Ride

So this week has been somewhat repetitive, as I’ve gotten into the routine of working at the same school all week. Last time I wrote, I was about to leave for Sevenoaks to spend the weekend with a person who I had met only a week ago, as well as her family. Parts of me thought I was crazy and tried to convince myself that it wasn’t the safest thing to do. But I went for it anyway! I met Becky at the station at around 8 so we could take the train to Sevenoaks together, which was about a half hour ride. Her dad was at the station to pick us up in his huge Range Rover and drove us to their house, which was a little bit outside of town. When we got there, they had one of those automatic gates that opened into their property. Then the car drove under this archway that led into a type of courtyard, with a 3-car garage on the far side and their house to the right. He drove through one of the garage doors and parked next to a Porsche. We then went into their gorgeous house and I met her mom and grandparents, who were staying for the weekend. The table was beautifully set for six, with dinner plates as well as salad plates. I was offered wine and we were asked if we preferred sparkling or spring water for dinner(!!). Her mom had made a delicious gluten-free lasagna. Her family was extremely nice, and made me feel so welcome and at home! After dinner, we went to get ready for bed which is where I got the option to have my own room or just stay in Becky’s. Well, Becky’s room was probably about two times the size of mine, and it had an ensuite bathroom as well as a large walk-in closet with a bay window and an armoire to do makeup and hair and whatnot. Then Becky told me she’d show me how the shower works. Well I’ve had my fair share of tricky showers – loose dials, hard to move levers, crappy temperatures – so I wasn’t really expecting this to be any different. But then she pulls out this remote and shows me which buttons control the power, the temperature, and the pressure. What the heck?! I’ve never seen anything like this in my life! Also couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to turn on her lights in her room, as the switch had about twelve buttons. Anyway, we went to bed and then the next morning we went downstairs to have breakfast. Since it was light outside, I was able to see their backyard for the first time. And it was huge! To the right side, they had a big tiled area with a pool and hot tub. Behind the large windows of the kitchen, they had a tiled seating area. Then beyond that, they had a nice grassy area about the size of a small soccer field (around 2-3 times the size of our backyard), and then beyond THAT, they had their own private tennis court, which they use every Sunday morning to play with their neighbours. Whoa. Becky took me into Sevenoaks to show me around town for about a half hour before we met up with her parents and grandparents for lunch at a nearby restaurant. They informed us to get a proper meal since the rugby match didn’t start until 8pm and we wouldn’t be eating until after. By proper meal, I just thought they meant order something big and filling, like a burger and fries but everyone order a starter AND a big main dish. So I had an avocado salad to start, and the “chicken supreme” as a main, which consisted of a chicken thigh and leg, as well as a grilled lettuce head and a portion of fries. It was absolutely amazing; everything was marinated perfectly! And I was completely full by the end of it. Becky’s dad got up and paid for everyone’s meal and when I tried to pay him, he refused. We went back to their house to have coffee and watch the Canada/Italy rugby match (we lost), and then we got ready to go to London for the rugby match! Becky’s dad gave us our tickets beforehand, just in case we ended up getting separated and I was shocked to see an amount of 315 pounds on my ticket! Was I ever getting spoiled this weekend… The trip was somewhat hectic, as many of the train lines were closed, and the rest were extremely busy due to the rugby match. But we finally made it there among a sea of people! It was absolutely insane; I don’t remember something being that busy since I was at the olympics. We had quite a bit of time to chat before the game started and then we got to watch the game! It was so cool being able to sit in an England match while in England; the atmosphere is very similar to a roughriders game, except with 81,000 people. I caught on to the rules quite quickly as it’s similar to football, but there were still a few things I wasn’t so sure about. I just decided to follow Becky’s brother’s lead (who was sitting in front of me), and cheer when he cheered. The game finished at probably around 10 and then we walked and walked and walked to where our cab picked us up to take us home. We got back at around 12:30 and then had some tea before going to bed. The next morning, we had breakfast and then I headed back to London so I could get laundry and grocery shopping done. It was a great weekend, and it was awesome to leave London for a bit after being there for a month! 



