Apartment Hunting = Not fun

So... as I briefly mentioned in my first post from Italy... I started my home search Thursday when I arrived.

We saw many house over the two days of continuous walking from one end of Bologna to the other, and although I learned my way around the city and learned some lessons of life, I wouldn't say I really enjoyed the experience of house hunting at all.

To put the situation into perspective, the University of Bologna is the oldest University in Europe and it's home to nearly 100,000 students. Classes start October 1st and there are hundreds of Erasmus students and Italian students roaming the city all at the same time in hopes of finding an apartment that matches their desired criteria.

I having my own particular criteria ended up having very limited options. I wanted an apartment that was modern, but in a palazzo, within the old city walls of Bologna centro and within 15 minutes walking to the political science faculty on Strada Maggiore.

Weeks and weeks of searching on the Internet at home paid off a little. I had made my google maps of all the available apartments I thought were adequate for me and I started calling through the list. Immediately I crossed off probably half of them because they were already rented or because I realized they were too far away.

Two days of searching left me liking two places that ended up falling through, and left me with two place that I would resort to if I absolutely had to. These two were 15 minutes walking to my faculty and would have 6 or 7 individuals living in both.

So my quick sojourn to Via Muto was enough to relax me and get after the apartment hunt again.  I re looked at the two places with 6/7 beds, and looked at a number of more individual rooms, and a 2 bedroom apartment.  Again came the internal conflict, among three options, two of which I preferred, but was having a hard time deciding which to pick.  Luckily, Around 10pm I received an SMS from the landlord of one of the two choices, who said that they had picked another girl who the roommates already knew, so that left me one choice. Via Solferino, which I had found through a man named Federico, who was known for finding apartments for the Johns Hopkins SAIS students in Bologna.

With some hesitation I called him to seal the deal.  I went to his office that evening where I met with the landlord and thought that everything would go swimmingly.  Boy was I wrong.  The landlord needed confirmation that I had enough money in the bank to pay for the entire years rent, he also asked for a ridiculous amount of money for deposit, something like 4 months in advance plus a month deposit, and he had to have proof that I was attending the University of Bologna, and he just couldn't understand how I hadn't physically enrolled in a program yet. WOOF.  Two hours and a 15 minute Skype phone to America, I left Federico's office, where the hilarious bunch of smoking Italians tried to finalize this transaction for me.  Back to Hotel Pedrini I went, with intent to figure out how to to an online bank transfer, to send the proof of my attendance to school, and to read through the contract with my parents.  LONG DAY OF WORK.

My New Home!
Friday at 4:00, we met to finalize the agreement.  After taking money out from the bank in amounts that it would allow me, I finally showed up to the office with a ridiculous amount of Euro on my person.  My parents told me to get receipts of all the money transactions, and as soon as I requested them after signing the contract, I was told I would need to pay a 20% fee if I wanted to have a receipt of the transaction.  Apparently everything that was going down was "off the books" so if I wanted proof of it, it would have to go to the government, meaning I would have to pay nearly 200 euro more for just a receipt.  So we said screw it, I got the keys to the place, Federico met me there and we continued to do an invoice of everything in the apartment with the landlord.  Lucky for me, this wasn't the end of the long haul I had been enduring.  We enter the apartment to find it has no hot water and the oven does not work.... oo dio mio...

In the end, the technician came, I went to Florence for the weekend and the water was back when I returned.  The next step in my tiring, stressful and tearful Bologna endeavor would be to find a roommate to occupy the second bedroom... dun dun dun

Please excuse my delay in Blog posts! It's been a hectic 20 days!!