Don't miss Melinda's post below, including the link to the first batch of pictures.
We've been here for four days now, and we are very ready to move into our new apartment tomorrow and start building a regular routine. It's been great fun so far, but we've been on the road in some fashion for two weeks now, and we're ready to start cooking for ourselves again and just having a regular life.
The first four days have been dominated by our apartment search. I intentionally put off finding a place until we got here so that we could see the apartments and their surroundings before committing. That's a great idea in practice, but getting on a plane with only a hotel reservation was stressful. The first thing we did after getting into our room was head out to the rental agent I'd contacted. He's kind of a shifty, nervous guy , but he had two pretty good options and told us he'd call the next day so we could go see them. We thought things were going great. When we went by to see him, the best option was no longer available and the second best option couldn't even be looked at until Monday. We went to visit the third best option. There was a problem with the key, so we could only see the stairwell and the outside of the locked door, but what we saw didn't look so great... and it was more than we wanted to pay anyway. So, since shifty rental guy doesn't work weekends (!!!), we were stuck until Monday. That made us none too happy.
So, we went off to the news stand and bought the classifieds, spent Friday night poring over them, and then made a few calls on Saturday morning. The fruit of our labor was a place in a residential/shopping district in the newer part of town. Since we won't have a car, we didn't want to be too far out, but we also want to save our money for traveling. It took almost an hour for us to walk there from our hotel in the center. It is a nice walk along the banks of the river. The river area near our apartment is full of parks and nice promenades.
I thought we were in trouble as we approached the new place, as there were a ton of run-down- looking high rises, but nestled among the high rises is a little 6 story, well-maintained building. The new rental agent was much more professional and the apartment fulfilled all of Melinda's desires: top floor, shower with curtain, washing machine and all of mine as well: a balcony (we'll have two) and a TV.
We'd planned on a seeing a few places, but after our experiences the previous day, we decided to take it. The location is very convenient, despite being some distance from the center. It is right on the tram line and has everything we'll need on a regular basis right in the area. It also seems like a very family friendly, safe area.
We had a celebratory dinner at the Brewery. My gorgonzola steak was tremendous. Melinda wimped out and had her usual chicken alfredo. I don't blame her... she'd had to deal with a lot of strange food already.
So, while basking in the joy of good food, a new apartment, and the discovery that local cable carries German soccer games and even some NFL, Melinda discovered that I had either forgotten or never been told her correct middle name. I had it in my head that it was Dawn... not so much. The love of my life quits her job, sells her car and comes with me to Bosnia of all places... and the first thing I do is forget her middle name. Not good.
Melinda has been remarkably calm through the entire process. She's a planner and the nature of this process makes planning very difficult. I didn't sleep for a month before I came to Europe for the first time, but she seems to have taken it all in stride. It is going to be an exciting 9 months.