House Hunting

You can’t live with your in-laws forever, or can you?

Nikola and I have started the long and painful process of house hunting. Of course, in my history it has never been long, just painful. I seem to have terrible luck with landlords and roommates. I get talked into places I don’t actually want to live and I end up stuck with contracts I can’t get out of. After our experience in Turkey I am skittish about going to see a realtor and frightened at the idea of saying, “yes,” at all. Luckily, for the first time in my life, we are in a place where we are not rushed or pushed by necessity.

Every agent likes to say, “If you don’t take it today it will be gone tomorrow. There aren’t a lot of this type of apartment in Varna.”

For once I can say, “Okay, then let it be gone.”

We are not squished with time. If we don’t find anything we are welcome to stay with the in-laws for another week or month or… whatever. But what about that whatever?

I have this huge urge to move out into our own space even though it makes no logical sense. Perhaps it is a cultural thing. In the States kids move out. I was out by the end of my 17th year and I barely looked back. To me that seems normal. Of course young people move out and bury themselves in rentals they can barely afford. That is part of life. It is part of growing up. In Europe, specifically Bulgaria, it is not necessarily like that. Adult children continue living with their parents sometimes. Occasionally they move out and then move back in. Sometimes they get married and move out. Sometimes their significant other moves in with them. They stay with their parents because it is cheaper. Because there is space. Because they need to help in the garden. Sometimes they move in with an uncle or grandmother to help them. It is all very communal and it seems brilliant to me, but it just feels emotionally confusing.

Continuing to live with my in-laws right now makes perfect sense. Peatuk is not even two months old. Here I get to split the duties that go into childcare with my mother-in-law. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing the many diapers he goes through… how many times have I wondered how American women do this on their own? Now, just because we are getting comfortable and Peatuk is starting to be able to hold up his own head does that mean it is time to immediately move out? No. Except because of the way I was raised I can’t help but believe that deep down Nikola’s parents are irritated with us. We stay in their bedroom, taking over their living room, regulating them to what was once known as the, “children’s room.” We eat their food and lately we offer little in return except the occasional cake and a smile from their grandson. No time to help in the garden… Peatuk needs feeding… no time to cook a full meal… Peatuk needs holding… I feel… well, guilty.

So we are looking for a house.

The thing is that the realtors are right- there are not a lot of houses in the Varna area in our price range. Everyone here lives in apartments. They are nice apartments, generally. Some are even spectacular. But I want a garden. I want a fireplace. I want a rustic little village life. At least I have time to find it. 

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