Our former living room

At our old place

It was about time that we move out. I was struggling with all this apartment drawbacks since about the first weeks we moved in it last year. So, let me tell you that I know the list by heart of everything I am not missing.

When we arrived in February 2014, we had reserved a room in an airbnb in Hull, Gatineau for the first month, to let us some time to find our place. My boyfriend started working after the few days we landed so I was looking for a job at the same time as for an apartment for us. We wanted a furnished place, as we had little money to furnish one ourselves for the little time we were gonna stay here (1 year was first planned). We visited some without any great feelings until we saw a sign from our window for another apartment (so very close to the airbnb host, who became our friend). I didn’t want to live on the French side because I wanted to be in an English-speaking environment but nothing could beat that one, so I had to give up. It was a very sunny and cheap two-bedroom apartment considered unfurnished but the last renter had left many things: tables, chairs, plates, cutlery, a couch, a bed and even a (very old) TV set! We could move in right a way. It was perfect for our situation.

The place was free, so I could take my time to bring our luggage and clean it a bit before completely moving in. After one or two afternoons I spent in the apartment, I remarked that my clothes smelt like tobacco on the evening, once returned to our airbnb. Indeed, our downstairs neighbor-to-be was a heavy smoker and we shared the same air as our heating system was forced-air. This means whatever smells downstairs (animals, tobacco, kitchen or musty smells) will be pushed through pines to the above apartment to be widely and nicely shared !

We tried to fight it with air vent filters, with magnetic vent covers, we bought plants to clean the air and opened the windows as much as we could (without freezing the entire apartment during winter), but I could still smell it coming back from work in the evening and in my clothes at work. Of course, once in, after a while, you don’t pay attention anymore but clothes smelt like it, coats, sheets… Oh, I should have mentioned that I am no smoker and my nose detects this smell very well (and doesn’t enjoy it), so it didn’t help getting comfortable in this apartment.

The second drawback can be also viewed as an advantage for some people: we lived VERY close to bars, in fact, THE street to go out in downtown Hull. I don’t think I can stress that point more. Actually, we lived just next to 2 bars but we could hear one other from the same street which was kind of a club too, because music was loud, people were dancing inside and windows were wide opened. I can’t tell you what a nightmare it was during summer, when you are trying to go to sleep or just keep sleeping with loud music, people on the street speaking very loud (and for a long time) right under your window, which is opened since it’s freaking hot in and out and you’re trying to create a breeze through the not-very isolated apartment that has no A/C. Just another detail: you could hear people talk normally as well with closed windows. This is how well isolated this house was. Amazingly enough, we couldn’t hear the downstairs neighbors (compared to the other sense!).

So, after the whole summer being waken up at 2 a.m. each night (and being cracky every morning, that goes without saying), I decided to look for another apartment at fall 2014. This hasn’t been easy and we have dithered a lot while visiting. We knew we had been lucky on this part with this apartment, but if we wanted to have another 2-bedroom (which is convenient for receiving guests), the rent would be higher.

We have been very patient and we decided ourselves for one. And we have been more patient (and dreamy) because it was still in construction and we had to wait until it was finished!

But I have to tell you this one was worth the wait. For the past 2 months, we have been sleeping better, we feel way better and this seems to have a consequence on our relationship too: we have the impression to argue less as we are not so irritable anymore. It has no drawback so far ! Well, of course, it is a bit more expensive but I will go backwards or look for another place.

No, there is definitely nothing we regret from the old place!

(Sorry for the French fellows who might now have the Edith Piaf song stuck in their heads since they read the title of this article)