 

 
On Monday, I went back to the dreaded school that I was at last week since I told them I would stay one more week. I definitely regretted my decision on Monday, when I had multiple classes with the year 10’s again. Wednesday and Thursday are my easy days because it’s mostly year 7’s, and then Friday is another bad day with a double period 10 class. Now that the week is over, my throat is aching, I’m losing my voice, and I’m ready to have a drink. These kids literally don’t care about anything, nor do I think they’ll ever care. They claim they can’t learn cause they don’t have a full-time teacher and they can’t learn on their own cause there’s nothing to learn and then they’re going to fail all of their exams. They don’t understand the term respect, nothing is their fault, and they have an excuse for everything. So many times, I’ll walk by a student and ask why they’re not doing any work.. “Oh, I don’t have my notebook.” So then ask for paper? Or “I don’t have a pen.” How many other students are in the room? Go find one! It’s literally like I have to go to each student and personally help them take a notebook and pen out of their bag, open it to a new page, and tell them exactly what to do. Because no one listens to instructions the first time. No one reads the board with the instructions written on it (since I know they don’t listen to the instructions). I kid you not, I actually have to individually tell each person what to do because 15 minutes into a work period, half of the class is still sitting there cause “I don’t know what to do.” I was definitely glad this was my last week there. But then Friday morning on my way to work, I received a phone call from my agent. “So I need to ask a favour of you… The school has chosen some possible science teachers but they still have to go through the interview process. If you could stay for another week, it’ll help me and the school out a lot..” Well, what could I say to that?! Everyone who knows me knows that I can’t say no. So I found myself agreeing, and really regretting it as Friday went on. The kids had to write a test, and no one in the class tried. A few girls just wrote their names on it and handed it straight back to me when I handed them out. Most of the class just spent the majority of the time talking and fooling around. I made it clear that this would be the last week. “Ok that’s good, cause I want to get you into another school because they’re looking for a full-time teacher to start January.” (!!) I’ve come to realise that (in my experience anyway), London people really don’t listen to what you say. No matter how many times you say “I want to stick to supply teaching” or “I’m only staying at this school for one more week” or “I don’t want a cleaning service in my flat” (will be explained later), they only take their own needs into consideration and completely disregard what you just said. I’m sure this isn’t the case for all Londoners but needless to say, I’ve been feeling EXTREMELY frustrated these past few days!!!!! 
 
Anyway, nothing crazy has happened this week. Jess and I have just spent our evenings in, watching tv and movies, and getting everything organised. On Wednesday morning, we both received an email:
 
“Dear All Flatmates,
 
We hope you all are doing well.
 
During last few months it has been observed that the cleanliness of your property has not been up to the standards. Therefore, as per your request following arrangement has been made: 
 
We have arranged Weakly Cleaners for your property. These Cleaners will only be responsible for cleaning communal areas and will not do dishes or bedrooms. Flatmates should take care of their belongings. We will not be liable in case of any loss.  
 
There will be 4 visits each month every Tuesday. Two visits will be paid by the company whereas, Flatmates will be charged for the remaining two visits.
 
Each visit by the Cleaner will cost:  £30. This amount will be added in your Direct Debit from next month onward. As your direct debit for the month of October is already through, so we the amount for cleaners will be double for next month and then normal from 28th November.
 
This initiative shall provide for a cleaner and better environment for all. We hope you will cooperate.”
 
What the heck?! Jess and I were both extremely upset about this, as we have kept our flat really clean and couldn’t afford to spend extra cash in order to have a random cleaner come in. I then received a text from the downstairs flatmate asking if I had requested the cleaning service to which I (of course) replied no. There was no way we’d agree to this happening! Once I got home, I wrote and sent this email:
 
“Mr. Muhammad,
We haven’t even lived in our flat for more than a month so your concerns about the cleanliness of our property during the “last few months” should not concern us. We have bought a bunch of cleaning supplies – broom, toilet cleaner, sink cleaner, kitchen cleaner, etc. and we have kept our flat extremely tidy (and considerably more cleaner than the conditions were when we first moved in). I’m not sure how you would have viewed our communal living space without giving us advanced notice to view the space (as that is illegal), but if you HAD, you would have been happy with the way our flat looked. Please supply me with a list of standards and proof of how we haven’t reached these standards. If you can’t prove that our living spaces don’t reach standards, then I refuse to pay the amount and will bring it up to the authorities. Having a weekly cleaner is completely unnecessary, especially when we’ve already put our own money into cleaning supplies. Please contact me by phone to discuss this: 07495382538. 
 

