Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blessings and Curses

It's been awhile since I've authored a post.  This is for two reasons:

  1. My life has more-or-less settled down into the working routine here in Krakow, and
  2. This is the first morning in six days when I haven't woken up ticked off.
As Laurel wrote about earlier, we've had trouble with someone moving around in an apartment next to ours and waking us up between 5 AM - 6 AM for the past five mornings, although it's usually closer to 5 than 6.  It sounded like exercise, but it's really difficult to tell where it's coming from.  Yesterday, I decided this would stop and I wasn't going to wait for my apartment owner to handle it.

I should clarify something: here in Krakow, people actually own apartments but may not own the building.  I think of it like a condominium.  So, although my apartment owner owns several units in the building, in Krakow, and even in other cities in Poland, he doesn't own every unit in the building.  This complicates enforcement.

We started by waking up the people upstairs above our apartment up at 6 AM.  This technically isn't against the few building rules that exist, as "curfew" is between 10 PM - 6 AM.  I recognize it's a bit of a jerk thing to do, but I want my sleep!  Anyway, they were very nice for us having woken them up at 6 AM on a Saturday, but they weren't the guilty parties; both of the units' occupants had been sleeping.

We rang more doorbells of the units around us, but no one answered.  Later (after lunch), we caught up with our neighbors from below and determined they couldn't be the cause.  Their arrival date and waking hours were not in alignment.  

At each point, I'm sending a text and/or email to my apartment owners to give them the idea that this problem is my #1 priority and I'll do whatever I have to to make it stop.  My search thus far had made my next-door neighbor the primary suspect, and fortunately my apartment owner also owns that unit.  They contacted the occupant, who was very surprised to hear of the problem.  Laurel and I also (independently) talked to the occupant, and I highly suspect we have our culprit.  The arrival date, waking hours, and some exercises all correspond to what we're experiencing.  We agreed that they would be a little more careful in the morning and Laurel and I would knock if the problem continued, thus we could at least get more information if it happened again (and they're already up, so no worries about waking anyone).

Fortunately, everyone in this situation was an adult about it and very nice.  I was getting progressively more ticked off as my sleep deficit grew, but most of my venting was focused at the apartment company who knew they had to make it better and understood my frustration.  Last night was our first full night's sleep in 6 days, and it was glorious.  I tend to sleep for 7-8 hours regardless, but Laurel is currently at 9 and still out cold as I'm writing this.

That's the "curses" part.  Now, on to the blessings.

A week ago, I passed my final actuarial examination.  I had taken this exam in early May and it wasn't until Friday, July 12 that results were released.  I still have two more requirements to get out of the way before I'm truly done, but those are less time-consuming, low-pressure, and will take more time than they should because of deadlines and travels.  Still, it's no longer a question of "if" I get there, but a question of "when."

I try to bring a few US customs to the office, and one of them was I brought some nice treats on the following Monday for my coworkers at the office.  They saw how big of a deal this was, and they're familiar with the designations from email signatures, so on Tuesday they got me a present.  

One is a pencil and one is a pen.  A pencil because I had made sure they all had mechanical pencils for their work, since every actuary needs a pencil for their math scratch work.  A pen because they see the final designation as the person who signs reports a lot, so I'd soon be signing reports and need a good pen.  This set will come back to the US with me and go straight to the office, and I will make sure the first report I sign will be with this pen.  I had not expected a gift from them; this was a wonderful surprise.

Laurel and I also got to go to part of a jazz concert last night.  We wound up sitting on a stone planter-box for seats, so after 90 minutes I was ready to move on, even though the concert went on for quite a while longer.  This was in Mały Rynek, which is about a block from our unit.  It's amazing to live where we do.

"Noc" = "night", by the way.

I also got to take Laurel to the famous kielbasa man.  Yes, he's famous.  It's sort of like a grown-up version of those little stands that spring up to feed students late at night on university campuses.  It was quite the experience for  Laurel, and I was proud that I could conduct the entire transaction in Polish, getting everything we wanted (and holding the mustard for me) and paying.  Yes, it's not the most complex transaction and I've done it before, but it's nice to see that my Polish is progressing.  Laurel got a new photo of him to share as well:

We've also discovered a wonderful new ice cream place, on par with Jeni's from Columbus, OH, and we finally got to go to a gym yesterday (which means we're sore today).  I've posed enough pictures of the main square on this blog, but it is still amazing to walk through it during a clear summer day or evening.  Krakow is still a delight, and it's even better when getting a full night's sleep.


Laurel Blough said...

I'm awake now...after 10 hours.

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