OK so I've been postponing and postponing writing on my blog (for months - crazy!) because I promised a conclusion to the story about my roommates taking a turn for the super-aggressive and demanding money. I honestly just didn't want to dwell on it or mess with how stressed-out I felt when I left Bilbao!
But... I promised.
So here's the long and short of it: I went to my pastor's house and he had a friend come over who actually worked in Spanish housing law.
The friend explained to me that not only did the roommates have no legal ground for demanding I pay them for every month they couldn't find someone to replace me (looking at it now, it's a bit of a "duh" - what would stop them from refusing all potential roommates, then charging me for the empty storage space they could use?); I won't go into all the details here but what they were trying was actually illegal. He offered to go to a lawyer's office and have the lawyer call the ringleader and tell her to stop threatening me!
We decided it was best for me not to mess with lawyers, just go home, don't talk to my roommates at all (which, by the way, is a surefire way to make apartment living super comfortable and not at all awkward). We decided I'd move out early and stay on a friend's couch so I wouldn't be in Awkwardlandia for my last couple of days in Bilbao.
Then, Monday night, I returned home to a screaming confrontation. "BUT, IMAGINATE, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LEAVE AND WE HAVEN'T FOUND SOMEONE TO TAKE YOUR PLACE?" I shut myself in my room. Overwhelmed, I called Pastor Tony in tears. What do I do?
Ten minutes later, Tony called me back. He had called Bryan, my friend with the couch, and asked him, Can Kata come tonight?
How fast can you be ready, he asked me. I told him two hours and spent the next hour and a half throwing all of my belongings into suitcases. Tony, his son Aitor, and Bryan arrived just as I finished packing. We carried my stuff downstairs (without confrontations - my roommates were all in their rooms by then).
I left my keys on the coffee table.
Coming next (I won't wait 3 months this time, promise): the "Hindsight is 20/20" guide to renting abroad.