I wanted to share this story from our first weeks of living in Ukraine in April. Typically apartments here have two separate rooms for what Americans call the bathroom. The toilet is in one and the bathtub or shower and sink are in the next. I kind of like the arrangement.

A few days after moving to our apartment, we discovered water pouring out of the ceiling and straight into the toilet. The wallpaper on the ceiling was starting to hang down as well. For the next few days I carefully checked before using the facilities. Then one day, I was in a big hurry and sat down on very, very wet seat. Ugh! I didn’t know where the water was coming from and it was quite unsettling. In fact, there was water everywhere. We had our friend Yura get in touch with the landlord but it took him a week or so to come. The flow of water got worse each time this happened which was about every four days. So I started to use an umbrella each time I had to be in there.

When the landlord finally came, he visited the upstairs neighbor who said there was no problem in his apartment. Later that day, the man came down and explained to us that it wasn’t his problem. (This was all explained very loudly in Russian so I can’t tell you for sure that is what he said but it sounded like it.) So the next time it happened, Richard and I went upstairs together and knocked on his door. He again told us it couldn’t be his problem and threw open the door to his toilet room. We were greeted by about several inches of water on the floor. He was appeared to be very surprised.

Again we called the landlord and this time we went up and talked to our neighbor. He found out that this happened when the man took a shower. He had put in a new shower and hadn’t sealed it so it was leaking. Fortunately he only showered every four days. (We try never to share an elevator with him.) He promised not to shower until it was fixed and eventually it was. We now have new ceiling tiles (instead fo the traditional wallpaper) and no more leaks.

My mom got a real kick out of the story (she wanted a picture of me using the umbrella but I declined) and I have giggled many times thinking back on our introduction to apartment living. It was definitely a unique way get acquainted with the neighbor.