This is part 2 of Team McLennan and the Journey to a New Land. If you’re just joining us, check out Part 1: This Isn’t Heaven, This Sucks.
So after we took ~30min to let the shock of the university-supplied apartment wear off, then we decided to try and find a new apartment. The 5 of us (Staci, Christine, Marcus, Jon & I) went up to an internet cafe near an apartment Jon’s work had put him up at for a few weeks when he was working on a project in Amsterdam and began scouring the listings we could find online for anything that was available. We sent some emails and wrote down contact information so we could call the next morning.
(I need to side-bar for just a second and thank my wonderful sister-in-law Christine for her bulldog-like determination and for making all the calls. For those of you who don’t know Christine, she’s Belgian and speaks Dutch. The Dutch speaking part was key, because even though most Dutch people speak English, it’s still a secondary language for them, so easy communication in English isn’t always a given. She was a huge asset to us in finding a place in one day in a notoriously difficult and over crowded housing market. We can’t possibly thank her enough. And Jon, too, for marrying her. But that’s it.)
Now where was I? Oh yeah, finding a new apartment in one day. Well, Christine called a few places the next morning (8/17). She talked to Marcel at Perfect Housing and arranged for us to see a fully furnished apartment a few metro stops further south than the original apartment. It was further from the school, but was just off one of the metro lines, and still only ~3.5km (~2.25mi) from school, so easily bike-able.
We checked out the apartment @ ~1P. It was almost twice as large as the school apartment, off the ground floor and in a quiet neighborhood. Only drawback: It’s almost twice as much in rent (â‚¬1250/mth.) It includes gas, electric and water, but not cable or internet. Fortunately cable is cheap, ~â‚¬26/mth for basic digital cable and a bonus package. Internet costs about the same as in the U.S., though I can’t tell you about the reliability yet as it hasn’t been hooked up in our new apartment yet. Neither has cable. More on this later.
Not having any luck getting in touch with any of other listings in our price range, we opted to take the only apartment we looked at. It was nice, clean, big and still pretty convenient. And compared to our original apartment, it was a palace. We wanted to move in that day, but the agent was unable to contact the owner to get approval, so we had to wait until Monday (8/20).
You’d think that would be the end, but you’d be wrong. Stay tuned.