Trying to answer some questions we're getting...
So, the good news is that there seems to be a good selection of houses available to rent that are more than decent sized for our bigger family! Here are a few descriptions...not sure if any of these are still available (the list from the housing office was current as of...19 days ago, sigh):
7 bedroom, 4 bath, garden, pool, 5382 sq. ft.
5 bedroom, 3 bath, pool, 2476 sq. ft.
7 bedroom, 4 bath, garage, 3767 sq. ft.
5 bedroom, 3 bath, duplex, garage, 4844 sq. ft.
6 bedroom, 3 bath, garage, 2900 sq. ft.
So...the dilemma of "will we find a house big enough" seems to be not such a dilemma after all! All of the above listings are right around the housing allowance. We will also get a utilities allowance, which is good, because apparently everyone around here knows what kind of money you get FOR housing, and they'll make sure your monthly rent is JUST that amount! That's fine with me. I just want a house! I have no idea yet what our monthly budget will be...we're trying to be conservative until we know for sure what our numbers are. That's always the tricky thing about moving, because so many little parts of the compensations depend on what area one lives in. Throw in the "euro factor," and I'm sure it will take me months to figure out what's going on with our finances, LOL.
The housing office wasn't able to set us up with any realtors for house viewing until NEXT Friday, the 31st. However, Ted did get the business card of a local realtor who has been highly recommended, and he is trying to get a hold of her to see if she is available today or tomorrow. (Well, by the time I'm writing this, Wednesday is nearly shot.) He left a message for her yesterday...it's quite possible she's on vacation, since people here apparently take most of August as a holiday. (Not a bad idea--the heat is overwhelming! All I want to do is sleep! And maybe eat more pastries.)
We're anxious to see some houses as soon as possible...but trying to be patient. We knew coming into this that it would likely be awhile before we would get into our "own" place!
***Update! Ted just got off the phone with the recommended agent. Unfortunately, she doesn't have a vehicle that will fit all of us (no surprise, ha), so this time he alone will be going to view some houses. But the good news is, he'll meet her in 47 hours!! Woohoo! He'll take the camera and jot down notes! Wish I could go, but such is life in a new place!
Next week during Area Orientation Ted and I will be taking our international driver's tests. Woohoo! After we have licenses, we'll be able to drive...once we get vehicles, LOL. Our Suburban is en route and will likely not be here for another month and a half at least. We can get reimbursed for a rental...BUT...we're not sure what the limit is on that before we'd have to pay the "over and above" amount. And the amount for a vehicle large enough for all of us is a hefty $80 per day!
We're also checking out some "beater cars" for Ted to use for commuting to work. There's a "lemon lot" where there are a number of little cars for just that purpose that people must sell ASAP. Ted has left a couple of messages, but so far we haven't really connected with anyone. But thankfully, we have enough in our "new car" fund to be able to pay cash for something--a quick scan of the lot shows that most of them are in our price range. Hooray!
In the meantime, we're hoofing it all around base! Thankfully it's not all THAT far to the community center, library, chapel, or even the retail center, where they have a food court, the all-important ice cream/gilato shoppe, the NEX (Navy Exchange--I'm sure we'll be calling it the BX because that's what we're used to!), the commissary, and various little vendor shops. I've been impressed with how well Lucan especially has taken to walking everywhere. I'm quite sure some of the other kids would not have done this well at age 3 with all of this walking!