1. From Small to Smaller

A bright summer day in Siena. Ours is the the door on the left.

When we got the news that Marianna’s grant had been accepted we were in the middle of searching for new apartments in Siena. Our little apartment’s functionality for multiple people is already questionable. It’s functionality for human inhabitation is questionable.  Way back in the 1600’s when it was built as part of a monastery, the intended use for the space that is our apartment was the storage of tools, carriages, and possibly animals. From the outside, it’s like something out of a guidebook to Tuscany, the first-level corner in a bright yellow villa, surrounded by lush, green forest. On the inside the two-room apartment is full of little quirks like little-to-no natural light, heating for only 60% of the house, hot water available only two hours after turning on the (extremely expensive) water heater, no available high-speed internet connection, and a bathroom that would place well in a world’s smallest bathroom competition.  With Sean on the way, it looked like the time had come to find something bigger and a bit more convenient, but the news of Amsterdam changed our minds.  In the end, rent is cheap and despite the quirks, the easiest thing is to keep the little apartment.  So now it houses mostly just myself and sometimes Marianna and Sean.

Here it is! That’s me on the mattress after our first night. We’ve since purchased a larger mattress.

With little to almost no time to really look for apartments and really no clue about anything in Amsterdam, we agreed to take the apartment in a new student housing building that was built in 2014 (stark contrast to our apartment in Siena).  Wait…. yes, I said student housing. Maybe you’re thinking ‘Does he mean dorms’? Yes, we’re in a dorm. We’ve gone backwards in some regards, however when compared to our apartment in Siena, we find it surprisingly liveable. Yes, there’s only one room, and our bed is currently a mattress on the floor, but ¼ of the walls are windows, it’s warm, there’s hot water whenever you want it, and there’s all the internet one could want. What really makes our dorm room liveable is that we’re not in it all of the time.  Amsterdam offers so much for families. There are probably 10 parks full of toys, swings, and sandboxes within a 5-minute bike-ride away from our house and two within walking distance. aa11There are even indoor playgrounds for rainy days. For the moment, our little hole-in-the-wall is sufficient enough, and as you can see, we have quite the view from the 9th floor.

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