We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More on my NEW life in Venice

There is lots going on in Venice lately- we've wrapped up the film festival, the Biennale is at it's mid-point, there's a lot of protesting going on about No Grandi Navi (no more big ships), but I have not been able to attend any of those. We're knee deep in figuring out how to accomplish this apartment move, and it's taking just about every waking moment to get it done. Aside from packing up our belongings, there is an unending list of stuff to be done.

We are literally embarking on an all new adventure. I could put a period at the end of my previous 5 years (yes, come January it will have been 5 glorious years here in Santa Croce), and begin page 1 of a brand new adventure.  I say that because the new apartment and the move is a world apart from what we have come to know as life here in Venice. If I thought I was getting an education moving over here, I ain't seen nothing yet!

The signing of the lease on the new apartment was entirely different from what we went through with our current apartment. The first time around, all of that  was done via the internet, taking only a few emails back and forth to negotiate a few points, then sign and send money. For the new apartment, we experienced something more like signing of mortgage documents, something I've never enjoyed.

For the contract signing, we all convened in GianLuigi's office (our real estate agent). We had already met one of the owners, Signora Doria, when we looked at the place. Now we also met her brother Fabio for the first time. To be honest, I was a bit intimidated by Signore Doria, and for good reason. GianLuigi had forewarned us that the brother was the one who was a bit sticky to deal with, quite proper, but, fair.  Fabio lived up to his description. He shook hands when he met us, but kept a very stern look on his face. He said almost nothing for a good long time,and when he did, it was with a serious face. All business. Doing this kind of transaction over the internet the first time saved me from this kind of interaction.

After 2 1/2 hours of reading through the document line by line and numerous changes to everyone's satisfaction, the lease was signed.  Fortunately for us, we had our Venetian friend Caterina in attendance - just in case anything got too complex for our understanding of Italian.

When the paragraph in the lease about making changes to the apartment came up, Sig. Doria made the comment that if anyone touched the ceiling in the living room, he would kill.  I responded that I too  would kill for that.  Then he smiled, and warmed up. By the end of the evening, he had agreed to give us keys early, and also agreed to the first month rent free. We exchanged phone and email contact info. Fabio is now on my speed dial, and I'm on his. Fabio invited us all next door for an aperativo.  We've broken the ice, we're all on a first name basis. So far, so good.

One week later, we all met again at the apartment for the formal reading of the utility meter ceremony.  This is an event I had missed out on  5 years ago, since I had not yet arrived in Italy when Mike had to do the meter reading ceremony.  I remember feeling like I had missed something special when he described it to me that night. Now, I would  experience it first hand.

Up in the apartment, the dining room table was set up as if were were going have another mortgage document signing. Five chairs were set up around the table, copies of documents in front of GianLuigi's chair, and pens ready all around.  First, we all had to sign a set of documents. Then we went downstairs to read each of the meters for gas, water and electricity. The numbers were read aloud, then written down,  confirmed by each party. Then we went upstairs and signed another set of documents. Keys were passed down the table from owner to new tenant. With keys in hand, we were led through the apartment to test each of the keys in each lock- there are many! Finally, after congratulations and goodbyes, Mike and I practically ran back to the terrace, cracked open the bottle of prosecco we'd brought along with us, and toasted the next chapter in our lives.

The fun had only just begun!


Elizabeth said...

Fun! From what area, to what area did you move?

Elizabeth said...

Fun! From what area, to what area did you move?

Rob C said...

Congratulations to you both, We hope you enjoy your new home!

Rob & Nat

karen said...

Ciao, Elizabeth. We're moving from Santa Croce, close to Piazzale Roma and the train station, to the other side of Venice, in Sant'Elena- way below the public gardens Giardini. Physically this is about as far away from where we currently are as we could possibly go. The new apartment is literally in the very last house in Venice on that side of the city. After our house is a canal, then the soccer field and Naval Academy, then alot of water, then the Lido. I could easily swim to Lido!

karen said...

Rob- Grazie! Another big undertaking, but a great learning experience. Also we're looking forward to meeting new neighbors and getting very familiar with another area of Venice. While I know we will miss Campo Santa Margherita, I also am positive we will get back there often. Time for a change :)

Jon, Bilbao said...

Bureaucracy, stiffer or looser, but It's allways there.

Well! now It's time to enjoy that beautifull terrace and some proseco before winter arrives. I'm sure October will grant you with a few reasonable warm evenings and nights.

Emjoy It!

The Dublin Diarist said...

Best of luck Karen and Mike, another big advanturem I look forward to reading about it!

Jace said...

I stumbled on your blog and am really enjoying it. You are helping to build my dream. Thanks for sharing your dream! Enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

You are my inspiration to travel and to move to my dream city. And i really enjoy reading your blog. You write as if you're talking and it's really fun to read. All the best for your new apartment!