First a bit about the housing situation out here. Yes, we are here because of the military, but there actually isn't any "on-base" housing at this particular base. What that means is we have to live "on the economy," which essentially means we live amongst the Italians. (Side note: There is the equivalent of one-base housing, but it's currently being faded out. The Air Force built homes on their dime on Italian land to rent out to Americans. Once the government contract is up they give the house back to the Italians and then the Italians can still rent to Americans if they want or sell/rent to locals.)
When we first get here we had 10ish days to house hunt. I don't know if that sounds like a lot of time, but when you're thrown into another country and culture and have to find a house, that's nothing. We technically had 30 days to find one, get the papers signed, and move out of lodging (the hotel) on base, but my husband had to start work after 10 days. Luckily, our sponsor was great and started showing us homes on day one. (A sponsor is just what it sounds like—someone who has already "been there and done that" and can help show you the ropes.)
I was extremely nervous about finding a place to live. We got here after PCS season and I didn't think there would be many places left. The house we ended up getting was the second house we saw. As we walked through it the first time we knew it'd be ours; even though it was completely empty we started visualizing where our things would go. We still saw other homes, just to make sure we were making a good decision, but ended up going with this one.
Our landlord, while 100 percent Italian, speaks great English. This house is sort of a duplex, meaning our neighbor's house is attached to ours, but it's still completely separate (we have our own utilities, fenced-in yard, etc.). From what we've gathered, this house is on family land; our neighbor is our landlord's aunt, the field next door belongs to her uncle (or cousin?), and this house used to be her parent's place. The thing that sold us was the fact that it's been vacant for several years and they've completely revamped it, so everything is fairly modern and new—new floors (tile and wood), new lights, new kitchen, new appliances, new everything.
Enough chatting...here's the downstairs of our place!
The Outside:Our front yard is also our backyard and there's an apartment complex surrounding our place. We were a bit hesitant with this situation at first, but we're fine with it now. Bella has a place to run around and sun bathe, and apartments will shield the sun during the summer (air conditioners aren't like they are back home, so I'll take any heat relief I can get)!
Welcome to our casa!
|I'm working on getting art up on the blank wall to the left!|
I actually really like our kitchen. At first I thought it was tiny, but then I realized it's actually the perfect size for us. The only small things in the kitchen are the appliances. The fridge is built in and next to the oven on the right and it's European size, so it's much smaller than what Americans are used to. The "freezer" is above the fridge and it's basically the size of one of the travel igloos, possibly smaller; the oven is super teeny—we had to buy new cookie sheets and several of our casserole dishes don't fit.
As for the sink. Well, if you follow me on Twitter then you've probably heard me complain about doing the dishes
The house didn't come with any storage, shelves, or closets of any type, so we went to Ikea and bought the island/cutting board stand and the white pantry you see above. I'm also working on an art project to go above the cutting board stand.
The Living Room:If you saw our Georgia house, then this may look familiar since it's basically the same set up. The only difference is we don't have anything on the wall behind the TV. The walls are all concrete, so hanging things up is tougher than normal. We put everything up there before realizing we wanted to decorate, but now it's not worth the hassle. We actually now have this piece of art hanging on the blank wall behind the couch. (Note to self: the next time I take pictures of the house, make the pillows look pretty).
The Dining Room:
I mentioned above that the military loans out furniture. Along with the microwave, we're also borrowing a buffet/hutch and the American-size fridge. Sometimes that fridge will be completely empty and other times it's full with leftovers and veggies that don't fit in the other one. It also has an American-sized freezer on top, which is VERY handy :)
|Someone was very punny :)|
I love that we have two bathrooms. We saw a lot of homes that just had one bathroom despite having four bedrooms. This room also doubles as our laundry room, which is ironic since our washer and dryer are both broken at the moment. (I just need to call to have them come fix it, but I keep getting the run around, so it's been easier to wash our clothes on base.)
We're lucky that Bella likes going into her crate, so we have one downstairs and one upstairs, which is actually pretty convenient! Above her crate are our maps. I'm starting a new "map wall" project, but I think it may need to wait till we get to our next base. We have our Newlywed Map up and a vintage Italy one for now.
Not having storage or a garage means we have to make due with the space we have. Hence, stuffing our stuff under the stairs.
And that's the end of the downstairs tour! There are several things I'm excited to share upstairs, so hopefully I can get that post published this week!
I should also mention that every home out here is different, so while this is our home in Italy, it's not necessarily a typical Italian home. If you have questions on the housing out here, feel free to leave a comment!