A NOT-SO-WELCOMING WELCOME
I arrived in Fort Lauderdale just after 3pm on Monday, August 1st. It was hot, humid and I haven't had food since 9am. I hopped in an uber and made my way to the crewhouse that I would be staying at until I got a job on a boat. For those of you who don't know, a crewhouse is housing for people in the yachting industry (at least it's supposed to be), and is set up dorm-style with multiple beds in a room with shared bathrooms, living room and kitchen. Everywhere I read, people said that crewhouses are what they miss the most from working in the yachting industry and it's where great friendships and memories were made.
So I pulled up to the house anticipating a friendly and clean environment, only to find the exact opposite. I opened the door and immediately thought - dirty ass frathouse. It only got worse the more I looked around. No one was home so I put my bags down and found the door that had my designated number on it. Directly in front of my door was a broom with a pile of dust and dirt sitting near it. It seemed like someone was in the middle of sweeping and just left it there. At this point, I just want to get my stuff into my room, so I keep typing the provided code in the keypad next to my door and I can't get it to open. I called the crewhouse office to see if they gave me the wrong code and they said they gave me the right one but would call me back in a few.
In the meantime, I explored the house a little bit more and walked into the kitchen. IT WAS DISGUSTING. All I kept thinking was, "I can't live here, I can't live like this, what did I sign up for?" The kitchen sink was piled high with nasty dishes that had old food stuck to it, there were ants crawling over the sink, dishes and counter, and there was old food sitting on the adjacent counter with the garbage overflowing the bin. A few minutes later, the office called me back, I told them the situation and asked if there was any way they could move me to another house. They apologized and again said they had to call me back and check if anything else was available. During that time, the people living in the house came home and immediately apologized for the state of the house and started cleaning. It really seemed like the house hadn't been cleaned in at least a month, so it wasn't like they were really busy and didn't have time to tidy up, it was way past that. I asked them how I could get into my room, and it turns out that there was another keypad that was right above the doorknob, but I couldn't see it because there was a McDonald's bag with garbage covering it (rolls eyes). I tried my best to be polite and hold a conversation even though i was secretly fuming and getting really hangry. The office eventually called me back and said they could move me to another house, so I threw my bags into another uber and crossed my fingers that this next place would be better.
I arrived at the new house that was just 5 minutes away, dragged my bags up to the front door, typed in the code for the keypad and couldn't get the door open. I thought maybe it was the NYC in me, these keypads were a completely new thing so maybe I was doing something wrong. Feeling like a moron, I called the office yet again, and found out they gave me the wrong code (insert another eyeroll here). This place clearly didn't have their shit together.
Anyway, I finally got in and at first glance the place didn't seem so bad. I met some of my roommates and the yachting questions and conversations began. "Did you take your STCW yet?", "Where are you taking your courses?", "Are you training to be a deckhand or stew?". This seemed to be what everyone was talking about, the comradery and the friendships.
This house seemed to be a little bit more my style and I didn't have any roommates in my room, WIN! After dropping my bags in my room, I walked through the house and got to the kitchen. There were more ants! Not as big as the ones in the previous house, but there were just so many tiny ants crawling all over the kitchen, walls and garbage can. I'm pretty sure it's a Florida thing, but I wasn't having any of it. THE ANTS MUST DIE! The next day, I walked down the A1A in the scorching hot sun to pick up cleaning supplies and Raid. I got back to the house and doused the kitchen with Raid followed by Clorox wipes. I was determined to get rid of these ants. One of my other roommates got in on it and bought ant traps, so it was an all around team effort. After a few days, the ants were out of the sink and the counters, and today I just repeated the same process in one of the drawers and a cabinet. I'm determined to keep this place clean and ant free until I get a job on a boat.
Anyway, as of right now, I have 3 other roommates, and had one in my room for a few days, and of course I'm the only girl in the house, not like it's anything new to me, but of course I ended up in a house full of dudes! My house is conveniently located a few blocks from my school, a major highway filled with stores and restaurants, and a short bus ride or uber from the beach. I know it can be worse, so I will stay here for now.
Stay tuned for my next post on how my courses went!