by Melinda Gallo

Searching for a new apartment

I officially started looking for an apartment today. I have been surfing the Internet, talking to a few people I know, and buying La Pulce to check out the classified ads. But, today I finally saw an apartment. Simone (our landlord) will continue renting to us, but he'd like to move back within the next 6 months.

I called a woman yesterday who told a friend of mine that she had two apartments for rent. When I talked to her, she said she only had one left, the one near Santa Croce. So, I made an appointment to visit it with her. Initially, I was supposed to meet her at 3:15 PM. She later called me at home to tell me that she couldn't make it at that time and then asked me to come at 2PM. She told me that she'd let me in and then she'd leave me there with the tenants because she had another appointment.

She rattled off the address and when I looked at it on the map, I told Dave, "I hope it's not that street with the stinky garbage can at the corner."

So when I turned the corner there I was face-to-face with the big garbage bin that we walk by on Borgo dei Greci that stinks. The one I have to hold my breath until I'm at least 15 feet past it!

I stood there for about 15 minutes and the woman finally arrived. On the phone with me yesterday, she kept using the formal you (Lei), but in person, she just said "tu." I'm certainly OK with it and I actually prefer it. I'm sure it's because she saw that we were about the same age.

She buzzed the people inside and they opened the door. The entrance was a little dirty with old tile and cement. We walked up the stairs to a landing with one room on the right, a small kitchen, and another room on the left. The bathroom was downstairs in a separate room.

The tenants were actually not living there, but working. I could tell they were in the process of moving out with boxes and papers all over the place. It literally looked like a tornado went through it.

She told me that it'll be rented out as an unfurnished apartment. And as is custom in Italy there are only two types of rentals: furnished and unfurnished. A furnished apartment can include anything from kitchen cabinets and appliances to beds, tables, and washing machines. An unfurnished apartment includes doors, windows, sinks and whatever else is part of the actual structure.

We walked through the apartment quite quickly and she kept telling me about the courtyard that I could see, but was not impressed when I looked out and saw cars parked there and a man talking on his cell phone.

When we got outside, she told me to call her if I'm interested. I tried to explain to her that we're looking for something a bit nicer and she told me that they're going to clean it all up and repaint the apartment. I figured she's just too busy to help me out, so I thanked her and left.

I'll keep looking. It's very difficult for us because our apartment is so wonderful (albeit a bit small), but at least we're not in a rush either. So we've got time to look and find the perfect place.

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