Thursday, January 24, 2002

Another Interview

Another Interview As exhausted as I should have been with the little sleep I have been getting, I was up until 3:30 am last night reading. I have an interview today with yet another school, but it is not until 2:30 pm. Appointments have superceded my well-intended plans for getting up early and starting to write. Today we have an appointment to see the apartment that set Ron on fire. I had not seen him this excited for a while. From there, I will have an hour to get to the interview. Ron took me to the apartment and we walked around the neighborhood. Of course, he pointed out all of the best features first, like the large grocery store and the fresh produce market that sits outside of it. The tram is a long block away and one of the subway lines is two blocks away. Across the street is the Budapest Department of Transportation as close as we can figure, so there are not a lot of noisy neighbors. The street seemed quiet enough and not filled with traffic. There is a jazz club within the block and a Latin American restaurant on the corner. The outside of the building looks like most Budapest apartment complexes, old, worn out, and ignored. That is one of the features that I appreciate the most, the humble façade. We met the agent outside and waited for the owner’s daughter, who was late. The agent decided to start without the daughter, but it turned out she was waiting in the apartment. The elevator worked well and was reasonably modern for this part of the world. From the fourth floor, we walked out on the balcony and around to the apartment. Sun was spilling into the courtyard, making it light and clean looking, a change from our current living space. When you walk into the apartment, to the immediate right is the kitchen. Let me remind you that in our current apartment we have a kitchen and living room combination. This was a separate kitchen that was large enough to have a table and four chairs, cupboards on two walls, modern appliances and plenty of room to walk around even if there were four sitting at the table waiting to be served. The window overlooking the courtyard provided lots of natural lighting. Now turn around and walk out of the kitchen and before you is a large hallway. To the immediate right is a walk-in pantry with floor to ceiling shelving. Next to this is a half bath with a toilet and a sink. The full bathroom is the next door on the right. It is equipped with a tub and shower combo, not my favorite, but I could survive, a toilet, a bidet, and a washing machine. The drying line is up at the ceiling, it raises and lowers for use, so it is almost out of sight when not being used. Opposite the pantry and baths starting from the entrance door is a row of closets for coats, clothes, and cleaning supplies. Beyond these closets on the left is the master bedroom. It is huge. A queen size bed is in this room along with a small sofa, chairs, and a small wardrobe closet. There are two large windows that overlook the courtyard adding light to the room. From the master bedroom, you can enter the second bedroom. In here, you will find a double bed and another sofa and chair. There are bookcases with glass doors along one wall and the window to the street provides for wonderful lighting. There is a small, one chair balcony off this room. When you walk out of the second bedroom, you are in the living room. This room can also be entered if you made a straight shot from the kitchen through the hallway. The living room is huge also. There is a sofa, two armchairs, and a very large L shaped computer desk. Both walls have book case cabinets. There are two large windows in this room that also overlook the street. Walking through the living room on the other side is the third bedroom. This bedroom hosts a single bed, a desk and a chair as well as more bookcases. This room is going to become our little classroom for individual and small (2-4) group instruction. Almost all of the rooms have the old, original decorative molding at the tops of the walls and those fancy decorative things in the middle of the ceiling that look like a chandelier should be hanging from them. I am sure one of you knows what that is called, but I do not. Almost all of the rooms has a dual lighting system. You can choose between subdued lighting which are four unusual bulbs in the four corners of the room, or brighter lighting, which are other bulbs. Each room is fully furnished almost to a fault. The walls have attractive pictures on them, but the bookcases are loaded with books, in Hungarian, otherwise, I would not complain about them, compact disks, and dead plants. The kitchen has jars of preserved food that look like bottle of ptomaine poisoning waiting to happen, plus old dried flowers that are crumbling. There are still clothes in closets even though the apartment is vacant of people. The daughter of the owner was living here until she was married. Then she moved into her husband’s home and there was no room for most of her personal belongings. Ron had gone through the first time and looked at aesthetics, but I went through and looked at practicalities. Are there enough electrical outlets and phone jacks. Who was going to clean this stuff out of here? Would it be zoned to doing business operations? What would the utilities run us? Was the heat gas or radiator? Do the security screens work? Is it hooked up for cable? Are they going to supply a television since there was none? Were they going to put in a microwave? With my best poker face, we said that we would have to talk it over and would call the agent that afternoon or the next day. We left there and found a quick bite before I had to go to an interview. We had fifteen points that needed to be covered with the agent and agreed upon prior to making a firm decision. Some we could be flexible on and others were non-negotiable. While I went to the interview, Ron went back to the agent’s office. The agent, who is a former college Economics instructor, called back that afternoon and made an appointment for with us to meet with the owner, the next day, to come to terms on our needs. He also returned with the name and number of an attorney that the realtor/former Economics instructor has worked with and recommended. He said the attorney could do all of the paper work we needed for permits and setting up the business and avoid the Ex-Pat Relocation Center. He said they were good, but overpriced. Ron called and we have a meeting with him in the afternoon. When checking the e-mail, I had a message from Berlitz. They set up the second interview for tomorrow. Berlitz has 350 locations around the world, so after being employed by them, the opportunities are endless for teaching in various parts of the world or for management prospects. Their system of teaching, their pedagogy is closing linked to my ideal methodology and therefore, it is an exciting chance to train in something that closely resembles what I had researched for my dissertation. There is a year commitment for the free training or they want big bucks in return. It only makes sense that they do not want to put the time and money into training you and then have you go off and teach for some competitor.

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