Tuesday, March 18, 2008

18 March 2008

No time for a real post, as I'm trying to get my entire apartment packed up. Packing in the midst of a normal weekly schedule and a desperate last-minute travel schedule (must see... as much as possible... before leaving...) is no easy feat, and is further complicated by the following:

Even though my lease runs until March 31st, I have to be out of the apartment by March 26th, so that the professional cleaners (who charge about $1,000 to clean a 1BR apartment!) and painters can come in before the next tenant.

As wonderful as it is to move into an apartment in Switzerland - everything is sparkling clean and probably more sanitary than the stuff you're bringing with you, it is equally horrible to move out of an apartment in Switzerland for precisely the same reason. They expect things to be in perfect condition. The cleaning fee seems a bit excessive, but I'm told that they go so far as to take apart the faucets to check for any calcification that may have accumulated during your tenancy. The Swiss are nothing if not thorough.

After that, I'll stay with a friend for the remainder of my time in Zurich. Why didn't I just stay in my apartment until the end, you ask? Well, in Switzerland, they make it very difficult to break your lease at any time other than the end of March or September. I'd rather crash with someone than pay an extra six months' of rent.

Because of the discrepancy between the date I leave my apartment and the date I leave Switzerland, I have to sort my packing into more piles than usual: Trash, Recycle, Sell, To Use in Switzerland, To Use for Diving, To Use Immediately in California, and To Use Later in California. This is so that things can stay here or ship at the appropriate times. Argh.

After I move to San Francisco, much of my stuff will be in storage with friends in Zurich, and will follow once I've found a place to stay in California. A great idea in theory, but in practice, it's a bit difficult to get my stuff into their storage space. We all live in the old town, which is charming, quaint, picturesque, and usually closed to traffic.

We can usually get the car to my apartment, somewhat semi-legally, but to get to my friends' apartment, there is a gate that is closed except for early mornings on weekdays and on weekends. Since my time here is running out, my weekends are fully booked with travel and other hijinks. Weekdays, everyone works, and so we can't really spend a morning quasi-legally shuttling boxes between the two apartments.

It takes longer than you would think, partly because, although both building have elevators, they are very small (three very skinny people or half of an obese person can fit in), and you need to take stairs to get to the elevators. Yes. You have to take stairs to get to the elevators.

Furthermore, although the apartments are only about three minutes apart on foot, by car, it takes about ten minutes, because of all of the one-way streets, pedestrian streets, and looping around. If the gate is closed, add on another five or ten minutes of trying to wheedle the guard into letting you in for a quick dropoff. Whew.

Moving has always been one of my least favorite pastimes, but Switzerland takes it to a whole new level of awful. Don't get me started on what I have to do besides the physical move - Big Brother needs me to fill out countless forms and notify countless offices to erase myself from his books.