Chronicles of a writer abroad

In search of a place to call home


This week’s mission: to find an apartment that we can live in long-term.

As most of you know, we are in a temporary apartment for our first month here. It’s a great space for now, but I am constantly reminded that it is not my home (would my home have a cowhide on the floor? gaudy pink lamps? a housekeeping lady who comes in and terrifies my cats with her exuberant clatter? Most likely not).

We are scheduled to go for a “housing tour” with our relocation agent this coming Thursday. She will take us around to a number of places for rent, and make inquiries on our behalf, and help us with application and lease details when the time comes for those things.

Until then, we prepare. We’ve been scouring the ads on a few local sites, so that we know what sort of thing to expect. Though we thought Vancouver was an expensive city in which to rent an apartment, we have to get used to the fact that an apartment like the one we had there could cost twice our old rent here. The price comes along with high demand: we have heard that it is not uncommon for dozens of people to go to apartment showings and submit applications on the spot. So when we tour rentals, we will be armed with copies of a reference from our former landlord, a recommendation from Stelian’s employer, and a bio for some “get-to-know-us” appeal.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to where our ideal apartment would be located. Proximity to Stelian’s work is an important factor, and so is the ability to get to grocery stores and other necessary places without a car. Then there is the question of church bells. I’m not sure how I feel about these yet. I assumed, initally, that they would simply chime/dong on the hour. And they do — they mark the hour and each quarter hour, which is fine. But then there are the weekday 7 am bells, which (especially when you’re hearing a few churches in stereo, as we are) are a clamourous din that lasts for about 10 minutes. There are other of these 10 minute bell-ringing sessions, at different times that I can’t quite figure out — for example, 11 am weekdays (some people say this is so that mothers know their children are coming home for lunch in an hour), and we noticed one from 4:17 to 4:29 pm on Saturday afternoon. I expect many of them are calls to service of some kind. I think (or need to believe) that we’ll learn to tune out the bells to some degree if we end up living near them.

Anyway, from everything we’ve heard, we can’t afford to be too picky in our search, especially given the limited timeframe. Hopefully we find something suitable for us — I’m looking forward to having a real “home” again.


3 thoughts on “In search of a place to call home

  1. I suppose, if you weren’t under a time constraint, apartment hunting in a strange city might be an adventure. It’s a good thing you have some professional help to steer you in the right direction. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that your prospective landlord will be fascinated by two young people with impeccable references, interesting bios and will fall all over himself to welcome you to your new home (sans clattering cleaning lady!)

  2. Good luck on your apartment hunt!

    I offer you the good luck i’ve had finding an apartment when I needed one on short notice.

    I liked your saying exuberant clatter!

    What I’ve seen and noticed from Europe, everything which is overly complicated at first and seemingly void of any purpose actually serves up some kind of cool usefulness, which is awesome. I feel like those bells have some kind of ultra efficient use stored inside their sinuating sound.

  3. I miss the Facebook “like” button here. I heartily “like” both of the above comments — thank you very much for your support, and for continuing to read my ramblings!

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