Having recounted the past I can get to snippets of the present. Day 13 was the man with the van. He didn't speak English and I don't speak Slovenian but I can point in a variety of European languages and he was well versed in the concept of moving things, so it all went without a hitch.
I am constantly amazed by how much stuff one person can accumulate, so I'm going to be constantly amazed by a factor of four when Tat moves her stuff on Friday. I didn't know, for instance, that I own a carpet. I found it in a black bin liner under the bed. Frank and Sally lent it to me when they decided that my life didn't need a relationship but something once crafted by Axminster and Wilton. They didn't want it back. I put it in a bag and now it follows me like a hungry dog. It's now in the new house, in the bag, where it will remain until it finally dies or recovers and will once again be of value to society.
Day 14 began with multiple rings on the doorbell because I'd forgotten to reset my alarm to compensate for Tat's unnaturally early mornings. She was here to learn French, which she did with greater success than I managed with waking up. But after coffee I was almost human and it was a lovely start to the day. Marta, my landlady, caught a rare glimpse of her as she set off for work and she said how happy she looked. She does! It's so good to see. She's positively glowing.
Then it was Russian number two because Elena came for her English lesson. She said she'd miss this apartment because she feels relaxed. Sleepy is another way of putting it. I told her that she wouldn't feel quite so sleepy in the new house due to half the population of Moscow being in it.
I then set about organising some paperwork that I have to send to the UK and, it transpired, I needed a witness to my signature. Slovenia is a bit short on choices when it comes to UK-acceptable witnesses so I went into town to find a notary. It was like spring today, 18 degrees and cloudless, and after seeing Tat the day was looking to be perfect. I found the notary.
The two girls in the office spoke English and I explained that I needed a notary to witness my signature and they busied themselves with the task in hand. Then they took it all into the notary's office and he came out, wanted to see all of the forms and my passport and my ID card, looked them over, checked that I was, indeed, me, and did all the necessary stamping and whatnot. The girls then photocopied my rare and precious documents just in case they were lost at sea, tied the whole thing up in legal string, added a seal and stamped that too. I ended up with a very official-looking parcel.
"How much?" I asked after thanking them all profusely.
"The notary said no charge."
"Yes, it was no trouble."
"But the string! The little seal thing. The photocopies. The man himself coming out and organising it properly. And did I mention the string?"
I love this country. I don't speak their language, I ask them to speak mine, I ask them to solve my problems for me and they do it all with the most gracious and pleasant manner and then charge me nothing at all. Could the whole world be a little more Slovenian please?
I then went to the post office where I had the most pleasant chat with the girl who once again couldn't have tried harder to make sure my documents wouldn't get lost at sea, spoke wonderful English and generally did her part in making a great day better. So that was that. Forms, my least favourite part of being a human, were completed, signed, witnessed, the whole string thing, posted and done. And the sky was still blue and cloudless.
This evening my new landlord wrote to wish us the best of luck in our new life in his house, and then I went to see Joze and Marta to thank them for being brilliant landlords and wonderful people. They were always there when I needed them, and they left me alone when I didn't. They would bring me food, and always at a time when I was too busy to cook something and was nibbling on cheese. Marta works for my insurance company and over the past almost 2 years she's simply done it all for me, coming around with the paperwork whenever something needed renewing. I never had to remember. She did my remembering for me.
We had a nice evening and went out to see the full moon shining down from a cloudless sky. Slovenians are very much in touch with the moon, it seems. I heard one story of a woman who had a sick dog that needed an operation and the vet said it couldn't be done that day because it was a full moon, so he did it when it wasn't. I don't think vets in the UK consider the phase of the moon when scheduling surgery, but obviously some Slovenian vets do. Sick dogs or no, the moon looked so good that Joze went off and came back with a telescope! He told me when I first moved in that he had one and now, on the last day, I got to see craters. I even learned some Slovenian and we joked that we're doing everything on the last day.
The last day. Tat phoned and we chatted while she did her long journey back from Ljubljana. She is indeed as happy as she looked this morning and it's incredible to think that emails and chatting on the phone won't be our only lifeline. Tomorrow I pack my remaining things into the old green car and head off. But first I'm having my hair cut, because when you find a hairdresser in a foreign country who knows how you like it, it makes sense to stick with them for as long as possible. And then it's lunch with Joze and Marta and the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
[ps...Have you tried the Armchair Detective Challenge yet?]
Slovenia, writing, other things