I actually wrote this last week, only I just realized today that I published it as a page and not a post. I’m still new to this blogger stuff 🙂
I’ve been away from this blog for way too long, but oh my God!
Moving is hard work. It’s one thing to move to another city or even another state, but to move clear across the planet takes something out of you. It just does. It’s totally awesome and exciting—don’t get me wrong, but it’s also exhausting.
Well, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll talk to you about moving out of temporary lodging and into a house “on the economy”. Nobody really uses that phrase anymore…it’s kind of a holdover from the 80s from when my dad was in the Army and we lived in Germany for a while (I’m dating myself, I know).
Anywhoo, I found a house that suited me–relatively quickly. It’s a smallish house with a basement that could double as meat locker. I’ve learned that in Italy, the basement usually has a separate space that is called a taverna and is often used as a den area. Mine also has a fireplace in it, which is common too.
So when you find a house, you have to immediately go to the Housing Office and speak with a housing counselor to get the process started. (Did you really think this wouldn’t be a process??) The counselor will look the house up in the database and ask you a few questions. Mostly they want to know if the house was previously rented by an American and how long it’s been vacant—stuff like that. If your house is not in the system, then someone from housing will have to conduct a survey to make sure the house meets Air Force standards (don’t smirk)
At some point, you’ll meet with the landlord and a property management agent (if the landlord is going through an agency) and they will fill out the housing contract and the landlord will sign it. This is when you negotiate things like how much the paint job will cost, and they’ll fill in things like the rent, and taxes (of which you are responsible for a percentage). They will also check the boxes of the utilities that you will be responsible for. Gas, water, electric, etc.
*Please Do Not sign it at this point. You have to take it back to the housing and have them look over it. This is really a good idea anyway because it gives you more time to read over it carefully. In the agent’s office, things are moving fast and they are speaking in Italian and it’s easy to get carried away.
After you get the “all clear” from housing, you’ll sign the contract, get a copy back to the landlord, and your next stop will be Home Fuels where you will bring a copy of the lease. They will set up appointments for technicians to come and turn on the gas, water, and electricity. This can take up to seven days (this entire process can take up to a month) so be patient.
**One note: don’t let the housing agent talk you into a move-in date that doesn’t work for you. I kind of felt pressured to say Friday when I really should have given it a few more days. I ended up being in the house before my unaccompanied baggage arrived—which came that Monday. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I’d have been more comfortable moving in the day my stuff was being delivered, or even the day after that.
So negotiate first with the landlord or the property agent about your move-in date. And make sure you already have a delivery time and date for your unaccompanied baggage or household goods.
Next, you get to stop by FMO (furniture management office—or something like that) and put in your request for long and short term stuff to be delivered. Long term appliances are refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, two transformers (not the toys), and a wardrobe. The washer and dryer are built to Italian specs which means they are very much smaller than what you or I might be used to. Basically you can only ever wash small-size loads in it (with not a lot of detergent) or it will leak. Short-term are two chairs, a dining table and chairs, and a bed, mattress, and bed spread. Of course it will depend on the size of your family as to what is provided.
Italian homes tend to be smaller than American ones, so it can be a bit of a challenge to fit things into your house. Hence, my fridge is wedged into the only corner left. Yes, it is very ironic that I am provided with a giant refrigerator and a tiny washer and dryer set.
Here’s to home sweet home!!