At first when I moved to Moscow I lived alone in my old Soviet flat for 3 weeks before I eventually got a flat mate. I was busy settling in, getting to know the area and spent a lot of evenings at home watching a bit of TV and studying some Russian after walking around the neighbourhood. Most nights I went to bet quite late and then my neighbour from downstairs would bang against my floor with something.
This scared me a bit so I tried not to make noise and was really quiet; I made certain that my music was turned down low but still most of the time he would bang as I was getting into bed. According to me I gave him no reason to complain.
Scarcely here for a week and one night after getting into bed the neighbour comes and bangs on my door, shouting and nearly breaking down my door. I thought someone was attacking me! I ran into the kitchen and got the biggest chopping knife I could find. I then called the school emergency number but there wasn’t much they could do so I ended up sitting on my bed with a huge chopping knife as my defense, listening to the crazy Russian guy shouting stuff at me and hoping that the door holds. At the time I didn’t know who he was or why he was trying to break down my door.
He gave up after half an hour and stomped off, but I didn’t get any sleep that night as I was scared he would actually come back.
Not even a week later a policeman came and banged on my door, while I was already in bed half asleep, shouting that I should open up otherwise he would break down my door. I was told never to open the door, even for a cop in Moscow so wasn’t planning on doing anything of the kind. I kept asking him what he wants, all he kept shouting was “I don’t speak English, you open door or I break it!” Really not something I want to hear while in my Pajamas and all alone in this old flat on the other side of the world. Again I called the work emergency number and this time they called the police for me. The policeman kept on banging and shouting and finally he got a phone call and then left. I was left all jumpy and scared, had the huge chopping knife as bed buddy yet again.
The housing administrator called the police the next morning and they explained to her that it was my neighbour complaining about me because I walking around in my flat and according to him I walk like an elephant which makes his chandelier below swing so he called the police on me. I couldn’t believe it; it was too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
At least after this I got a flat mate who could speak a bit of Russian. The neighbour started calling us on the phone complaining every time we walked around, or moved in the flat. This banging on the door in the middle of the night and calling us kept up for a while, He actually asked us to please watch where we walk and to make sure we don’t walk over the area where his chandelier is, as if we could see through the floor.
He also suggested that if this is not possible that we should please refrain from walking in our flat. So not only does he expect us to have ex-ray vision, we should also miraculously acquire the ability to float or fly.
One evening I ran to pick up the phone and was busy talking to my mom when the neighbour came banging again. He actually banged the door open and charged into the kitchen shouting at me. I put down the phone, picked up that huge chopping knife lying next to the sink and then charged at him. He shouted and looked as if he was going to attack me.
I shouted back at him and in my anger switched over to some Afrikaans words that I knew he would not be able to understand. I then made stabbing motions at him; I just wanted to get him out of my flat.
He left screaming that I was crazy and that he was going to call the police because I attacked him!
The nerve, I told him to please call the police I want to tell them he broke in and attacked ME!
My neighbour left me alone after this; I never heard another peep out of him! I think he was convinced that he had one VERY crazy South-African living up stairs, and was not going to get her mad again.