My Life is on Fire

This morning we woke to an enormous rumble of thunder. It was the most spectacular thing ever. If there was a way that I most enjoyed waking up to, this would be it. It rained most of the morning until about noon or so. Which was nice because it cooled the city off pretty well.

We went to school this morning to have a housing orientation and were given lists from agencies of apartments all over the city. Amy and I poured over the lists and picked the ones we wanted to see, while sipping a cappuccino of course. Throughout the day we visited apartment after apartment after apartment. Some were much better than others. And some we loved and then thought about things like how the landlord basically doesn’t speak a word of English and how that might impact our living there. We moved down the list and finally made it to some that we wanted to see that needed the agency to take us to the apartment. While waiting for the person to get here (which turned out to be a really cute Italian named Demetri), we recognized two other girls that were in the CSU program and were making small talk with them. We asked if they had any apartments that they liked and they said they liked one on some street called Pucci. We then told them that we liked one that was on a street called Via de Pepi and then they said, “Oh yeah! That’s the name of the street.” Nonetheless, it turned out to be really awkward because we both liked the same apartment. What were we supposed to do? We each had just as much right to that apartment as the other, but if we treated it like a race to sign the lease it would have made things awkward for us if we ever saw each other again in class. So we ended up letting them have it; which I think in the long run was the right thing to do. It turns out there is a bus route that goes right down that street. So it’s safe to say that it was probably a blessing very well disguised.

We then thought that maybe we would try some of the other resources listed in the handouts they had given us at school since we weren’t completely sold on any one that we had seen. Our first try was this Signora Sacchettini. We found her “address” and her name was not listed on the list of names next to the buzzers by the door. All of the people in this building had the same last name, so we decided to try the most ambiguous one, “Studio Sacchettini” thinking that maybe this was her business. We buzzed once and a man answered, “Che?” And we replied, “Signora Sacchettini?” and the man replied something like “What?! No Sacchettini is not here.” We said ok and then were confounded as to what we should do because this was the address and apparently Signora Sacchettini was not at this address like the handout said. We buzzed all the other Sacchettinis on the list and no one answered. We then thought we should give a call to the phone numbers that they provided. Only, we had no cell phone. So, we did what any other person would do in the times before cell phones, look for a pay phone. The only problem is that like the US, pay phones are almost nonexistent. So, in the current time of cellular leashes, when you find yourself without a cell phone, and without a pay phone in sight, how do you make a call? You ask the man in the copy shop where all the pay phones might be and then he will feel sorry enough for you when you come back saying that all the places he said were closed and will let you use his phone. The day is saved right? Wrong. We call both of the numbers listed and the robot lady on the other end of the line says that these numbers do not exist. Perfect. We thank the man and continue on our way.

Our next stop was another real estate agency that was near our hotel. Feeling rather defeated, frustrated, and tired we make our way in that direction. We go down the street looking for the building number to which we can’t find. We walk into this courtyard with more building numbers on it and find the correct number, but can’t get inside. We ask another man inside a room with an open door where this agency is and it turns out that it isn’t there anymore. Well so much for that. At this point we are really frustrated and angry and feel like we are pretty much screwed when it comes to finding a house that we’ll be happy in. So we make our way back to the hotel.

Our hope was restored when we got home and were able to look on Craigslist for apartments. We found a lot that were nicer than anything we looked at today and that were in our price range. We called the housing director, Refugio, and asked what we should look for so that we don’t get scammed by fishers. With his advice, emailed about ten different people asking for their information and when we could potentially view the apartment. We’ve already received 2 replies and we’re going to arrange to maybe see them tomorrow or on Sunday. So hopefully this works out; the whole process has been a bit disheartening and stressful. We’re hoping for the best though.

Next on the list today was to see if I could unlock my phone so that I could put an international SIM card in it and use it abroad. Turns that that the SIM-like card in my phone isn’t actually a SIM card at all and only a look-alike. So that isn’t going to work. Therefore I’m just going to go to the Wind store tomorrow and buy a cheap smart phone to use. I think this will work out better because then anyone in my family can use it when they go to Europe or China or anywhere that uses a GSM network. It will cost a little bit more but oh well. What can you do? I really just wanted to be able to access my email in case of an emergency when traveling.

Today was filled with a lot of emotions, both good and bad. It ended with a lot of excitement and was sprinkled with moments of despair. We (meaning mostly myself) deal with this by what we have termed “word vomit.” Gross, but basically it means you’re talking out loud. And in one of these moments I somehow coined the day’s events after reacting to the heat of my computer charger and it basically describes those chaotic moments we all have sometimes: “My life is on fire.”

Words I learned today:
pesce (“pe-shey”) = fish
pesce (“pe-scay”) = peach
copetta = cup
saldi = sale
cono = cone
il soggiorno = living room
piccolo = small
zanzara = mosquito