Not Exactly How I Pictured It

I’d like to start this post by saying that I am not as mad or complainy as the rest of my words may suggest. I was tired, aggravated, and trying to channel my inner gonzo after reading Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved”. Trust me, I understand every hiccup is part of the adventure 😁 Now I hope you enjoy this mess from the comfort of your own, fully-functioning home.

Feb 9th – 7 pm

“Ehh…we have a slight problem.”

I stood there rubbing my eyes with my fists because I woke up sixty seconds earlier from a sleep coma caused by the purest form of laziness. I had my hood pulled over my bed head and an annoyed look on my face. Staring back at me was the guy in charge of management who was wearing a blue vest – the same one who checked us into our disaster of an Airbnb just 6 days prior. What could be so big of a problem that we needed to be disturbed at 19:00?

“Yes?” I croaked.

“Your keetchen water has been leaking into the apartment downstairs and we have to move you tonight. I am so veddy sorry”

My puffy eyes glared back at him. “Like, right now? Is that what yesterday’s obnoxious 8 am construction was for?”

“Ehh yes I am so sorry about this. Eet is a problem that is out of our control.”

Shannon caught wind of the conversation and leaped from her comfy setup of being buried under her laptop and Giants blanket.

“Wai-hey-hey-t. We have to pack up all of our shit and get out of here right now. To where, exactly?” I think she thought it was a joke at first.

“We can go with your theengs or we can check it out first, huh?” he proposed. Our current place was barely functional, let alone comfortable, so we weren’t opposed to an upgrade if we were in store for one.

I locked the dead bolts behind me. I didn’t bother throwing on a jacket because the house of condominiums was only so big, so I figured we weren’t going very far. Of course I was wrong. Number one rule of travel is don’t expect ANYTHING, unless you’re at a 3-star hotel or more. Because when you’re paying only 20-something Euro a night to stay in the “up-and-coming” neighborhood of Rome, you have very little to fight back with when shit doesn’t go your way.

We followed Blue Vest who took us out the gate of our building and down the dimly lit, siren-echoing street. He said the place was not much further and an upgrade in his opinion. Smaller but nicer, apparently.

We turned the corner and headed up a hill, every step further from the tram station that was our portal to the Rome that we came here to experience. Behind another gate was the door to our new place.

“You have a terrace and a garden,” he said with pep in his voice. It’s February. When the sun doesn’t shine, it’s freakin’ cold. I could care less about dead plants outside my bedroom. Shannon was a few glasses of wine deep so she was buying everything he said. I wasn’t. I couldn’t. Something about the 8 am construction we weren’t warned about made me question the management here.

With a key and a strong push, Blue Vest popped the door open to a loft that was definitely rented out to couples. How do I know that? 1. It was tiny as shit and 2. There was only one bed! Oh yeah, did I mention our first place was a 2-bedroom with only one clean queen-sized bed? It was assumed we were sharing a room even though our Airbnb request blatantly said BEST FRIENDS. Here we were again with one bed and a saggy couch covered in horses with a view of Marilyn Monroe posing on another couch. Awesome.

We looked at it and left – there’s not much to see in a loft. We walked back, now cold AF, and faced the fact that our next twenty minutes would comprise of us shoving all of our belongings and then some into our suitcases to haul them back to the loft we walked from.

“Does it have a washer?” Shannon asked. Cleaning your clothes is a major concern when you only have three outfits to rotate between. Plus our last place had one.

“Ehh no but I can wash your clothes for you.” I’m sorry but the image of Blue Vest handling my Victoria’s Secret panties was not something I felt comfortable with. I’d rather have a garbage bag full of my dirty shit to take to Florence with me than risk having my clean stuff handled by this guy who was breaking this terrible news to us. No grazie.

Regardless of the washer we weren’t going to have, we packed our shit. Another man joined Blue Vest to help us with our things and they reassured us it was okay because they had a car for us to transport us and our things. That changes everything!

“Eets only for two nights until this problem ees fixed,” said Blue Vest. I cringed at the thought of moving again.

When we got back to the loft, they unloaded our things from the car, filled the toilet bowl with water, and began to dust. This place hadn’t been used in a long while and you definitely could tell.

“What’s the WiFi password?” Shannon asked because that is our literal lifeline to the rest of the world. It’s how I’m sharing this story with you now. Without it I am completely isolated aside from the person who’s been by my side for the past month, who is practically an extension of me.

The two men exchanged some words in Italian. Blue Vest made a phone call to find the answer. He said he would go back to the management office to get the keys to the place next door to find out. While he did this, Shannon and I sat on the couch refreshing our WiFi waiting for something to show up. Nothing did. There is no WiFi here…great.

When he got back, we discovered it worked out on the terrace. It’s currently 50-degrees Fahrenheit outside. I’m pretty fucking pissed at this point. We got the password and he left before we could bitch any more (I don’t blame him).

“Byeeee ladies!”

So, I’m writing this from the saggy horse couch while Shannon sits on her laptop at the rickety table on our 10×10 patio. The door is open and she’s drunk and singing “Rock the Casbah” while she makes the best of a bad situation. To follow suit and flip my mind from being stuck on negative, I walked to the kitchen sink to pour myself a glass of water and take a calm-the-fuck-down sip. To my surprise, there was water all over the ground trickling into the cracks of the tiles. I don’t think we had even used the sink yet but the cabinet below it was leaking everywhere. Oh, and we have no paper towels. Shannon is sending Blue Vest a video of the proof while I’m sit here steaming mad, not sure what to do about the current situation.

