Brian & Ann's European Experience

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Our New Apartment

We have found a place to live.

After four weeks of looking, and two previous unsuccessful attempts, Brian and Ann have now signed the papers and put down the deposit to rent an apartment in Dordrecht. After having done this once already, only to have the rental company call up and tell us they rented us an apartment that they actually, legally could not rent us, I am not going to feel safe until I am sitting on my bed in the new place.

At first our difficulty was in finding a place that was both in the center of Dordrecht, and also nice enough to live in for three years. Neither of us was keen on the idea of moving again, so we wanted to choose a place once that we could stay in for a while.

We looked at quite a few quaint apratments right on the main shopping street of Dordrecht (the Voorstraat), but everything we looked at there was extremely old, and looked it. Then we saw a newer apartment that had four floors worth of space (palatial in terms of European apartment size), but it just had no character at all. Finally, we found a nice split level apartment right on the water, within walking distance to work and the train station (which is very important, as we don't have a car).

Our new place has two bedrooms and an office, plus the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. It's a split level place, so it feels large on the inside. The place is right on the water and has a great view of the Maas river. The kitchen and bathroom are being renovated as we speak, so that will be nice. The only drawback (besides the price) is that it comes 'unfurnished'. Let me explain to you what the Dutch mean by 'unfurnished': if it has the remotest potential for having value, and it can be removed... it is. We're talking everything. Blinds, light fixtures, appliances, everything. There are wires hanging from the ceiling instead of lights. the real estate agent had to bring a flashlight with her to show us the bathroom because it doesn't have a window. THAT is how cheap these people are.

But that's alrgiht. New bathroom and kitchen. New furniture. New appliances. It will be like a brand new place. Ann is the one who favors the rustic look. Me, I want my apartment to look like a page out of an IKEA catalog. I want gleaming appliances that whir and beep and have flashing lights and look like they came from a spaceship. I want smooth floors and white walls and the house equivalent of 'new car smell'.

Plus, the place has a garage. Which is half the battle toward getting a car. Especially in downtown Dordrecht, where the waiting list to get a parking permit is measures in years.

I hope that we will be able to entertain some of our friends from the states in our new digs. All you freeloaders, you now have a place to crash. You just get here, we'll give you a place to stay.

Move in day is Nov. 1. We expect you all to be there. And I'm buying an extra-heavy couch so that this time when I drop it on Jimmy's legs it does the job right.



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