Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Looking for a place to live here has got me wondering whether the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” has its origins in Brazil.

Apartments and houses for rent in Brazil are generally unfurnished.  That would be fine, except that unfurnished here means that everything that can be removed has been removed: the stove, the refrigerator, the washing machine, the air conditioning.  As someone who would only be here ten months, I needed a furnished place, which made the search harder to start.

With the help of some Brazilian friends – Kilson, Anderson, Otavio, Jivargo – who made calls and walked or drove us around, Mike and I went to see several furnished apartments close to the university.

Mike and I found a good house after a week of searching.  A man named Marcos wanted to rent a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house for the reasonable price of 2000 reais, which is a little less than 1000 dollars.  Leading up to the showing, though, Marcos requested that Mike and I not speak because he thought that the realtors would drive up the price if they heard Americans speaking poor Portuguese.  So, Mike and I went through the entire house without asking the realtor questions or chatting with our potential housemate.

We decided that we would go for the house – it was a medium-length walk to work, just off a street full of bars and restaurants, and Marcos had some furniture and appliances for the public spaces.  Little did we know, however, that the process of proving financial means and signing the contract would take over two weeks.

Yesterday, after the contract came into effect, we went to start cleaning the house.  We were greeted, though, by all the furniture still in the house and an angry, neglected dog in the side yard.  We also learned that the neighbors were on the verge of calling animal protection against the relatives of the deceased owner of the house.

Marcos called and gave the relative in charge an ultimatum: the furniture and the dog needed to be out by today.  We’ll go this afternoon to see if he’s followed through.

Finding housing in any country, even your own, is always an ordeal.  I’m hoping that this ordeal here in Teresina comes to an end soon; it’s now been four weeks without a place to cook, hang laundry, or sleep without interruption.




Filed under: Deixa Te Falar Uma Coisa

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