Smug | The Gap Life Diaries
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Well, the whole process of emigrating has so far been considerably less stressful than anticipated, even though I upped my chances of having some kind of costly nightmare by booking a flight with Ryanair.

One thing has made this transition infinitely more pleasant than any previous ones, and is the reason for the lack of disaster stories to regale you with so far – I found somewhere to live a week in advance and in the company of my mum, thus disguising the unpleasant process of finding a house while lost in an unknown place as a holiday.

This is not to say that I didn’t still have to see myriads of horrendous, cave-like dwellings, because I certainly did.

To give you the highlights, one place I looked around had about the same total floor space as my downstairs loo, and another came with an inordinate number of wardrobes and a 50-something landlady who was not only extremely proud of the amount of storage space she was able to provide, but who lived down the hallway yet came to the flat every day to share the kitchen…

However, it would appear that house hunting is something which improves with practice, as after 48 hours of (admittedly fairly intensive) searching, I found a flat that I liked, met one of the housemates who seemed super, trusted that the other two would be equally so, said I’d be back in a week, and trotted off to do some sightseeing with my Mamma.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that spending my first week making friends rather than scouring has been a great improvement.

Since I’ve been here, my three new housemates have all been great and they’ve made me feel so settled already. They’re all quite a bit older than me at around 30-ish, but thankfully don’t act it. At all.

The Greek guy, Christos, whose English is infinitely better than my Italian – and who regularly tells me he’s jealous of my hair – plays the same kind of music as my younger brother, at full volume, whenever he’s home (the others call his room “la Christo-teca”), and happily watches such mature films as ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ with me.

The Italian girl, Diana, is a total sweetie who seems to like earrings and crafts almost as much as I do. She is leaving the flat in a couple of weeks to move back to her hometown for a while, but has told me I can come and visit her, which I fully intend on doing, so I do hope she’s not just being polite.

The Italian guy, Livio, is probably the most grown-up of them all, but seems to be a nice guy. He’s been looking after me, chatting, plying me with food, taking me out in the evenings with his friends and to the theatre (on Wednesday night we ended up out at a quite heavy-going play about the World Wars which took place in the giraffe enclosure of the old, abandoned zoo…why wouldn’t it…?) and only very occasionally forcing me to drink shots in the kitchen with a group of total strangers.

Essentially, aside from my chronic state of unemployment, it’s all going very well indeed.

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