December 12, 2011

House Hunters International: Why you hafta make-a da fun?

Description: Nicole is searching for a hip flat in central Rome.
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So you know how there are those people who are like super into Italy and visit all the time and want to buy a centuries old second home there? I'm not one of those people. In fact, I think Italy is kind of overhyped. It's fine, but I think there are other places in Europe that are better. Italy, for me, is just meh. Maybe it's because I don't really like wine (well, any wine besides Arbor Mist). Or maybe it's because I really, really hate Silvio Berlusconi.

Nicole is moving to Rome to take a job as a first grade teacher at an international school. I wonder if it's the Italian branch of France's USA High.

Nicole is already bugging me for two reasons:

1. She has that annoying Barbara Walters-type accent where R's sound slightly like W's.

Too bad she's moving to Rome and not Milan or Tuscany or any of the other places in Italy that don't have an R in the name.

2. She wears an ascot with a sweater draped over her shoulders.

That's really all it takes to get on my bad side: an annoying voice and poor accessory choices.

Anyway, Nicole heads to Rome to look for an apartment with the help of her realtors Sabrina, a native New Yorker, and Katia. Nicole's school will subsidize her housing costs up to 3,000 Euros a month and she can afford to pitch in $1,000US herself. Nicole wants a two bedroom apartment with modern amenities and lots of closets in a central location. Yeah, good luck with that, Nicole.

The first apartment they look at is 4,500 Euros a month and has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. 

Nicole doesn't like the color of the dining room, which she describes as "puke green." I don't know anyone who pukes the color of shamrock shakes, unless they're puking after too many shamrock shakes. 

Ok, I also don't like Nicole for two more reasons:

1. She's wearing a joutfit/Texas tuxedo/Canadian tuxedo.

2. She asks, "Why would the washing machine be in the kitchen?" I've never planned a move to Europe and even I know that they put the washing machines in the kitchen. When the realtors explains that it's for space reasons, Nicole replies, "That's not quite what we have at home." No shit? Europe and the US are different in a lot of ways? Huh. Why couldn't someone have told Nicole that before she decided to move there?

They show Nicole the master bedroom and tell her that air conditioning units are only in the bedrooms. Nicole does that thing where you passive aggressively raise your eyebrows exasperatedly when you're annoyed, which is hard to capture in a picture. She really wants air conditioning because Rome is humid and congested. When I'm in congested areas, I only like recirculated air. No fresh air for me or Nicole.

I really want to have a bedroom one day where the bedding matches the walls. It's totally antiquated and 60's and I love it, but only for one room.

The second apartment is $6,500 a month and has two bedrooms and two baths. It's also right next to the Vatican which would absolutely freak me out. 

Like, running into nuns on the street, no thank you. 

The living/dining rooms is nice and bright and has good hardwood floors and the kitchen is updated.

They check out the bathroom and Nicole points to the bidet and asks, "What's this?" Ok, seriously, you're moving to Rome and you don't know what a bidet is? When the realtor says, "A bidet," she then asks what a bidet does. Seriously? You haven't even heard of a bidet before? Did you not watch the Real World Los Angeles? Because that's how I learned what a bidet was, when I was ten. 

They check out the terrace and Nicole is disappointed at how small it is and curtly says, "Is that it? Let's go." But outdoor space wasn't even on her wishlist, so qualunque cosa.

Apartment #3 is $7,500 a month and they never say how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has. This third apartment felt really rushed. 

The apartment has exposed beams in every room, which would be awesome. They would be even more awesome painted pink. Or with glitter on them.

There's also a large outdoor space, which Nicole likes, but I wouldn't like looking out on all those other buildings. It feels like turn of the last century New York with like clothes lines and someone dirty kids playing kick the can.

Anyway, it's decision time. Nicole immediately rules out the first apartment. Sabrina tells Nicole that they were able to negotiate with the second apartment's owner and he brought the price down to 3,300 Euros a month, within Nicole's budget. She decides to take that apartment.

And she's still wearing that damn sleeveless denim shirt four months later.

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