Friday, 13 April 2012

New Flat!

My new street!
I have finally finished unpacking and moving into the new flat that I will hopefully be calling home during the rest of my stay in Chennai. At the minute, I only have the room for sure through April and possibly through May as the other girls debate whether or not to extend their lease. I'm hoping it can be extended through June and July as well but we'll just have to wait and see! (Apologies for the lack of photos - I'm having trouble uploading them on this new internet connection)

Yesterday ended up being a surprisingly eventful first day in the flat. At around 2 pm, I was sitting on the edge of my bed checking my email when the bed started to sway. At first, I thought it was the way I was sitting but even with both feet on the ground the swaying continued. More alarmingly, my water bottle (on the chest next to the bed) was also sloshing around. Turns out I was getting my most interesting welcome to a new flat ever: an earthquake. It struck off the coast of Indonesia and could be felt even further in land here in India. Having never been in an earthquake before, I found myself mentally reaching back to my Sesame Street days and remembering their advice to get under a sturdy table or stand in a door frame. However, by the time I'd thought all that through, the earthquake was over. And, I have to emphasize for my mother's sake, it was a very small earthquake here in Chennai. Nothing was rattling, nothing fell. In fact, if it hadn't been for my water bottle, I probably would have assumed it was just in my head.

So, after that lovely introduction to the neighborhood, I set out to explore a bit. The area is called Besant Nagar and my neighborhood is called the Kalakshetra Colony. Apparently there's a very famous dance school here, which specializes in the Bharatanatyam style, but I didn't pass it on my walk. Instead I just wandered up the main road and over to the little grocery store to try and get my bearings a bit. The area is much greener than where my friend's house is, which is more urban. And being so close the beach means we have nice breezes during the day - a life saver when the power goes out!

The flat itself is lovely and I share it with three girls (American, Canadian and French) and one guy (British). The guy, A, had previously lived in Kennington (where my London flat is) so we were able to have a nice chat about the area and London life. The only other person I've seen so far is my French flatmate, C. She is very sweet and reminds me a lot of my London flatmate - which of course made me a bit homesick! It was through talking to her that I found out about the tsunami warning in place for Chennai. That was a big surprise and made me suddenly less keen on living at the beach... but, luckily, the 5 pm deadline came and went without a problem and the warning was cancelled. Feeling very fortunate as all of this could have been worse! Yesterday will definitely be going to the top of my list of strange events experienced so far in Chennai.

The flat consists of a living room, dining room, kitchen, and three bedrooms on the lower floor, with a rooftop terrace and additional bedroom on the top floor. So the flat is spread out over the second and third floors of the building. All the bedrooms are ensuite and equipped with ceiling fans and AC window units. My bedroom looks so plain in comparison to the others as they've had time to decorate them properly. But, as I'm staying only a few months, I think it will be fine as it is.

There's a housekeeper who comes every day for two hours, which is really nice as she takes care of the kitchen, bathrooms, and sweeps the floors. And, as we don't have a washing machine, she'll also do the laundry if you ask her to. Overall, I'm very pleased with the flat and really like the flatmates I've met so far! It was really nice to finally unpack my suitcases as it just gives that feeling of being settled.

For the bedding and towels, I went to my friend's shop, G-Home, on the East Coast Road. I was really relieved as it turned into one stop shopping as I was able to pick up groceries as well from their supermarket next door. And of course, if you're in the area, I highly recommend their attached restaurant, Tryst. It has lots of different menu options and a delicious bakery where you can get baguettes, croissants and other treats. I went for the beef nachos and steak sandwich and all I can say is that it completely hit the spot. Sometimes you just want something comforting and familiar - and that was exactly what we had. Delicious!

Honestly, I don't know what I would have done if it weren't for such wonderful friends like R, O, and S. They have been so welcoming and helpful that I can't imagine embarking on this adventure without them. Thank you!!!! 


  1. A very well-written post. I read and liked the post and have also bookmarked you. All the best for future endeavors
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  2. aw i love it, i happy you've found such a great flat!