My husband had a job offer in another city, so we went there several months before the starting date to search for apartments. We only had bicycles at the time, so it was necessary for us to live close to his working place. To the east of where he would be working there was nothing. Just forest. We would be starting from the immediate west and moving further in that direction if we did not find something satisfactory.
My husband warned me that when he had lived there before he had seen some places in terrible states when searching for an apartment. After seeing what the outsides of the buildings looked like I was prepared, but to actually think we could seriously be living in such a place... The moment you walked inside the building you knew the decay and dilapidation was not only on the outside. The buildings were incredibly old and were kept in a poor condition. Chips and cracks were simply painted over or had carpet rolled on top of them.
The neighbours were noisy and very antisocial. In some buildings all nearby residents would immediately stop talking and glare at us until we were gone. Some even played pranks on us as soon as it was revealed we weren't already living in the building. Many played loud music that you could hear clearly from the opposite end of the hallway.
As for the actual apartments... People left those in an even worse condition. Some apartments we were shown by the superintendent still contained the abandoned filth and mouldy half-eaten food of the previous residents. There were cracks and holes in the floors and walls. The bathrooms were full of mildew and the bathtubs, sinks and toilets encrusted with years of dirt and excrement. Decades of pigeon faeces coated the balconies.
Eventually we developed an eye for spotting such disgusting buildings from the outside appearance and we skipped appointments multiple times when we arrived to see what should have been a derelict building.
There were other buildings close to the workplace, but they were out of our budget when I had not been approved to work by the government.
Far out west from my husband's future workplace we came across some small low-rise apartments. The superintendent was a very friendly person and kept the building in the best condition possible. This was the first building we encountered that actually shined inside. At the time we visited it was very quiet and everything gave the appearance of being a million times better than what we had seen before. Although it was expensive, we took the apartment.
Nothing could have prepared us for the nightmare we had to endure afterwards. It turned out we had taken an apartment in an area filled with drug dealers and prostitutes. We heard gunshots outside several times and in broad daylight too. Hardly anyone in the entire building was considerate of anyone else. Our apartment was right above the entrance and the residents would often have loud conversations and/or fights there at 2 or 3 in the morning. Not that we would have been sleeping with all the people coming by in their cars playing rap music loud enough to make our windows shake.
Our neighbours above us were not much better either. They would constantly be dragging their furniture across our ceiling, day and night. Their children would wrestle on the floor past midnight, making an enormous racket. They seemed to bowl in their kitchen every single morning, too. We tried to ask them politely to lower the noise level of the furniture-scraping. We even suggested an item that could lower the noise so they didn't have to lift the furniture if it was heavy. The lady immediately got defensive and from then on went crying to the super that my husband had threatened her and that her children were traumatised by us asking for some peace and quiet! Needless to say, our complaints fell on deaf ears from then on and we hardly ever slept for an entire year.
Our other neighbours consisted of a woman and her older husband. The woman was a complete fishwife who beat her elderly husband and yelled at him at least once every day while stomping about slamming doors and throwing ob
There was only one supermarket in the area for the mass of high-rise buildings surrounding us, all overflowing with poor people. This meant that as soon as there was a sale, people were stampeding the supermarket, grabbing all that they could from the shelves. I loathed shopping there.
Things were so expensive I could not afford to do anything interesting because it always involved travelling far away. I wasn't allowed to work and the winters were long. This meant that I was stuck indoors the majority of the time, listening to the neighbour rearranging her furniture for the millionth time that day.
I am so glad I no longer live there! At least now I am able to recognise the more subtle signs that we are not in a good area and have learnt to do my research more thoroughly before moving into a place.