Finding an apartment in Geneva 6

This is something you mustn’t do. Lose your judgement and apply for things you shouldn’t. You go into a place, if you are lucky you might get to look at it for 15 minutes and that’s it. You make your decision. It has to be the right one.

This is so much easier said than done, for one feels an obligation to apply for everything that isn’t completely dreadful. You’ve been told you have to make compromises, ‘hey, this is Geneva, you aren’t going to get exactly what you want. Get real.’ Maybe you are only here for a year or two and it really doesn’t matter to you that much. But if you think you are here for the long haul, this is it, it’s your chance. You aren’t going to want to do it all again.

I lost my judgement twice over the last couple of months. The first time we went to see a place in Paquis, took our dossier, left it with the tenant and I hadn’t got down the block going home before I knew we’d done the wrong thing. I can tell you all the good things: it was large, maybe 110sqm, excellent equipped kitchen, great bathroom with loo and another good separate loo. Large main bedroom with walkin hanging space. Second bedroom, small and slightly odd shape. Open living area. Upstairs another living area and another bathroom which was either a shower or for a washing machine according to taste. It was on the fourth floor with lift and incredibly quiet. You would have no idea that you were living in Paquis. The price was good: about 2500CHF. And yet.

For me the things that were bad I was scared would make me miserable. It was loft style so the windows weren’t big enough. Upstairs the mezzanine level was lit only by a skylight and my experience of skylights is that they don’t do the job. I couldn’t tell if my judgement was skewed: this was in the cold snap, it was dark and miserable weather, maybe usually the place would be lighter? And it was in a part of Paquis I hate, where I would have to run a gauntlet of those guys who just hang around on the street all the time. I do not want to live somewhere I feel like involves mapping out safe ways to get home. And it had chalet type beams. I’d already bumped my head a bunch of times, just that first visit. Would I have to wear a hard hat in my own home if we got it?

I left so hoping we wouldn’t be offered it and the very next day the call came. We turned it down. So now, not only had we turned down a nice place we could afford, but we were already running the risk of getting a bad reputation as people who weren’t serious. You don’t want that. The Regies are going to remember you. So only apply for places you know you are going to want.

Good advice. Did I remember it a week or two later?



So we go to a place which is 3000CHF plus charges and it is 60sqm divided up into, apart from kitchen, 4 tiny rooms. The saving grace of the place was long balconies either side of the apartment and I was seduced. We applied. And then I started worrying again. We have almost no possessions and I was already worrying about how we were going to use the cave storage as a real room. We wanted to be able to invite people to stay, but once there was a sofa in one room, a small dining table in another, a desk in the second ‘bedroom’…that left guests in the bathroom, which to be fair, was relatively spacious with room for a washing machine.

So there I was again. It is very hard to understand what to do when it all feels so desperate. Make compromises and apply. Wish you hadn’t. Now for the second time I was literally having nightmares about being offered a place I really didn’t want.

Not only that, I couldn’t even tell any more if the problem was that I would never want anything I’d applied for: was that it? Just the responsibility of it all had got to me so that I was always going to panic?

Meanwhile, my poor partner is putting up with this like a man. Well, I mean. He is, but still. He only spat the dummy about once. He really really wanted to take the one we were offered, just so that the process was over and we would have a life again. But in the most gentlemanly of ways he gave in to me.

How is all this to end???

Believe it or not, with a happy fairytale finish.

Please come back for it!


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