Yesterday was our turn to go out with Enrico, Tina’s son, the other half of the mother-son duo. He is quiet and really tall. He speaks pretty good English and it turns out he was actually born in Rhode Island but has spent most of his life in Italy.
Enrico was charged with helping us see some places closer to the base. Like we were told, it would be a challenge to find a place close to base that was big enough AND had land. Nevertheless we want to see what is out in town, so he takes us into the city of Aversa.
We immediately feel the difference from the places we’d seen the day before as we travel city streets packed with cars whirring all around us.
Brian is driving the minivan, only his second time driving on Italian streets, and today the whole family is along for the ride because we have our car. I am sitting in the back with the kids so Enrico could navigate in the front with Brian. Not a block off the freeway when we have our first slam-on-the-breaks moment. A driver on the opposite side of the street pulled out in front of both lanes to make a quick turn in front of us. Brian asks Enrico, “Did he have the right of way?” To which he replies, “The more aggressive driver has the right of way.” Ha! Doesn’t sound too good for when I’ll be behind the wheel.
We finally turn off the main road and about half a block down we park.
7. Downtown Townhome #1
The Good: The house is nice and everything you would expect from a townhome in a downtown area.
The Bad: That trek from the freeway to the house through the downtown to our place is very congested. There is small area of grass in the back that a play structure could technically go on, but the back of the house faced the center of a bunch of other town homes and boy did my kids voices echo back there as they briefly ran around. They made at least three dogs on balconies bark like crazy with the ruckus, which I am sure would eventually settle down but something to consider. I can just see the angry Italian neighbors chucking tomatoes at us because we let the noisy kids out again. No just kidding. Enrico said not to worry about the noise, “This is Italy!”
8. Downtown Townhome #2
This is just a no go for us so I won’t even do a write up. This home is right on a main busy street. Brian could barely squeeze into the driveway and Enrico had to physically stand in the street because traffic wouldn’t stop to allow Brian to get in. Unfortunately that isn’t going to work. I mean if we wanted to fall asleep to the white noise of honking Italian cars then this would be our dream house. It’s too bad too because this is the house with the unbelievable toilet seat cover Eliann loved.
Feeling like the night (and living close to the base) is a bust, we start to head back. Enrico asks if we’d like to see one more house he thinks we might like. He says the only thing is it only has three bedrooms, but they are big and the house has a private garden area and pool for the kids in a parko right near base.
Sure, why not? We haven’t seen anything great today so we might as well see a three bedroom. We had honestly talked about trying for a three bedroom on base if it meant keeping us close to the school, so there was no harm.
9. The ‘Three’ Bedroom Near Base
The Good: This home is only an exit away from the support site, which is about 2 miles. It is in a small parko with four other homes. The parko means added security with a gated entry and each individual home in the parko has its own large gated entry as well. Right away we see a grassy area out front with trees. A huge cobblestone driveway condenses down to a pathway that wraps all the way around the house which we immediately picture being great for bikes. In the back of the house is a large pool that is gated off. The kids jump up and down because they can see the pool has a slide and we’re told there is also a diving board. We walk inside from a covered porch area that has beautiful wooden beams (I love anything with exposed beams) and enter a grand living room with vaulted ceilings. Brian jokes that this is where we will host our balls. The rest is standard an entryway, dining room, kitchen (with a second fireplace) and the three bedrooms. This is the first house we see with a dual vanity in the master. The laundry room is the biggest we’ve seen.
While we were outside we noticed a second stairway with separate entrance upstairs. Enrico asks the owner and he says there is a second unit upstairs. It has a kitchen, living room, laundry room and two more bedrooms. We ask if it is connected to this main part of the house, and he shows us the door to a stairway that could connect the two from the inside.
Unfortunately the owner didn’t have the key to the second unit so we’d have to come back if we wanted to see it, but Brian’s wheels start turning thinking we’d ask to rent both spaces if our housing allotment would allow it.
The Bad: The locations is not great. Not that it isn’t safe, it’s just blah by Italian standards. Nothing attractive about where it is located and no shops, no nothing by it just more housing and farms. The space is almost too much, especially if we add the extra living space upstairs. I just know it’ll take more than what we’ve shipped to fill these spaces and we’ll need to do our best to fill them or else there is a serious echo. Ain’t nobody need to hear an amplified version of my kids voices all day. If we only had the downstairs three bedrooms, all kids would have to share. Even if we got the upstairs unit I don’t see how I’d split up the family, so at best that is great for guests who can have their own apartment if they stay with us. Ha! Probably the biggest bummer of all is that this house is only fitted for electric washers and dryers.
So we’ll have to come back and see the upstairs. But what do you think about this last place? Seems to have the things we’d like for the kids with the convenience of being close to the support site… but then we’d give up the dream of living in #2.