But the house hunt itself was not so pleasant. After much gambling with Hotwire deals, and lugging our 150 pound luggage (done mostly by James I must gratefully admit) from cheap hotel to cheap hotel we decided to play it safe and invest in a real estate agent. With bleach blond hair and skin shade to match, she was the epitome of a Prague holka
("a hip chick"). In her English, broken and with a thick rural Czech accent, she reassured us that she would find us what we needed at the price we wanted. She definitely delivered.
Our first apartment viewing was a fright
. As we stood at the steps of a graffiti-covered 10 storey building, James optimistically pointed out that the row of erotic shops and XXX rental places were a few doors down and not directly beside us – how comforting. I turned to study the other side of the street – there was a non-stop bar where outside, a group of bandana-wearing men were congregating, probably discussing the day’s drop in the Dow Jones. Seriously though - they were scary looking. I could see it in James’ eyes that he was desperately seeking out the pros and trying so badly to make the best of the situation – but when it comes down to it, my safety comes first to him (he’s a good guy that way). Our agent introduced us to the landlord and we set off through the dingy corridor and smelly lift to view the pending flats. We should have known better. The neighbouring inhabitants should have been warning enough. But in a way I find solace in the fact that our lovely apartment looks all the more lovely thanks to the sights that awaited us in that building’s apartments. I’ve decided to keep my mom and dad`s minds at ease while they reads this, and spare all the details of the sad little rooms we toured that day. After seeing the reactions on our faces and the desperation in our attempt to glorify the first awful space, I think our fair agent grasped a better understanding of what we were looking for.
Any of the next few apartments would have been a fine choice, but this one suited our budget best and perhaps, unknowingly, our need for something with a little European flare - with its sky-light row of wooden windows, to the marine blue floor-to-ceiling tiled (it’s not pretty, but it’s ours) water closet
I start my first day of school tomorrow (did I mention I’m a preschool teacher?) and am nervous and excited and scared and overjoyed all at once. My parents were both teachers back in the Motherland, and suddenly in some weird way even though I’ve “gained” so much from these years studying journalism, I think I want to follow in their footsteps and become Ms. Natalie
It's one of those apartments where great books are written. From the exposed wood columns which hold up the slanted ceilings, to the tiny embedded nook-like windows randomly placed in the kitchen and bathroom – our apartment is charming.