Thursday, October 9, 2014

Home Sweet Italian Home

As I mentioned on Monday, Ryan and I are now settled into a new apartment. When we arrived at the end of August, our "real" apartment wasn't ready for us yet and we lived in a smaller, temporary one until NOW!

This is our fourth Italian apartment, and our favorite. I'd love to share some pictures if you'd like to see and talk a little bit about Italian apartments in general...

Here's a picture of the outside of our building:

We live in one apartment on the 2nd floor (which of course is really the first floor, but not in Italy). There are two apartments on our floor - the one we lived in for the month of September and the one we're in now. Our landlady, whose family owns the building, lives upstairs with her mother. Then there is another apartment on the lower level below us, which is empty right now, but I believe is occupied in the winter by people from Rome.

In Cortina it's very common for one family to live on one floor of a house and another family to live on another floor. Most "houses" are actually made up of three, four or even five separate apartments. People don't live in single-family homes here, the way they do in the US. It's also very common for children to live with their parents well into their twenties, or until they get married. Many of our Italian friends still live with their families and our landlady, like I said, lives upstairs with her mother.

This is our little front balcony and our door is at the end, to the left. Here's our view from the front:

In Cortina, almost every building has big, winding balconies for things like drying laundry, sitting in the sun and for window boxes! Since it's October, most of the window boxes should be down by now, but people are leaving them up longer because they had such a rainy summer here.

When you open the front door to our apartment, you walk into the hallway:

That's my closet at the end of the hall - this is the first time that Ryan and I have been able to each have our own closet and it's thrilling and spacious!

The first door to the left is the kitchen:

This is our biggest kitchen yet (the first two years we were here we didn't even have a separate kitchen - the living room and kitchen were one big room with a small table where we ate). This year we have an oven, four burners AND a dishwasher! This is the first year that we've had the kitchen trifecta - last year we had no dishwasher and the first two years, we managed to survive with no oven and only two burners! We're moving up in the world.

We have a very sunny table that's perfect for eating breakfast and drinking tea...

...and I love the pattern on our teacups. One thing that's hard about living in houses that aren't your own is that you obviously don't get to choose your own things, like dishes, pots and pans, and even things like towels and it's nice to like what you're given!

All Italian kitchens have about 8 millions things to make coffee or tea with. Here's our cabinet of them:

Only one of the coffee makers actually belongs to us - the rest were all there! We've also been known to find multiple corkscrews and many sets of tiny drinking glasses, ranging in size from small to teeny.

This year though, the thing that's really teeny is the kitchen sink:

As you can see, it's less than half of a normal-sized sink. It's also wedged into a corner of the kitchen behind the door and next to the heater, so there is very little room for washing dishes. Thank goodness for the dishwasher.

To the right of our front door is our bedroom - conveniently located right across from the kitchen which is perfect for midnight water trips.

 Not pictured in this photo are the tiny duvets that we sleep under. In Italy it's very common to sleep with two twin beds pushed together (although this is our first year with that type of bed situation) and each person gets their own duvet. It sounds like the perfect solution to the never ending stolen covers problems that many couples face, but in fact, the duvets are so tiny that they don't end up covering much of anything at all and are NOT very cozy. I would say within the next few weeks it's likely that our tiny duvets will be under the bed rather than on top, and Ryan and I will go back to fighting over the covers snuggled up under a larger, shared duvet.

The great thing, though, is that our bedroom is big enough for a dresser AND a desk - neither of which we've ever had before.

Our living room is down at the other end of the hall.

Italian couches are notoriously uncomfortable, and this one is no exception. But as you can see, it gets a lot of afternoon sun which is perfect for curling up with a TV here!

I've had the green plant in the top picture for three years now! That's actually only half of it, we had to plant the other half because it was getting out of control as vine-y plants tend to do.

Our bathroom has the other trifecta this year: a bathtub (we also have a separate shower), tons of counter space AND a washing machine. Last year our washing machine took 1.5 hours to complete the most basic cycle, but this machine is more modern with a "rapido" cycle that only takes 15 minutes!

Our back balcony is perfect for hanging the laundry out in the afternoon sun - there are almost no driers in all of Cortina, and they are very rare in Italy in general. (Last year I did a post on how to do laundry).

We're ready for this year's round of visitors!