A hotel sounds extremely sexy right now. I’d go almost anywhere in the city – at any cost – so I didn’t have to be here anymore. But, my best friend is drunk and laughing it off, and finding another place would require me to join her on the freezing terrace to hook up to the WiFi. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I can guarantee you I’m not dealing with this shit at the moment. Blue Vest is on his way back so let’s see what he proposes to be done.

*A whole bunch of bullshit later* – Feb 10 – 10:17 pm

We were told we had to stay in this new place for ten more days which is not fucking happening so we found a new place we’re moving into tomorrow. We were invited out on this Friday night by Blue Vest (out of pity I’m sure) but can’t take him up on it because we have no hot water in the shower and I went on a run today for the first time in months!!!!! Oy.

We’re able to check into our new apartmentat 1 pm, but first, we have to go back to the management office to collect the money we paid for the tourist tax. Whether or not we get the rest of our money we paid for the nights we won’t stay here is TBD – we have yet to hear back from the guy who owns the property via Airbnb. Blue Vest told us he’s in the hospital for a heart problem…yikes. Not good news when three of your properties are experiencing major issues. Luckily my friend Chris got me the email of one of Airbnb’s executives – shoutout to you, Chris – so we will get our money back eventually…somehow.

To fill you in on what we’ve been doing outside of our apartment…

That post and video are still coming soon. Shitty WiFi means problems uploading pictures and videos, so we’ll have those for you when we can work out of an Airbnb that sticks to its promises (knock on wood). Until then, I hope you enjoyed the rant I recorded on Shan’s iPad from the comfort of our second place in Rome. Time to hit send from the terrace – ciao!

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The Grind Started When We Hit The Ground

Peep the video, then read the post…or do it the other way around. Whatever.

Day 2 started at 2 pm because that’s when we woke up.

We messed up a bit and didn’t set our alarms to adjust to the time change. But like, we were 30 hours deep without sleep so I think we allowed ourselves some catching up.

It’s already getting dark and we haven’t left the apartment. My eager self wants to go back into the sparkling city streets and check out all of the wonderful reasons we chose this city, but my adult self is creating and organizing our social media pages and content while looking for a place to live in February. Here’s what we’ve been told about getting an apartment:

Infeasible.jpeg

🙃

The city is so tiny and crowded that even Netherland natives have a hard time finding a place to live, let alone an outsider looking for a 2-month gig. It can take months to find what you’re looking for and have someone give you a chance.

Let’s go back to that concept of “figuring it out” for a minute.

“Figuring it out” is code word for “someone helping us” from now on. Here are our current leads on apartments and other important things we need in order to get settled, thanks to the people looking out for us:

Apartments

We’re included in a group on Facebook that is for buying/selling apartments and rooms for rent, which is a popular way to nail something down. This is a place where you’ve got to know people in order to make it. Friendliness has gone a long way so far.

Our leads:

We’ve messaged one seller so far about a private room near Westerpark and had a friend send along the contact info of a landlord her friend used not too long ago. We’ve got our eyes on other prospects, too!

Side note: The apartment we’re staying in now is conveniently placed by Rembrandt Square but it’s too expensive to continue on with. Also, I saw a fucking mouse scurry across the floor and I’m going to lose my mind and this owner’s future business if it doesn’t get resolved ASAP.

Places to eat

I will definitely be sharing these as we visit them, but here’s the first one we’ve gone to so far:

Cannibale Royale cannibale-royale

It apparently has the best ribs in the city, which is all I needed to know before we went. Google led us to this location, and a message from a friend solidified our it as our choice of a first meal.

We walked into the dimly lit restaurant/bar, sort of like what you’d see at Bar Taco on a Tuesday night. The place was decently packed, the music was bumping, and the menus were barely legible – which is the true mark of a happenin’ hipster joint. The walls were covered with modest cannibal-esque items: vintage weaponry, tribal masks, and other interesting themed decor. Did I mention this is right next to Dampkring, one of the most famous coffee shops in the city?

Our waitress was incredibly friendly and helpful – not to mention beautiful, which is something we’re beginning to notice. Everyone here is so hot! 🔥  We’re hoping assimilation works on physiques (or lack of), too. Which brings us to the next thing…

A reliable bike shop

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It welcomes repairs for up to two months after purchase, and we’re going there tomorrow. 🚲  We’re coming for you, Bike is Ready!

And more!

This is only Day 2 and I think we’re doing a LOT better than we were before. In between “figuring it out” and actually trying to settle, we’ve been enjoying the true beauty this city has to offer. We already feel like we’re home. It’s so easy to walk around here like you belong while exploring the squares and trying new things.

Here’s a pic of Shan in the middle of the memoriam at Rembrandtplein aka Rembrandt Square:

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When we have some stories of our daytime adventures, we’ll be sure to post ’em here. Stay tuned for more!

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We Found A Place To Live!

Best parts about our new apartment:

  • It’s in the heart of Amsterdam
  • It’s 2 bedrooms
  • Modern AF
  • And for the grand finale…IT HAS A WASHER/DRYER!

I am not one to commit to a place without having seen it first, even for a weekend getaway on AirBnB, but that’s just something I have to get over.

We live in an era where we have to learn to trust the power of transparency even though photoshop pokes its ugly head in almost every picture posted on the Internet.

skeptical
Me reading the comments on AirBnb.

I would’ve never taken a leap of faith on renting a place if it weren’t for the fact that Shannon and I leave in 18 days and we need some sort of security for when we get there. I just wish it didn’t have to be so expensive to buy personal space in other parts of the world. But so it goes…

amsterdam-canal

Do any of you readers have experience with trusting your gut & the Internet to commit to something you haven’t seen in real life? If so, please share to make me feel better 🙂

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