Many, many, MANY things have happened over the past month. Like probably the most tumultuous one I've experienced in quite a long while. I have been ditched last minute by 'potential' takeovers in the most rude and aggravating ways possible, 3 times in a row. Every time there was hope, it got crushed, stepped on, well till the point of giving up and going past my breaking point. Emotions ran high, but through this experience, I have grown up a lot, and realised that in this world we live in, it's a harsh reality that can be unrelenting, which has opened my eyes. BUT - though I am in the world, I am not of the world, and Daddy God is with me through it all, holding my hand & leading me towards greater things that I presently cannot see. Restoration is coming, and I know it.
"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame." (Joel 2:25–26)
This long story ahead will detail the student village experience, the good and the bad, and lessons learnt from it all - all in the hope that juniors will have prior knowledge before entering any contract, as breaking one is not as easy and simple as one may think. It can well be the financial black hole if you do so. The following text is super grandmother story, and will be split into separate continuous posts, so if you're looking for a quick glance, prolly come back later? But, do read this with an open mind & heart. :) Also, note that I no longer harbour any bitter feelings towards CLV (aka Iglu) & the three ditchers, and I'm gonna let bygones be bygones.
LETTUCE BEGIN, MAH FRIENDS. (Don't you grammar Nazi me)
Well, as you would all have known by now, I've recently moved house with Hui Eng - yes, we moved during the mid-sem break heh. It all started on 1st Sept, when CLV (the student village we were living in) changed their management to Iglu, and when we checked their contract renewal for 2016, our jaws dropped. While our current contract goes for $296/week for rent, from 1st Jan 2016 onwards, it would be $309/week. I already knew that the price increases every year (no freaking idea why they do that when there are no upgrades in premises), but $309 was just.... superbly unreasonable. Yes, utilities are included in the rent, and we can basically go crazy using how much electricity we wanted, but internet is apart from that. Oh yes, they would try to argue, saying, oh it increased coz of the high usage in utilities etc, but for the 2016 contract, they would include 10GB worth of data every month for free. Sounds like a good deal right? N O P E. The biggest NOPEEEEEE ever puh-lease. *scoffs*
Let me break it down for you. In CLV, BigAir is the only Internet Service Provider (ISP) available and allowed for students to use. You're apparently not given permission to use a different ISP, which obviously sucks. After asking around, I realised that BigAir charges exorbitant prices for their data. Basically, each month while living there, I paid $40/month for 40GB, and to give it some credit, it was high-speed Internet, which was gladly welcomed. However, mind you, Australia's version of high-speed Internet is nowhere near Singapore's speed, which has evolved to optic fibre speeds, but over here down under, they have yet to catch up. Right now, in Aussie, the govt is rolling out NBN, aiming to get it ready to every home by 2018. To be fair, Australia is enormous, compared to tiny Singapore, and for that, there is no one to blame. My issue with CLV was that their ISP was fixed, and you can only use it for one, O N E device at any point of time. Which means, only my laptop could be connected to the Internet, which is why I went with a $60/month prepaid Optus card for my mobile phone. To be honest, the Optus prepaid plan of $2/day = 500MB/day with free calls and text messages is a steal lah, which is why I'm still using it concurrently, even at my new place.
OKAY MOVING RIGHT ALONG. *whoosh*
So, when Iglu took over, suddenly the data plans changed from 2016 onwards, whereby, if you wanted to top up your data from 10GB (which would have been included in the rent), to plans like 40GB, it would be an additional $7/week. While I agree that may sound pretty okay for now, it really isn't worth the money, and it just costs so much more than before. So, for the usual 40GB/month plan, that would cost you $1/GB, which is, well, expensive, but no choice right. But when you consider the new arrangements, the $13 increase in rent PER WEEK does not amount fairly to 10GB PER MONTH, as 10GB basically costs $30/month as a plan on its own, but if you use more than that a month, you'd upgrade to 40GB, at $40/month. I think generally everyone goes with 40GB at the very basic, since the price for 10GB isn't worth it haha. I'm not going to calculate it digit for digit, but if you have a look, and use logic to do so, you'll realise that the "free 10GB" is more than paid for in the rent increase. Sigh, and I need tons of data.
We hesitated on the thought of moving, as it would involve a lot of commitment, looking for a house, and bringing our independence up another level. The other problem is, the damned 1-year contract signed with CLV. For this student village, only 1-year contracts are available. 6-months are okay, but it will cost you more. Why can't this place learn from others and provide 6-month ones at the same price? Gosh, create so much trouble for residents who want to move. For me, I just had a niggling feeling that we SHOULD move. Now, after all this has happened, I know for sure it's the Holy Spirit that prompted the move.
With several unsuccessful attempts at finding the most suitable apartment, we nearly succumbed to renewing our contract with CLV. However, on 15th September, Hui Eng randomly checked the latest rental offers on Real Estate AU, and to our surprise, the preview pictures, furnishings, location and price matched our expectations. It was like, ohmygawd this looks promising! Our time after that moment was a COMPLETE WHIRLWIND.
That very morning, we checked the place out, registered our interest, and took the application forms home to fill up. We were majorly excited, coz when we inspected the unit, every inch seemed perfect! Maybe only the fact that the master bedroom had a queen sized bed, and I wanted it changed to king single so that there was space for the owner to fit in a study desk and chair (which I had requested for). Haha and we even offered a lower rental price (eh we didn't go that much lower k, from $520 -> $500/week), which was ACCEPTED. Yes, I had the shalom peace feels when I went into the unit, the furnishings exceeded our expectations, and our requests were all accepted! Side note: the owner left the queen sized bed as it is, so maybe it's a bit squeezy, but it's comfy, cozy, and bless, I've got a bigger bed now - can fit another family member or friend when they come over HAHA. Count my blessings, yeah? GOD IS GOOD. :)
Yes, Jesus is my constant, in this world of uncertainty.
Everything was gonna go well as planned. Put up ads on every site possible, hope that 2 people want to take over our individual contracts till 31st Dec, and get away scot-free without any liability. If not, just break our contracts and lose the bond (1 month of rent, usually paid at the start of the contract as a deposit that will be returned to you upon completion of the contract, provided there are no damages to the unit/room). Coz, losing the bond is akin to us moving houses in mid-Nov originally anyway. Things were going to go SWELL, and move like a boss.
A BIG, FAT, SHOCKING, SLAP TO THE FACE - NOPE.
"TAKE THE PLUNGE," CHERLYN SAID.
Want to find out what happened next? Stay tuned. Coming up real soon.
Seeya in a lil' while,
Cherlyn Aurora xoxo