Saturday, November 26, 2011

We found a permanent apartment!

For the past 6 weeks we've been living in a temporary apartment in the Champel area.  It hasn't been that bad, except for when the internet was down for multiple days two weekends in a row.  Also needing to go down to the basement to do laundry in the communal laundry area (very common in Switzerland) has been really inconvenient.  But we're very close to a nice playground, and there's a Coop grocery store just around the corner.

During our apartment search, I think we saw about 9 apartments with our agent.  Geneva is well known for being very difficult to find housing in, and there was so little available that she just showed us what there was, most of which was not suitable for a number of reasons.  The eighth apartment, in the Champel area like our temporary apartment, was the first one that was reasonably close to what we were looking for.  The apartment search here is kind of like a job hunt—you "apply" and either are successful...or not.  Well, when we applied for this one, the owner apparently didn't like our application for one reason or another, so our agent showed us another apartment that had just come up, this time in the Eaux Vives area.  This is where I work as well, and my commute would be a 5 minute walk—nice!  That, plus the fact that this apartment was less expensive and there was a third additional (very) small bedroom, made it worthwhile applying too.  The extra bedroom is an old maid's room, off the kitchen. It's tiny—you can stretch out your arms and easily touch both walls—but we could use it for an office or guest bedroom.

Anyway, after lots of back and forth, our application to the Eaux Vives apartment was accepted , and we'll be moving in next Thursday.  On the same day, the kids will be starting at a new school (their commute will be much shorter as well)  And—oh happy day!—they'll be in the same school all day, and we won't need to walk Kenny to another school for his French welcome lessons.  That was the HUGE hassle of our current situation.

We'll still be pretty close to a playground, but it's not quite as nice as the one in Park Bertrand, in Champel.  However we'll be quite close to the lake, where there's another playground.  And shopping (all the major grocer chains, such as Coop, Migros, and Denner) are very close.

The apartment does have some negatives.  We'll have to put the dining room table in the entry, because there's no other good place for it.  And—this is the big negative—there's no shower, just a tub.  Hopefully we can fix that by putting up a shower curtain, and putting up a fixture to hang the shower head up so we don't need to hold it.  But all in all I'm VERY much looking forward to being in permanent housing, having the kids in a permanent school, and being more settled in general.  We went to Ikea today because there's quite a few things that we'll need to buy, and we want to get a head start on them.  For example, lamps.  When you rent an apartment in Switzerland, the light fixtures are missing, and there's just bare bulbs on the wall.  Somehow I think it must be a big scam by the electrician's union (you need an electrician to install the lights, no DIY allowed) but what it means is that we'll be buying quite a few lamps.   Also something for coats and jackets in the entry, a small table for the kitchen, etc.

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