Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Warning, this is long...
Tony likes to shop. I do not. He likes to look at every possible option and examine it inside and out before deciding to purchase it. I, on the other hand, only buy things if I don't think they are too expensive, which is rare.
Although we approach shopping differently, we do have something in common when it comes to buying things. We don't want to waste our money.
This is all good to know before I plunge into our decision-making process regarding finding a place to live in Naples. Something else that needs saying is how the military housing situation works over here. Basically, they make living on the support-site mandatory. Unless they determine that they don't have room for you on the site, so they give you a letter to live where you wish. Sometimes how they determine whether or not they have room is a bit unclear. Then, you get a living stipend depending upon your rank. Normally, you are allotted a certain amount and you can do with it what you please. For example, say you are given $1000 a month to cover rent, but you find a place for $500, so you get to pocket the other $500. Sweet deal, huh? Tony and I thought we'd just find us a cheap little apartment and save the rest of the money for traveling. However, here in Naples, it doesn't work like that. Instead, they simply cover your rent up to a certain amount. So, you are allowed $1000, but if you find a place for $500, then you only get $500. Still with me? Okay, this is important, because remember how I said I only buy things when I deem them to be inexpensive? Well, that gets thrown out the window here, because why live in a place for $500 when you could live in a more comfortable $1000 place? Right? So now how am I supposed to decide?
That brings us to the options. So many wonderful options for Tony to revel in. So, here's how our house-hunting experience went down. First place we saw was a cozy, secure, large, brand new everything apartment in a "parco" with many other NATO and military workers and no Italian neighbors. Our jaws were to the floor as we discovered the type of place we could afford to live in, but we were disappointed that it felt like America rather than Italy. On to the second place, which was also in a "parco" with Italian neighbors as well as some NATO and military people, and it was HUGE. Four bathrooms, a basement, and a garage. Loved it and pretty much thought it was perfect, except for the small kitchen, the steep stairs, the weird-shaped living room, and the location being a bit further from Tony's job. Okay, so we keep looking and go to a place on a hill with an incredible view, the house was not impressive compared to the first two, and there was a very steep driveway and a railing that Graham could easily fall off and tumble into the depths of some scratchy bushes never to be seen again. We press on and visit an apartment in the city that would be perfect if we did not have a kid, but we do, so we keep looking. But we wait a few days and mull over the places we'd seen and why they would be great and why they wouldn't be so great, etc. On our next tour, we start at a GIGANTIC house that is all brand new and gorgeous in the middle of some fields with a view and a happy American family (from Texas, boo) next door. We love it, but we realize we would never be able to furnish it and we don't want to live next to someone from Texas because we don't want to have to hurt them during football season. The next place is another huge house with a shared swimming pool and access to the rooftop. Okay, so this one we love and think is the one until we go to the next one which our realtor insists we see. It is up a bit of a bumpy road, but it is incredible. It is the one pictured previously on the blog. It seems to be a more manageable size and it has a nice, open kitchen space, which seems to be rare here. It also has a nice, big yard with plenty of room to garden. We love it. Tony especially loves it. We think we've made our decision, but then we start re-thinking everything again and wonder if the road will be too difficult and if it is in a safe enough area. So after a couple of days of thinking about it, we take a drive and explore the area around it and decide that we still like it. So, Tony goes to the housing office to put a "hold" on it, but then he starts looking on their data page at all the other houses they have to offer and he gets curious. He finds some addresses, and we go out in search of them on our own. We discover that we like the area where two of them are, so we schedule yet another house-hunting tour. The first one was a little disappointing, but at least it got us closer to our decision. Then, we went to the second one and fell in love. It had a lot of beautiful yard and a little pool and a sauna and the landlords were willing to leave a lot of the furniture. But, it was quite small. Not small enough to make us stop considering it, though. So, we bantered and discussed and thought and analyzed every angel of each of the places we'd seen and came up stuck. We went to bed.
This morning, Tony looked at me and said, "Which one is your favorite? 3 seconds to answer!" My mind stumbled and fumbled and the only thing that came out of my mouth was, "Um, I took more than 3 seconds already. I don't know. It's your turn. Which one is your favorite?" And he said, "The one with the nice view." (Which is the one previously pictured on the blog). So I said, "Okay, let's do it." And he said, "Okay, I'm going to the housing office right now to put a contract hold on it." So that is what he did! We did it!
Now, we wait. We wait until September because everyone in Italy is on vacation, so nothing can get done until September. And we celebrate. We celebrate because we're always looking for a reason to celebrate and making a decision is certainly reason enough for us!!!
Posted by Blaine Family at 3:34 PM