 

Janelle Achtemichuk”

 

 
There, that was that. We’ll just wait to receive a reply and hope for the best. The next day (Thursday), I didn’t receive a reply. But after work, I got a text from Jess asking if I had been to the apartment at all that day, to which I replied no. But someone else had! Someone came into our flat while we were both at work without either of us knowing and cleaned (or attempted to clean) our already clean flat. They basically just moved furniture around (and didn’t put it back), used the supplies that we bought, used the towels that Jess had washed the day before, and left blue cleaner in the toilet. We were LIVID, knowing that someone had been there without us knowing, feeling violated and worried since neither of us had our bedroom doors locked, as we weren’t expecting anyone to come in (especially cause it was Thursday, not Tuesday). Jess called the agent, who didn’t really say much and I resorted to my email writing skills: 
 
“Dear Mr. Muhammad,
 
Today we came home to our flat and were extremely upset and angry to find out that someone had been in our flat without our permission, and also without giving us any advanced notice. Someone had been inside our flat to clean it, even after we had both specifically said that we refused to accept this service. Not only had someone “cleaned” our apartment, but they didn’t put our furniture and materials back where they were previously, nor did they do a thorough job of cleaning the flat (as we have already done a better job ourselves). As we didn’t expect anyone to come in, both of our rooms were open and our possessions could have been taken without us knowing. Your email had said that cleaning would occur on Tuesdays and today is Thursday so we had absolutely no idea anyone would be coming into our flat. This is an ILLEGAL ACT and you CAN BE CHARGED FOR HARASSMENT!!!!!! 
 
“Tenants have the right to live without unnecessary interference from the landlord, and also prevent them or anyone on behalf of the landlord to enter the premises. If a landlord disregards the law and enters the property without permission, they could be prosecuted for “harassment.” The law that sets out the definition of harassment in this context is the Protection from Eviction Act 1977:
“The landlord of a residential occupier or an agent of the landlord shall be guilty of an offence if – 
(A) he does acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his household.”
 
You are required to give minimum 24 hours notice before coming into our flat and your email was hardly even sent 24 hours ago. Not only do we feel violated, but we feel unsafe living in our own home. This is a violation of privacy and should NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. We did not agree to have cleaning done and we refuse to pay for this cleaning session, or any other cleaning sessions in the future. I hope you realize how serious this issue is and if it ever happens again, we will have to take legal action.
 
Janelle Achtemichuk”
 
Excuse my language, but what assholes. They can’t do that! Ever! Absolutely ridiculous. They finally replied today:
 
“Hi Janelle Achtemichuk,
 
Thank you for your email and informing us about this. 
 
We have asked the maintenance team to give us a report that they this has happened and why a proper notice was not served before the visit. They informed us that they mentioned it in the email that was sent regarding the cleaners but very strict instructions have been given to them regarding this that no one should ever visit to the property without giving proper notice. We would like to apologize to you for this and we assure you that this will not happen again in the future. 
 
As per cleaners we have cancelled the service for your property and the cleaners will not visit your property anymore.”
 
Well thank goodness. So now that that’s dealt with, we can live at our flat in peace. Or not. A few hours later, we got yet another email:
 
“Dear Flatmates,
 
This is to inform you that the general house meeting has been scheduled for your property on Thu, October 8, 10am – 11am to discuss about general house issues as well as inspect the condition of the property.
 
Hope to see you all in the meeting.”
 

What the heck?! Can’t they just leave us alone already? Well Jess and I will both be working during that time so I guess we’ll see what happens. I still feel like they’re planning on coming to view our flat while both of us are at work, which we’re not okay with. After school on Friday, I went shopping to buy all of my baking ingredients to make cupcakes (which is actually really difficult – I don’t think people bake very much over here so they don’t have huge bags of flour or sugar, or packs of margarine cubes). Pretty sure these are the most expensive cupcakes I’ve ever made, since I didn’t conveniently have all the ingredients in my cupboard, nor did I have muffin tins, a hand mixer, or a cooling rack. On the plus side, they were worth every penny (or pence, I guess), as they were absolutely delicious! Unfortunately I had to eat about three of them so they could all fit in the container I bought for them 😛 Anyway, I’m really excited to just enjoy this weekend and relax! Hope everyone’s enjoying the beginning of October! Love always

Ride – twenty one pilots 

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