Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A week of firsts

Stefano signing our rental contract with Elisabetta (our landlord), Alessandra (Real Estate agent) and
Monica (Real Estate agent for needy expats)
Speaking zero Italian, we knew that finding an apartment to rent was always going to be a challenge. Google translate has its limitations, even more so when you need to follow up and speak to an agent in Italian. Within days I threw out googling as an apartment search strategy. Thankfully I found a much more successful way to find the perfect apartment in Milan. Her name is Monica.

Monica, is a delightful New Yorker who has lived in Milan for many years. She raised her family here with her husband Georgio, so of course she speaks perfect Italian.  She genuinely loves her work as a real estate agent specialising in finding rental accommodation for expats. I met Monica through an online expat forum, so when we finally arrived in late June, she had booked several apartments for me to inspect. Monica explained that it usually only takes about six inspections to find the perfect apartment for her clients because by then she has their needs figured out.

After less than a week of apartment inspections, I walked into the shell of an apartment undergoing complete renovation. I loved it immediately and so did Stefano. Monica was right. It was the sixth apartment I'd inspected.  
The location on via Stendhal, just on the edge of the design district, Zona Tortona, was perfect. It is only 10 minutes for Stefano to walk to his office and just a 10 minute tram or bus ride to the city, so I'll easily make it to class on time for those much needed Italian lessons. Although we loved the apartment, it wasn't due to be finished till September. But Monica negotiated with the owner, Elisabetta, who managed to finish the apartment in record time. Elisabetta promised it would be ready for us to move into at the end of July and it was, just in time to welcome Stefano's sister Carmel as our first guest at via Stendhal.

As you can see, Stefano is very happy to be in the kitchen again and I'm very happy that he's happy!
Carmel wasn't our only visitor this week. Cherie and Dora were our first dinner guests, and Ian, Angus and Sherry were our first aperitivo guests. 
Moving also involved our first foray onto the roads of Milano. Although our apartment is furnished, there were quite a few bits and pieces that required a trip to IKEA, so we joined a local car share group and quickly filled 'our Alfa'.
It has been an exhausting, challenging, exciting week of firsts in Milan. We celebrated the end of Week One with a short walk down via Stendhal. I guarantee this won't be the first and last time that we invite guests downstairs for after dinner dolci.
addio, finché la nostra prossima avventura


  1. All you need now is the Vespa...

  2. I love it, how fabulous that you still need to go to Ikea for bits & bobs, even in Milan!
    Congratulations on the apartment, must be very nice to have a home again.