So the worst part about moving abroad — well, really about moving anywhere — is finding an apartment. It's generally pretty difficult because most of the time the owner of the apartment doesn't speak English. Then there's the fact that you have to get used to different ways things are done.
Every apartment I ever had before moving to Taiwan was in Texas and followed the typical TSA leasing agreement which is a standard format and follows the state laws which, surprisingly, tend to advocate for the tenant's rights because those are often stomped all over.
What I've run into when finding a place abroad is that things are far less formal. Sure there's a contract. Sure it has lots of clauses about not breaking stuff and who pays for what and when you get to live there and when you have to move out. But there's no background check or credit check or rental history check.
All of this is coming up now because I finally found an apartment in Prague.
Coming home for two months was honestly a blessing on so many counts including on the apartment search front because I was definitely having trouble finding a place that would let me move in mid-October or early November that wasn't going to cost me a fortune or be in the middle of no where.
Having been in Prague for those six weeks I had a really great set of criteria and had already worked out a budget for my future apartment.
However, it still sucks searching for an apartment online. No matter how awesome the pictures look on Craigslist or ExPats, you can never help but have a nagging feeling that you're going to end up in the same apartment as some absolutely insane sociopath with four dogs he forgot to tell you about and a fetish for dolls.
You never know...
Alas, I've found an apartment and my worries are over. My friend Suzanne, who I met while I was in Prague, gave me a heads up that one of her roommates is moving out at the end of November. Well, that's sort of a problem, but we both figured maybe we could work something out.
After finding out the landlord — who speaks English, OMFG! — doesn't require a deposit, I offered to pay half of the month of December in order to secure the apartment. It's like a non-refundable deposit that gets me an amazing apartment. I can deal.
Two days later it was all set and I just had to figure out how the hell to get the money to him given that I'm here and he's there.
After a slightly annoying process of sending money to Prague (sending money to America is way easier than sending money from America), I have a lovely apartment right in the center of Prague. It's right in the area I was hoping for. It's in my budget (and includes utilities and Internet, bonus points!). It's surrounded by public transportation including night trams (super bonus points!) and I get to live with someone I already know (plus three other new friends, extra super bonus points!).
I'm pretty stoked. This also means that life is going to be so much easier than I thought it would be when I get back to Prague and that I won't be crashing on anyone's couch or sleeping in a hostel.