A Room with a View

Posted: November 17, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

For over a month, I had been living without a properly working radiator in my room. At first it wasn’t too much of an issue because the outside temperature kept fluctuating and the temperature in my room was ok, but I had mentioned the issue to two different dormitory administrators and got nowhere closer to having working heat. The one administrator sent me to a different administrator in my building, who told me that she had known about the problem for a few weeks and that she would try to get a plumber to show up, but that there are only two for the whole university and she didn’t know when they would show up.

There was clearly something wrong with my radiator. It was only lukewarm to the touch, whereas the radiator in the hallway is so hot that I cannot touch it. I once again tried to find the dorm administrator, and she was once again not in her office. A dezhurnaya saw me look at her office and asked who I was looking for. I explained that I was looking for the administrator, and then spoke in angry Russian, complained that I have been living for over a month with broken heat in my room and that it was winter and completely inappropriate. “Это ужасно!” (This is terrible!), I shouted. Apparently my rant caught her attention, and she wrote down the information about my room and said that she would try to get to the bottom of it. Unimpressed with this lack of action, I headed to the vice rector’s office. I spoke with the nice secretaries there and explained my situation, and they were shocked to hear that I haven’t had heat for more than a month. One wrote down the info and then said she would make some calls. A different secretary said that I need to get a space heater for my room. I responded that these are forbidden in the dorm, to which she replied that they are forbidden in the university office as well, and then pointed to the space heater next to her desk while laughing.

Evidently, taking my complaint up the university ladder helped. Around 5:30PM a man showed up at my room and said that he was there to look at the heater. He touched it, slurred something incomprehensible, and then left my room with no explanation. About an hour later, I was going out to meet my fellow ASEEES grantees for the night. On the way out, I saw the plumber talking to the dezhurnaya. I asked him if the heater was broken in my room, and he again slurred some very hard to understand sentences, but I managed to understand that a master plumber would come to my room on Monday. When I came back later that evening, I double checked with the dezhurnaya if I had understood him correctly. She said that I did understand him, and then she told me that my room was probably cold because I have a corner room and that my windows are not tapped. I understand that my room may not be colder for those two reasons, but those points are useless if my heater is not working at the same level as other heaters on the floor. She also said that they may need to do some really invasive work on the radiator, which might mean draining the hot water in the building because apparently it cannot be shut off by floor, only for the building as a whole.

Unfortunately, no one showed up on Monday as promised. I asked Olga, the dezhurnaya for the night, if she knew what was going on with the heat in my room, and she said she had no clue what was going on, but then asked why I hadn’t said anything about the heater being broken. She wrote down the information and promised to tell the administrator. On Tuesday morning, I got up and found a new woman, who said that she is now the administrator. She promised to call the plumbers and have something done. I didn’t fully trust her, so I went back to the vice rector’s office to make sure that someone would indeed show up. Apparently, the new administrator kept her word. According to my neighbor, three plumbers showed up while I was getting groceries. I went to ask the administrator what was going on, and she said that there was indeed a problem with the pipes, which the plumbers were discussing how to fix. There was not date given for when it would be fixed, but I felt that something might be done.

I woke up yesterday morning to a wonderful surprise. The cleaning lady came up to me when I was refilling my water filter in the kitchen and told me that I was being moved to a different room on the floor, the last room. It is also a single room, but it has a working heater. The furniture in the room is slightly better than in the other room, and I’ve got a refrigerator and a TV.

The heat works so well that I had to open the windows.

The heat works so well that I had to open the windows.

There are only two downsides to the room. The first is that it doesn’t have its own sink like my last room. The other is that due to the weird fire escape in the hallway, my door doesn’t open all the way.

When the fire escape itself causes a fire hazard.

When the fire escape itself causes a fire hazard.

Thankfully my bags just fit through the door for moving my stuff.

Who cares about door almost holes when you have heat? I don't.

Who cares about door almost holes when you have heat? I don’t.

The room is also great in that it’s not across from the kitchen, so it’s very quiet and I was able to sleep very well. Plus, the view isn’t too bad.

This is a much better view that staring into a nearby classroom.

This is a much better view that staring into a nearby classroom.

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