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House Hunters International

House Hunters International is a show on HGTV that follows home hunters and their real estate agents as they work through the idiosyncrasies and challenges of finding a home in a foreign culture. This has been one of Sandy’s favorite programs to watch whenever we’ve stayed at hotels or homes with cable on deputation.

Last week I flew to Italy in order to secure an apartment in Rome for my family. I felt like I was on HGTV as our co-laborer in Rome drove me around to the twenty-plus appointments he had set up. We are so thankful for the hard work this brother-in-Christ put in on our behalf in order to help us obtain an apartment.

Each night I would call Sandy to describe the properties we visited and send her pictures through e-mail of the ones I thought might be a possibility. In the spirit of House Hunters International I’ll share our “wish list” for an apartment as well as the three choices that we narrowed it down to.

Wish List:

  • Safe area

  • Walking distance to grocery and market

  • Close to metro that would take me to language school as well as easy access to city center

  • Close to church

  • 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom

  • Kitchen appliances (some apartments in Rome have nothing in the kitchen – even the plumbing, cabinets, and countertops need to be installed)

  • Large terrace

  • Walking distance to play ground or park

  • Within our budget

Apartment #1: Beautiful Terrace

On Monday we visited an apartment on the third floor of a three story apartment building on the outskirts of the EUR region of Rome. It was a quiet neighborhood with a police station about a block away. The grocery and market were about a mile walk but a bus would be needed to get to a metro stop. The living room was rather small at 11’x11’ but it had three nice sized bedrooms, with one located upstairs that Isaiah would have loved. There were three bathrooms and the kitchen had updated cabinets and appliances with space for a table. The living room, kitchen, and master bedroom all had access to a very nice terrace that would have the usability of another room. There was a playground for the kids about 100 yards away from the apartment. It was within our budget.

Apartment #2: Ideal Location

On Tuesday we visited an apartment within a gated-complex that was ideally located in the EUR. It was less than a mile to two metro stops and half a mile to a grocery and market. Within the complex was a basketball court, volleyball court, soccer court, as well as a small playground. Several parks were within walking distance as well as a lake. Also there is a large mall that is only a mile away. The apartment was smaller than we had hoped but was very nicely done. Both bathrooms were updated as well as the kitchen with new appliances and cabinetry. The balcony was fenced-in which provides safety for Pearl since she is such a climber. The living room and dining area would be shared in a larger room that measured 24’x11’. There are three bedrooms with the kids’ bedrooms measuring 8’x11’. It was within our budget. There was a bus stop in the front of the complex that would be great access to church in about 10 minutes.

Apartment #3: Dream Home

Sandy located this apartment on-line a few weeks ago. It seemed perfect although it was at the upper end of our budget. We visited this apartment in Terrino on Thursday. It was by far the largest apartment with five bedrooms and three bathrooms. It included a fireplace in the living room and had great natural lighting throughout. The kitchen and bathrooms were a little dated but still nice. There were two terraces with multiple accesses but the wall was less than 3’ high and wasn’t very thick which would be a concern with Pearl’s climbing ability. There were no parks within walking distance and a bus would be needed to get to the metro quite a distance away. We would need to take the bus to the metro to another bus in order to get to church, which would likely take an hour all-told.

So which apartment did we choose?

We chose Apartment #2.

Even though the rooms were smaller than what we hoped it met all of our needs and even some of our wants. With Sandy’s organizational skills and IKEA furniture we’ll make the most of the space we have. The apartment is beautiful and the convenience of its location, for the price, cannot be beat. Sandy and the kids will feel very safe and there are a lot of things in the area to do as well as easy access throughout Rome with the metro system. Isaiah and I will be able to play ball within the complex and Pearl will have a playground as well if we do not want to walk to the park. Two blocks away is a great pizza place as well as a gelateria. It will be great to minister in our neighborhood which is so close to our church. God provided wonderfully.

I was able to return to the States with a registered contract on this apartment. The Lord answered our prayers for a prosperous week. We are so excited to live in Rome, serve and fellowship with our colaborers, and finally be in the land where God has called us to minister.

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