Soon I might be able to publish a book about apartment-hunting. All the places I have seen, all the landlords I have met, all the impossible demands real estate agents have made. (Seriously, I am not giving you all my pay checks, a written letter of recommendation from my former landlord, my work contract, a form stating where I was born, which church I belong to and why I moved to Dizzel and a credit report.)
But there are also funny things along the road to a new home. Like the real estate agent who called me last Saturday morning. “The apartment you inquired about does not have a balcony”, she told me. “And I am telling you, as a young woman, you shouldn’t move in anywhere that does not have a balcony”. I could not think through what she meant (do I, ‘as a young woman’, need a balcony so that some Romeo can stand under it and declare his love in singing?) because she had already moved forward in the conversation, asking me why I wanted to move out from where I live now. She did not give me a chance to reply but answered her own question. “Is the place too small? Or is it a break-up? Oh, I am sure it’s a break-up!” Since then I am very self-conscious about my phone voice. Apparently it has “break-up girl” written all over it?!
Last week, I looked at an apartment that qualifies for the category “Absolutely inacceptable” in my (so far only hypothetical) book. Okay, it was not that bad but I do not plan to move in anywhere where one cannot have an oven. In my entire live, I lived 8 weeks without an oven and let me tell you that was not pretty. As I was standing outside the house before the showing, another apartment-hunting ‘young lady’ started making conversation with me. I quickly learned that she was also new in town (even newer than me, I am the kind of person now that gets asked for directions), also moved here for the job and also knew no one in Dizzel. Other people might find it desperate to befriend someone you met outside a stranger’s house and with whom you only share the birth decade and the dislike for the shown apartment. If you think that is desperate you probably have never been new anywhere. Also, you then do not know the story of my friend Wiebke. She came to see a room in my very first flatshare that was up for rent. It took only a few minutes until she said something in the style of, “Well, I don’t like this apartment. But you’re cool. Do you wanna hang out and watch Grey’s Anatomy?” Wiebke and I are friends to this day.