We left off last time teasing the series of milestones that passed us by on a near-daily basis. A little context: there has been some advice going around in immigrant* circles that suggests you be content if you get one thing accomplished in a day. Between the language barrier, the culture shock, and just trying to live your life, getting one thing done in a day actually does feel like you had a good day. Our first shop in a grocery store took about two hours, and we went out with a granny grocery trolley’s-worth of vittles. Add in getting there and getting back, deciding where things would go in the Tetris-like kitchen we currently inhabit, and then actually eating some of said vittles (just to say we did it, honestly) was absolutely all that was going to happen that day. So what else does an accomplishment look like around here?
On our first day in our actual apartment (as opposed to the AirBnB we stayed out for the first couple days) we met our real estate agent there. He showed us in and we got our first real look at the place.
Both of us were RELIEVED.
The apartment looked so much better in person than the photos had led us to fear. (Funny side story: It turns out we both felt that the place we’d chosen would be adequate, that we would be able to “get by.” Neither said this to the other, not wanting to bring each other down.) For one thing, the photos left us wondering if we had to enter through the backyard, and whether there really were two bathrooms — was one down in the cave? Turns out this is a lovely apartment, recently remodeled, with hardwood floors and high ceilings, just up a flight of stairs from the front door. The cave is behind the retail area (empty) below us. We have neighbors across the hall (in the front of the building, with balconies on the street) and above us, a total of four units. Our backyard, while seriously overgrown, is huge. The furnishings are fine, and we can rearrange everything to make it all work.
Lisa did note that there seemed to be some water damage on the floor and in a couple of walls, and there was a definite “musty” smell to the air, but didn’t see any mold. (This is what’s known as foreshadowing.) We put the funky smell down to the unit being closed up for months and figured it would get aired out soon enough with our being here.
Our only “oh dear” moment was when we realized the place had no cooling/heating units, something we’d completely overlooked in our discussions with our realtor. It was on our list of needs when we were putting it together, but somehow not in what we asked him for. Our mistake, totally, and it pushed “go shopping for home goods” to the very top of our list. The last thing our real estate agent did for us after helping us with utilities and going to lunch was to drop us off at the mall; woo, shopping! We muddled our way through home heating options, and after we’d settled on a couple we paid for them and arranged for delivery. We inquired about the charge and was told it would be 2 euros. Wait, what? 2 bucks (yeah yeah) for home delivery? Oookayy… Sure enough, *the next morning* they arrived via postal delivery. This place is nutty sometimes, I tell you what.
And that’s it. That’s what a day’s accomplishment can look like. Future days have included climbing such mountains as “order lunch to go”, “turn on the television”, and “make a recognizable sandwich.” As our proficiency slowly develops in communicating (faster typing in google translate, or actually learning some words, take your pick) these things become less intimidating and we have hopes of knocking down two or three tasks in a single day. Time will tell, and we shall report the results faithfully.
* the prevalent term is “Expat” but we’ll get into why we don’t like the term (but aren’t prepared to go to war over it) later.