Tag Archives: apartment

First door on the left

6 Sep

I think it was our second day in the apartment before I asked Colin what the half-toilet thing next to our regular toilet is. Not super familiar with male restrooms, I thought maybe it was a urinal. Nope, we have a bidet.

Kristen and I use it to wash our feet before bed—nobody uses it for its intended purpose, and it conserves more water than turning on the faucet in the tub! (Yes, we have a tub!)

I wonder what these Italians (and Greeks and French and Muslims and Arabs and Indians and Filipinos and South Americans…) think of Americans who prefer just wiping. The closest approximation I can come up with is what I think about people who leave a public restroom without washing their hands. I don’t think I’ll make the transition, but there is a movement to bring bidet-use to the USA.

Another fun and difficult feature of our bathroom is the drying rack. With a simple (only slightly broken) pulley system, I can hoist damp clothes above the tub to sit in a dark closed room for a few days until they’re dry enough. That system might need to be reconsidered when winter arrives.


The move-in

1 Sep

It’s hard to look back and recapture how the first days in Bologna felt. We ate pizza for two meals a day for several days. A lot of shops still had their gates down because it was still only halfway through the Italian August vacation, so it absolutely felt like a ghost town on certain streets.

I know it doesn't look like much, but this pugliese pizza (tomato sauce, red onions, and Parmesan cheese) is definitely worth going to the other side of town to get, which I would have to do from our apartment.

The big stores, the department stores, were not only open, but also having inventory-clearing sales. Believe it or not, Colin decided those should be the first stop. We were carrying two weeks’ worth of stinking clothes on our back and would have nothing fresh until we went back to his school to pick up our luggage, offending his administrators with our putrid attire. Or we could buy new things and risk offending only the clerks.

Two days after we returned, we went on a housing tour with a man from the school and seven other students. We saw 34 apartments; Colin counted. We ruled out the three- to six-bedroom apartments immediately, and in the end were left with a handful of single and double apartments that we would be happy in. As nice and easy as it would be to have a single, there was a huge difference in rent with the doubles, and that money could be so much better spent on cheese and traveling.

So we picked a historic-looking double with a spacious master bedroom, a dining room made for dinner parties, and a well-lit kitchen. The wood floors in our bedroom (apparently from WWII) are warped with age and squeak no matter how gently you step, and the gilt gold frames with faded landscapes are high on the list of things to replace.

Alternatively, you can shut the shutters for pitch black any time of day.

Against the wall you can't see is a wooden cabinet stocked with three sets of coffee cups and 18 wine glasses!

The housing guy didn’t want us to take the double and made threatening noises about our having to find the roommate, but when we agreed to the undertaking, he changed his tone and assured us someone would take it and continued to show the smaller room on his tours. Our roommate is Kristen from Seattle; she just graduated from Georgetown and is here at Johns-Hopkins doing international law.

We returned on a Wednesday, and that was all settled by Monday. That’s pretty quick for Italian standards, I’m learning.