by Melinda Gallo

More apartments to visit in my future

Early this morning, I received a phone call from the agenzia immobiliare (real estate agency) saying that they wanted to move our appointment to 11:45AM instead of 12:30PM today. I was also told that the other girl in the office wasn't going to show me, but rather the proprietario (owner) of the agenzia immobiliare. I felt a little nervous about that last part because I had seen him, but hadn't yet met him. And, I was thinking about what my friend said and reminded myself to keep an open mind.

I arrived in front of the apartment building near Piazza d'Azeglio a little early and the agente (agent) was already there to greet me. The first thing he asked me was if my family was from Naples because he knows of a few families with the same last name as me. He told me that he was from Naples too, but that he's been living here for many years.

The agente opened the doors for me and led me into the the apartment. It looked just like the photos, which says a lot because sometimes the pictures make it look better than what it really is. I really liked the large cucina (kitchen) because I need room to cook. Many of the apartments that I have seen so far only have a cucinotto (kitchenette) and are just too small to cook in for me.

I was pleased with the apartment, but I found it rather small overall. There were only two vani (rooms): kitchen/living room and bedroom. In Italy, we define an apartment by the number of vani, not bedrooms. The one I saw today, for example, was a two vani and all the other ones I've looked at have been three vani or more.

Dave would've been happy with the lavastoviglie (dishwasher) though. I'm keeping this one in the back of my mind because I like the area: it is in centro (downtown) and fuori centro (out of town) at the same time. It's close to my mercato (market), but not in the touristy area of town.

I had a few nightmares last night about the apartment because the woman told me that it was al piano terra (on the ground floor). I told the agente my concerns because I had had my apartment broken into when I was on the first floor many years ago. He assured me that the neighborhood was filled with mostly italiani and was rather safe and clean.

The agente told me that he could get me the apartment for 200 Euros less than what they are asking for, if I was interested.

The agente was very nice and talked to me about other apartments that he has and was incredibly honest about the pregi (good points) and the difetti (bad points) of each one. He offered to show me a few other apartments, which on his website were listed as solo referenziati (only people with references). I was flattered that I went from being a sconosciuta (unknown person/stranger) to a referenziata after our first meeting.

I have a feeling that being a referenziato is at the agente's discretion. It's not like he ran a credit check or asked me any other questions. So, I think that maybe being from California is a plus.

I liked the agente quite a bit. He was very patient and let me look around as much as I wanted. Besides, I felt he was honest and truly wanted me to find something I'd like instead of trying to rush me like the other agenti have done a little bit with me.

Before we left the apartment, he asked me if I have ever gone to Naples or Sicily and told me that I must go visit both. He said, "Firenze è bella perché c'è l'arte, ma Napoli e la Sicilia sono bellissime da vedere e da vivere!" (Florence is beautiful because there is art, but Naples and Sicily are very beautiful to see and to live!).

So, my search continues, but I'm not losing hope. If push comes to shove, we could take the apartment that I saw today even though it didn't have a fornello a gas (gas stove), but rather a fornello elettrico (electric stove). I'm still hoping that by the end of the month, we'll be in a new apartment. Simone would be happy and I'd feel less stress too.

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