So it has come to pass that we will be living in the living room of our landlords’ flat. This is not a position I’ve ever found myself in before. When I asked Diana, our guide to Russian homes and gardens, neither had she. It seems we had a paddled into uncharted arrangements. As adventurers, I suppose we always seek to break new ice. To break new ice, I suppose you have to make a few omelets…in a few different kitchens.
We’ve been renters on the Muscovite scene for just a snow-dusting under six months, and this will be our third home, as well as a brief, passionate stint at the Hotel Katerina. In real estate terms, surely that qualifies us as swingers, promiscuous tenants devoid of a conscience of home, willing to take on any board that will have us. In traveling terms, we are nomads, bare and bold, unafraid to pitch our tents where the spikes my fall. We represent the weird and wonderful expats of the world.
We didn’t get to this place without winding: After we’d been told that the landlord wanted to sell our flat, we cried contract, citing the plethora of legal-seeming documents we’d signed some months ago. After we’d been told it would be illegal for them to sell the flat, to rest easy and assured, we rested easy and assured, two caterpillars in our safely secured cocoon. After we’d rested easy and assured, warm in the embrace of legalities, they sold the flat.
When we asked how they could sell the flat with the documents and law and easy assuredness abounding, we learned that the documents and law were all some sort of sham-y show of formality. But…but, our landlords were ashamed of selling out from under us. Apparently, when our landlords are ashamed, they offer up their living room for rent. When you’ve got only three months to go, what are you going to do?
On the third of March, Emma and I will be relocating to Izmaylovo, a neighborhood on the far western side of Moscow, a place with a massive park and great sprawling market. It will mean commuting for an hour to get to our southernly-located office, daily taking the Metro right through the heart of the city. It will mean learning life again: a new supermarket, a new routine of timing, a new setting in which to dwell and consume. It's a nice place.
The landlords are leaving for us, locking their prized belongings in their master bedroom, jumping ship for three months while we settle in, nestle and nook. I didn’t ask where they were going, but it’s a great twist of fate, one that has my head spinning: landlords sell flat out from under you=landlord bad, landlords yell at Diana, guide to home and garden=landlords abhorrent, but landlords move out of personal flat so that you, homeless tenant, may take up residence for your final three months in Russia=?