Friday, 29 June 2012

Day 18

Today may be a bit disappointing... nothing terribly exciting happened today.  We did buy a 42" LCD TV at the Carreforre for about $410 USD.  We thought that was a good deal and it was on "promosi" so we save an additional 10%.   We also bought some other mandatory items for the house like bed sheets, towels, a water filter and a few cleaning products.  

While shopping for the necessities we ran into some really interesting items... 

A two-in-one Slipper Duster! Jaxson really seemed to enjoy wearing these fluffy things.

Or maybe a tinted vizor instead of sun glasses? Christmas gifts this year should be fun!

While shopping, Lee informed us that the ceiling fans were already being installed as well as the hot water in the common bathroom.  We will have to wait a week on the blind in the master bath, but we agreed since we will now be able to take hot showers in the additional bathroom.  It is a completely different experience dealing with a landlord that wants you to be happy in your new place. 

After dinner, I tracked down a place to get a pedicure and manicure while Jaxson and Keith played...

bought some sandals for $10 bucks...

and played...

and played! 

 Finally, almost two hours later and for about $30 dollars I had a relaxing escape as well as  fun fingers and toes.  

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Day 17

I really didn't sleep well between the rock hard mattresses that I am told are common here and my mind racing with housing options.  I was glad that our viewings were scheduled at ten so we didn't have to wait long.  

We had such as great feeling pulling into our new neighborhood... 20 Trees!  We were shown three units on the first block. The first block did have a better view and was a few short steps to the pool area.  The first unit was on the first level (second level because the first level here is considered level G for "ground"). It was 3,200 RM with a "pool view" although when you walked out onto the balcony all you could see where the trees blocking the pool view.  We went up another level and another 400 RM in price. This unit was also 100 square meters smaller.  I will admit the view was better, but it also lacked the private lift.  The last unit we saw was on the 4th level.  Incredible views! We really had a hard time considering which unit to pick.  With such a short walk to the gym and pool and a great view, it seems like the better option. However, priced at 3,800 RM we had to weigh out if it was worth it.  

We offered 3,400 RM and walked to the pool so the two agents could discuss it.  The listing agent was not impressed and his whole demeanor changed when we were not willing to pay 3,800 RM.  I was so thankful that Lee showed us the unit for 3,000 RM. It gave us a great perspective when looking at similar units.  

We continued to wait for an answer, while Jaxson met a new friend in the playroom by the pool. 

We were informed that the landlord resides in the middle East somewhere and was asleep. So, we could not get an definite answer until 4pm.  

We decided to head to IKEA again, just to compare prices to what we had seen in the local furniture store.  As we drove, we talked about our options and clung to our goals here.  In a few minutes of talking it through, we realized we had already made our decision.  We phoned Lee and went with the 3,000 RM condo!!  Since we were willing to pay the asking price, the landlord is putting in 3 ceiling fans, hot water in the common bathroom and a venetian blind in the master bath.  We don't have to do anything, but have it cleaned! We do the "hand over" Sunday! 

By the time we got to IKEA, which we actually made it to without getting lost, we were very hungry. Our hunger got the best of us and we just made the rash decision to get lunch in the IKEA cafeteria. Not the best food, but again very cheap.  We all eat for about $10 USD.

It is the first time in my life, that I was able to walk through IKEA and not buy something.  After IKEA, we walked over to the Fashion Walk mall.  (I know what you're thinking and no we still have not seen all of the malls) We found a GARMIN store and bought a GPS! 


We ended up finding the ACE hardware store. So, I decided to pop in and find one of those old fashion apple corer, peeler, slicing contraptions.  My friend, Jen,who just opened the Fork & Pie bar was given one by her dad to aid her in making her amazing apple pies.  I remember him saying that he found it at ACE.  Long story short, I tried to describe it in every way possible and tried to motion with my hands as if I was using it.  The guys looked at me puzzled and sent me over to the hose section, basing their recommendation on the circular motion my finger was making I guess. 

