Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The apartment: then and now

Many people have been asking for pictures of our new apartment since we moved in, and I'm finally getting around to posting about that. Our move in day was back in February, about a week after I arrived in Milano. Since the buildings here are so old, many of the stairwells are too small to bring in couches and other furniture. With that in mind, the Europeans have developed an interesting way of moving people into houses. They hoist the furniture and boxes up into the apartment with a lift and bring it in through the windows. This was a crazy sight... furniture being lifted up to the third floor of the building, but it worked! They brought everything in through our master bedroom since we have a balcony and a floor to ceiling door. The poor guys that moved us in had a hard time with our bedroom furniture. I could hear them say "damn American furniture!" as they put it together. They were very nice, but unfortunately my Italian was so horrible at that time that I only knew about five words that I could actually use to communicate with them. But, everything went smoothly as they moved in the boxes. The hard part was unpacking and organizing!

Guest room before

Living room/dining room before
Master bedroom before

They started to help me unpack the kitchen and wow... you don't realize how much stuff you have until you get into a smaller house! We packed about three of everything and the boxes just kept on coming! The cupboards were full, as well as the drawers in our center island, and one of the guys brought in another monster kitchen box! Yikes... We ended up throwing away all of our cheap plastic cups (good riddance!), and a bunch of duplicate utensils that we never used. We also have a box of pint glasses still packed away that we don’t know what to do with. As it turns out, Josh had about 100 pint glasses! OK, that’s an exaggeration, but he had more than our cupboards could hold, and there were two of every style. We compromised and he kept a few favorites, and we recycled the rest. It was a good thing though, we were able to simplify to only the things we need. At home we seem to hoard things (even though Josh and I clean out the closets every year to donate old clothes and household items). We (Americans) seem to have this subconscious idea that we need all this stuff to make a happy home. It’s just not true. A big lesson I’ve learned since moving here is “less is more”.

No Parking zone! The truck with our sea shipment

a box being lifted into the apartment

master bedroom on move in day
After getting things put away and organized, we realized how much we missed closets!! Our apartment only has two closets- a linen closet and a pantry. We didn’t have a place to hang clothes in the bedroom, or coats in the entryway. So… to Ikea we went! We ended up getting two large armoires that we could use as closets. That was an interesting trip to Ikea!! I wish we had a camera to capture all of the stuff we had in our small rental car!! It was a small hatchback car (similar in style to VW Golf, but wagon style), and we had long pieces for the armoires. So, with a little creative maneuvering we were able to fit everything in. But first, we had to lay the front passenger seat flat, as well as the back seat. Then, we had to fit in the long pieces that started at the very end of the car all the way up to the front, resting on the dash board, and pile them on top of each other. There were so many that we were concerned they would break off the rear view mirror if they moved. After about 15 minutes of puzzle solving, we got everything in! We tied the hatch down so we didn’t lose everything on the highway, and realized that I didn’t have a seat! There was just enough room for me to sit behind Josh on the folded down back seat. There was not enough head room, so I was crunched over holding things to make sure they didn’t go flying out the back. I’m pretty sure that we would have received a ticket in the US if we were pulled over, but in Italy rules are made to be broken. They probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. We got everything home successfully, but the next task was trying to get everything unloaded and in the house! This was another funny story…

the master bedroom and hallway... we had a lot of work to do!!

As we pulled up in front of our building to unload, a gentleman tapped on our window and politely asked us to move because they were filming a woman right in front of our car. They were filming a TV show with an “undercover” camera and a woman on the road pretending to be a prostitute. It was some prank show and they were trying to catch a man pulling over to “make a deal” with this woman. Since prostitution is technically illegal in Italy, it was an interesting concept… Maybe they were undercover police? But I don’t think the police really care that much if prostitutes are working. They don’t look that hard for the prostitutes; otherwise they would be on our street all the time. But, the guys that were filming were really nice and helped us bring in all of our long pieces for the armoires which saved me! They were SUPER heavy!! The guys dropped them off inside of the front door for us and then we brought them upstairs. We definitely got in a good work out that night bringing them up the three flights of stairs (they didn’t fit in the elevator). Well, after a lot of work and time, we finally had an organized apartment! It feels like home since we have our furniture from back home (with a few new pieces). Now when we travel, we are excited to get home to Milan to our house. It’s a great feeling J

Kitchen after

Painting we bought in Venice with Craig, it is now
hanging in our living room

Guest room

Guest room


master bedroom- you can see the monster armoire

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