Welcome “Home:” Our Temporary Furnished Apartment in Lausanne
On our discovery trip to Lausanne, the relocation agency told us the hot market for rental property’s minimal capacity meant we couldn’t find a permanent place to live until we moved here.
In fact, we couldn’t even look at temporary apartments, as the agency told us that even these places moved too quickly for us to know what would be available only a few weeks later. This meant we needed to choose a temporary furnished apartment from afar, sight unseen—unless you count small, vague, and off-angle photos sent by the relocation agent via e-mail, text message, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
We chose an option that came through via PowerPoint slides attached to an e-mail. The slides used comic sans. I tried not to view the comic sans as a warning sign.
Of the limited options, this one managed to hit the sweet spot of proximity to Arnaud’s university and Lake Geneva and the center of Lausanne. And really, if we didn’t love it, we figured we’d only stay there for a few weeks.
Later, we heard horror stories about people stuck living in Lausanne temporary apartments for six months.
First, let me say that the temporary furnished apartment that greeted me when I moved to London left me in tears, so my expectations bar rested safely at an abysmally low level. Upon walking in, I felt relieved to find the place dingy, but clean enough, with basic IKEA-style furniture. I figured if I didn’t investigate too thoroughly during our stay—kept my gaze as surface-level as possible—it would do well enough. (At one point a few weeks in, seeing a shadow under the microwave, I reminded myself not to look. No good could come of it.)
The building, comprised entirely of temporary, furnished apartments plus a massage parlor, a hair salon, and an antique dealer—none of which seemed to ever have customers—had a management company called OK Logements. Each apartment had a basic doormat on which the company had printed a stick-drawing house and the words “OK HOME.”
Got it. Setting realistic expectations. Good idea.
The bathroom had a maroon toilet and sink, which seemed like a practical way to ensure tenants couldn’t look too closely for cleanliness. Thankfully, the narrow shower, all white, looked perfectly sanitary. I figure they only wanted to have to worry about one fixture’s perfection, and if I had to pick one, I’d choose the shower. Okay, home.
From the hallway, the bedroom looked completely bland—just as you’d want a bedroom in a temporary, furnished apartment to look. However, the moment you stepped onto the threshold, you saw that a giant, molded plastic, spotlighted maroon jacuzzi tub consumed the entire corner of the room to your right.
Possible options here:
The building served as a sex hotel.
The building could serve as a sex hotel, as needed.
All Swiss apartments have molded-plastic jacuzzi tubs with spotlights in the master bedrooms.
Nothing to see here, just an anomaly.
Fortunately, none of the apartments we saw in our search for a permanent place to live had large jacuzzi tubs in the bedrooms. And, as far as I could tell while we stayed in the temporary apartment, no one practiced prostitution. (If the massage parlor ran a thriving business, perhaps I’d think otherwise.)
I’ve decided to choose option four. Why not give it the benefit of the doubt, right?
Further, if the temporary-apartment tenants carried on their sex-hotel activity so discreetly that I didn’t notice it even while working from home during the day, they therefore kept far less noisome than the chain-smoking cleaner who arrived every weekday to clean one of the five floors. (We had Friday, given our situation on the fifth floor.) Not only did she fumigate the place for eight hours a day, five days a week, she kept the single washer and dryer in the entire building in constant use with the apartment linens. Excellent.
No matter. We made it out in five weeks. As promised, by and large, it was an okay home. Temporarily.