Yesterday we set out, Zach, Donovan, Jenny, and I, with appointments to look at 4 apartments/houses. I was afraid of what we would see. So many of the pictures we'd see on craigslist showed places that were so ugly, generic, etc, and I feared that we'd be unable to find a place we liked without going over our target rent range.
I was quite pleasantly surprised. The first place we looked at was a duplex, larger than I expected-- 2 bedrooms and an office, only one bathroom but the house is a good 1,100-1,200sq ft, with a front yard (which the owner pays for landscaping so no mowing!) and a small courtyard, bright living room, decent kitchen, and within a 10 minute walk of good friends, and a couple miles away from a nearby cute downtown area and farmers market. It's an area we've been around before, but haven't spent that much time in or explored much, and is close to the Montessori school we'd like D to go to in a few years. I had not expected to find a place this nice for the price. We saw 2 other places after that (the 4th we didn't see, as the lady never showed up) that each were also definitely acceptable, but we liked the first place best. So we're submitting an application, and are hopeful as the landlord told us that while she had several other applicants already she liked us the best. We'll see if that stays true. But it feels good to have found a place we liked, and even if it falls through to know that we do have a decent chance of finding something else that will probably work well for us.
Later on in the afternoon we went grocery shopping. Oh.My.Lord. On the flight over I started getting so excited about silly little things like being able to buy tortillas. At the grocery store, I was like a kid in a candy store. It was ridiculous. I don't even like Safeway in general (imagine if this had been an HEB that we went to) but I was giddy looking at the aisles and aisles of products, at all the variety, all the STUFF, all the foods and brands I was used to and familiar with, being able to read labels! and understand them! And look, magazines! For decent prices!! I laughed at myself, how silly I was being, even as I continued to just feel the joy of American grocery shopping.
Of course the best came this morning. This morning, we hit up the farmer's market. We met up with the Fostinos, and my friend Debbie (moved back from Geneva a few months before us), and her darling girl Maddie, came down also, and as I tasted samples of peaches and smelled the fabulous strawberries, well, it made me happy. We even passed a stand selling pates where I heard the vendor speaking French, it turns out he's from Paris and we had fun talking to him in French for a few minutes. We loaded up our backpack and the underbasket of D's stroller with fruits, veggies, and Acme bread, and then all headed over to a nearby coffee shop to sit and chat. Our old ritual, which I have missed dearly over the past year and a half. Yes, there were markets in Switzerland, too, but none that we liked as much and we just never got into the same habit. It felt good to be back, and to go with our friends, ones that I had not seen in a year. When we briefly shopped for food at Target on Friday, I'd looked through all the American junk/snacky food that I missed (like s'mores pop tarts) and worried that life here might mean being tempted by and eating more crap food. After today, I realize that while we'll have to be vigilant of that, it will also be ridiculously easy to eat lots of great, fresh produce. We may have Pringles stashed away in the cupboard, but we've also got a plout, 2 types of peaches, 2 types of grapes, 3 types of apples, cherry and zebra tomatoes, raspberries, and strawberries ready for snacking on at any time. Love it.
Zach is currently watching the Cowboys on tv, something that's making him very happy. He had me take a picture of him and D watching the game earlier (Baby's First Cowboys Game). Next weekend we may have to break out some of D's Texas gear to watch a bit of that game. ; )
There are definitely things we're already missing about life in Switzerland. However, today was a great day, one that made us very happy to be back.