We grabbed some Guinness for our dinner hosts and headed back to Lori's.  After a quick nap, we navigated ourselves straight to Chris and Max's house again without getting lost. That is a record! It didn't take nearly as long as we had anticipated so we killed some time in the park.

Oh and Jaxson got some new kicks at the Fashion Walk mall for about $10 because we left his shoes at home...

We had such a nice time relaxing in their enormous yard, watching Jaxson play with their dogs and sipping on some home brews concocted by Max. We enjoyed a flavorful lasagna that was cooked by their maid. It is such a foreign concept for us, but seems to be very common for people with lots of pets or kids.  She even took Jaxson on a walk and bathed him for us.  It was a mini break where we could actually sit and chat without watching his every move. They shared traveling stories and pictures, answered my questions about my school and made us feel so at home. I am so grateful for the genuine kindness everyone here as shown us! 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Day 16

 So, Day 16 brings more of our "House Hunters International" episode. After advice from the relocation agency, horror stories about unkind landlords and how adamant the landlords were about not meeting our requests, we decided to look elsewhere.  The good news is that we knew exactly which neighborhood we wanted! Both Lee and the relocation agency set up viewings in 20 Trees... the neighborhood with the awesome pool, gym, playground and meditation garden.

We met Lee at the guard house where they traded my school ID for a visitor's pass. We parked and followed Lee to a private gate that you needed a clearance card to get into. Once inside the gate, if we were residents we would have a private lift (elevator) that let out only to our unit.

Once inside, we were shown a 3 + 1 condo.  The + 1 means there is a maid's room attached to the "wet kitchen."  The wet kitchen is separate from the main kitchen. It includes the washer, dryer, stove top with propane and a sink for washing dishes. It can sometimes be found in an outdoor area of the indoor kitchen. In this unit there was a large door separating it from the indoor kitchen, but it was still inside, just without aircon.

Here is the dining/living room.

 Master Closet!

New large mattresses in two of the rooms...

 Master bath that needs some blinds so we do not give the neighbors a free show!

Jaxson's room with a big bed...

Private balconies of the second rooms but not the master. 

Guest room/office...

 Still a decent view...


So, we really like that unit and we loved the price at 3,000 RM. Especially compared to the 4,500 RM for the large link house. Once again, we really re-evaluated our goals again and realized we got carried away with the possibility of living in something we would never be able to in the states.  However, our goals here are to have at least a small space for guests, be able to travel and save money to pay off student loans... with that said, saving $500 USD a month seemed like a wise decision.  After looking at the unit, we followed Lee to his friend's furniture shop to price some things out.

We actually drove a pretty good distance to the other side of town to walk through the Islamic Art Museum. Unfortunately, we did not have any ringit and they did not take cards.  They told us where we could walk to get to the ATM, but by this time it was pouring rain and along with the lighting we decided to come another day.

We had some time to kill before our 4pm viewing.  Keith had been wanting sushi since yesterday when we went to Carreforre.  I remembered seeing this place in the Wangsa Walk mall called, Octopus.

Jaxson's "afternoon nap."  He is such a trooper!

Right across from the Octopus (that was empty) there was a subway.  Keith said they must be giving away free sandwiches because the line was unbelievable.

 After paying what was equal to $3.50 USD for our sushi, we headed to Austin Chase for some coffee and a "snack."  So, much for my weight loss plan... the desserts here are amazing and cheap.

We were a couple minutes late meeting James, but we had to wait on the showing agent anyway. When we told him what we had viewed this morning along with the price, the showing agent didn't even show us what we were originally suppose to see.  I believe that it was the same size and layout as what we saw, but they thought we were willing to pay 4,500 RM.  Why we would pay that for an 3 bedroom condo when we could have gotten a 3 story house is beyond me. Anyway, so they shuffled us up to a 2 story penthouse and guess what the price was.... 4,500 RM. How convenient for them!

Honestly, we hated it and we hated the price even more and were annoyed that we weren't shown what we were originally suppose to see.

James apologized, made a phone call and set up a couple more viewings for ten a.m. the next day.  So, we are back to square one although at least we have narrowed it down to one specific development! We will keep you posted...

~Until tomorrow~