tied to these turbulent but interesting days to a large extent. I read a book of Sanmao, a famous female writer and traveller, in which she wrote:

"For me, the real happiness of traveling lies not in the destination, but in the process. Meeting different people, encountering strange things, overcoming various difficulties, and listening to different languages are all great joys for me. An old saying goes: "every grain of sand is a world, and every flower is a heaven", the world is more than just a grain of sand or a flower. The world is accumulated with so many wonderful phenomena. I watch, I listen, during which my experience was enriched.”

I really agree with her. The days of wandering are not necessarily worse than visiting museums and watching shows. Sometimes I think of it with a little inexplicable pride. (I haven't visited the Buckingham Palace and the British Museum, which are close at hand, just as outrageous as going to Beijing without going to the Forbidden City and the National Museum. :))

Finally, I remembered there was a funniest thing. I had a viewing with two friends who want to rent house together. When we came back, it was already dark, a drunk man came to ask for money. My friend said: "We have no money! We were kicked out by our landlord". Surprisingly, the guy began to take out some keys and said very seriously: "You can come and live in my house". We laughed and ran away. Being housed by a bum, what a typical British humor.

After parting with my friend, I still have to walk a long way to the subway station. The road in the suburbs seemed a little messy, and some people were putting away the street vendors. But looking at the bustling crowd and the warm yellow lights of the houses on the side of the road, my mood was light and comfortable.