I could tell you about the eight other apartments that we viewed after that first housing tour (nearly three weeks ago, but only blogged this week), bringing our total count to 14.
I could tell you about the place we viewed that ticked all my boxes on paper, but freaked me out when I stepped into the long, narrow, neck-like hallway leading to the bedrooms and realized that I could not be alone in it. Ever. Especially not at night.
I could tell you about the third-floor apartment in the Museum Quarter that I fled from before I even stepped in. I opened the front door, saw a vertical wall of stairs, said “No f*cking way” and walked off. (Good thing our broker wasn’t with us for that one.)
I could tell you about the places that came close. Or I could just tell you that we found The One.
A little over 80 square meters, big windows, lots of light? Check, check, check. Bonus points for oak floors.
Open kitchen? Check. Even more bonus points for the SMEG cooktop and stainless steel backsplash.
“Something special,” you said? How about made-to-measure shutters in the bedrooms…
a bathroom with bathtub, separate shower, his-and-hers sinks, all-around great finishing, and a separate toilet…
Let’s throw in something we had taken off the list because we thought it would be expensive and unrealistic…
like a canal view. The Herengracht it ain’t, but it’s a wide, tree-lined canal nonetheless.
It’s in Westerpark (BIG CHECK!!!), well within budget, with wide, manageable stairs. Its owners are a (breaking up) gay couple who furnished it in a great modern minimalist style and had clearly kept it in pristine condition. God bless the gays, they’re every house-hunter’s dream.
One of the current (very cute, very stylish) owners showed us the apartment, and this fag hag couldn’t wipe the dopey grin off her face. “I know what you’re thinking,” murmured Marlon, “gusto mo siyang kaibiganin ano?” My husband, he knows me well.
“It’s perfect!” I hissed. “We love it, let’s buy it, he’ll like me, we’ll be best friends!” What can I do? A woman needs her gays, and I’m more than 6,000 miles away from the ones I love most.
“Hoy. All I’m saying is, don’t be blinded by the bading. This is going to be like that walk-in closet,” he reminded me.
Well… I do have a tendency to get blinded by irrationally appealing things. Like that walk-in closet in our Singapore condo. Or a total gaycrush. But the Singapore condo turned out great… and so will this one. I know it.
Because, more than just ticking boxes, it felt like it could be home. That’s something you can’t see in any real estate listing; it’s why you view houses in person—so you can step in and wait for this feeling to strike. That’s what happens when you step into a place and can picture your life there.
I imagined a bassinet in one corner of the bedroom, between those white shutters and an unmade bed. I imagined pushing Little Mango on a swing on the balcony, or taking her out in her stroller to Westerpark (without dying after carrying her up and down the stairs). I could see myself working on the dining table next to Marlon as he cooks dinner, or on my desk facing one of the large windows overlooking the canal.
It felt easy and good. It felt just right—not too big that we’d be living beyond our means, but not too small that we’d just be making do.
Marlon and I gave it a good think for one weekend. We compared it point by point to two other apartments on our shortlist, and even measured our furniture to see how they would fit into each apartment. But it was an easy choice. So, after seeing it on Friday, we put in our bid on Monday.
After all, when you find The One, you just can’t let it go.