Adjusting the sails

Remember the Italian student we were going to meet for conversation lessons? Yeah, me neither. He fled the country before we got a chance to meet. But… we had a backup plan: more expensive, but also more ‘teacher’. A private native Italian teacher to answer all of our questions – and push our buttons…

The appointment was made and before we knew it we were in the cutest little house in Delfshaven (a lovely historic part of Rotterdam with beautiful old buildings, you should definitely go there some day…). After explaining what we expected and what she could do for us we decided to give it a go. Only a few days later we were welcomed in la casa della tortura, as she joked. But it turned out she wasn’t joking…

Only a few days later we were welcomed in la casa della tortura, as she joked. But it turned out she wasn’t joking…

Spingere // Illustration by Annemarie Gorissen

I had a big old flashback to my French oral exam back in the day: stuttering, searching for words, black out and on the verge of breaking out in a sweat. Needless to say I horribly failed that French exam. Spingere is what she called it. To push. Pushing our buttons to find out how much Italian knowledge we really have. I am not sure that came across very well.

Asking questions that are difficult to answer in Dutch – like ‘what type of illustrations do you make?’ – wasn’t very helpful. I think my vocabulary – for a beginner – is not too bad, really. I just have trouble turning my complicated Dutch sentences into simple Italian ones. So I guess I’ve got something to prove next time…

The green house // photo by Cindy Tang

On a very different note. I had a phone conversation the other day with an expert on buying property abroad, mortgages and such and he just crushed my dream of that little green house in the tiny village with the enormous garden. A mortgage for an Italian property? In The Netherlands: no. As a foreigner in Italy: no. As an independent freelancer: hell no no no.

A mortgage for an Italian property? In The Netherlands: no. As a foreigner in Italy: no. As an independent freelancer: hell no no no.

So, I thanked him kindly for this information I did not want to hear and double checked the info the next day. Our second opinion told us it wouldn’t be thát bad, but also said we shouldn’t expect to get more than 60% or even only 50% financed. On top of that it turns out Italian banks will not have a proper look at your request until you have made a bid on a property. But, wait… we need to make a bid befóre we even know if we can afford it?

Il sogno // illustration by Annemarie Gorissen

We needed to get back to the drawing board. M and I quickly agreed that would be a risk we are not willing to take, considering the possible loss of money, time and not to mention the amount of stress it would cause. I guess that means we’re back to our original plan and honestly – after the first disappointment – I feel quite good about it. We’ll rent something for a couple of years and then, when we’re all settled in as Italian residents with a bank account and stuff, we can look into buying something. That should be a lot easier being actually in Italy already…

I’m gonna have to put that vegetable garden with the orange trees on hold for a bit, but an apartment in walking distance from the beach – keeping our cash in our pockets for a while – doesn’t sound that bad. At all.

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