I have a very long story to tell you. It’s not my story, but I was a close personal friend of the story all along the way so I have
received permission made an executive decision to tell it to you. This is the story of how Jenny and Steve Bates* hunted for an apartment in Medellin.
*Names have been changed to protect the exhausted, embarrassed and those who just don’t want to put themselves out there to be judged by Judgy McBusybodies.
Allow me to introduce you to Jenny. She’s been a Top Five Friend for the past 18 months. A few months ago I convinced Jenny to come to Colombia. So fantastic is my power of persuasion that I convinced her to come even before we had met in real life. Someone who listens to me and takes my advice from Facebook is automatically a friend.
A few weeks ago, Jenny and fam showed up in Medellin. Since they were not sure how long they would stay, I knew it was up to me to start making them fall in love with the city. Zoe and I put together a LadMo Bag for them, which was waiting for them at their hotel when they checked in. The wooing has begun.
When we met up for our first outing together in Medellin, we showed Jenny and Steve our apartment. Seeing what we were able to get for the rent, the great location of the building, the adorable door guards who are on a life mission to wish you a good day… well, naturally the Bates Family said, “We’ll have what the Shermans are having”. #sleeplessinmedellin
Upon leaving the building that first night to go to dinner, we chatted with the guards and introduced them to the Bates. We said, somewhat jokingly, “They want to live across the hall, in apartment 1435”. The guard said “No one lives there. Do you want to see it? I have keys”. Now we’re talking. Have I mentioned how much I love our guards? So the guard took us up and we wandered through. It’s a nice apartment, bigger than ours, with some great open spaces and even a little office for Steve, just like Dan’s. But Steve would get a bathroom in his office. Dan’s bladder and love for not moving too far from his chair are a little jealous.
The next day I mentioned to a different guard: We want our friends to live in 1435. He says, “I have the number for the realtor guy, but he’s kind of useless. You want it?” Sure, I say. This is clue number 1 of 54,033 that the realtor guy was going to be a bump on a log. But he was the only bump we had so we persevered. I called him and spoke on the phone in Spanish (that’s how much I love the Bates Family, I was willing to speak on the phone in Spanish for them, multiple times). We arranged for Potentially-Useless-Realtor to meet us at the apartment the next day. The excitement is building! We are really proceeding with 1435! The kids started making “come in, we can hang out” and “not right now, please” signs for our respective doors. The moms began making a list of which apartment would house which unnecessary-but-sometimes-used kitchen appliance. Dan already called dibs on the community deep fryer. Jenny called dibs on the creme brulee dishes. No competition there, I’m a brownie girl myself.
The next morning Jenny and Steve met up with the realtor. Let’s call him Elmer Fudd (because he was as useless as a near-sighted hunter). We met him in the lobby of our building. When he led Jenny and Steve to tower 2, where 1435 was NOT located, this was clue number 2 of 56,084 that Elmer Fudd was not going to be hunting any wabbits for us.
But they gently corrected his directional mistake and together we toured the place then came over to my house for a meeting to discuss terms. The only drawback to this apartment across the hall was that it was totally empty. It did have a fridge, which was a bonus, but Mr. Fudd said it would be going away if they were to rent it. What? Why? “Because it will go away”. But why, Elmer? “Because it will go away”. At this point we are onto clue #3 and starting to see a trend. Dan and Steve are ready to register the domain name www.unhelpfulElmer.com.
We continued our chat with Unhelpful-But-He’s-All-We’ve-Got-Elmer.
Bates: “We’d like it furnished and we need the owner to install internet.”
Elmer: “It’s not furnished and has no internet.”
Bates: “Perhaps you didn’t hear us, we want it furnished and with internet.”
Elmer: “I’ll ask.”
Steve also threw out a few (higher) numbers of rent options and a payment in advance option. We thought that, given that the apartment had been empty since we arrived 3 months ago (and have since discovered it’s never been rented), we had some negotiating power. Right? Spoiler alert… No, no we didn’t.
So Elmer leaves with the promise of updating us later that day, after lunch. We all wait with bated breath, sure that something exciting was going to happen that day. Jenny wonders if we have lunch at 11:30 am, would that speed up the process? Spoiler alert… No, no it didn’t.
So we wait all afternoon.
And the next day, and the next and the next.
At one point during that waiting period, we were all sitting around our dining room table. Steve gets an alert on his phone that his hotel room portable security camera has detected movement. No problem, probably just the maid. So he views the live video. Steve sees the maid nicely drawing the shades and leaving chocolates on the pillow. This is a major hotel chain whose name shall not be mentioned. After the maid checks her hair in the TV, there comes a plot twist: she starts unzipping purses and bags looking for cash. What? Can this really be happening as we sit here at the table 3 blocks away? Yes, yes it can. So Steve comes over the audio and says, “Thank you for cleaning our room.”, which startles the maid and she subsequently leaves the room, cash-less. This is not leaving a good feeling among the Bates, but we all agree that the security camera earned it’s keep right then and there.
By Friday of that week, after 4 days had passed, we were beginning to get discouraged. At this point the Bates started looking around at other apartments. Due to some serious networking with guards and a realtor or two, 3 other apartments in our complex were in play, although none of them were quite right, like 1435 was. You mean we’d have to go to another TOWER in this development to see our friends? That’s just too far away. I mean, really. We have standards. We tried to console ourselves by saying that an apartment in the other tower was still “within barefoot, pajama’d and InstaPot-sharing range” but it still didn’t compare to the 8-foot commute that is 1435. The other slam-dunk reason why 1435 is our favorite is that there are only 2 apartments on this floor. That means we not only have our apartment and the Bates’ apartment, but the open space in between is also pretty much ours too. We wanted nothing but the best for our friends.
But we kept looking and touring and discussing and at one point we had 5 different WhatsApp group chats happening about all the different options. My heart would lurch every time I would hear the familiar beep-beep of a WhatsApp notification. Usually it was Jenny saying, “Why haven’t we heard anything yet???” followed by, “We are eating lunch at Crepes and Waffles”.
Here’s where you read this with your best breathless House Hunters voice: “Will Jenny get the apartment she longs for? Will Steve’s bladder finally have its own space? Tune in tomorrow to find out.” Yep, you heard that right. You’ll have to wait til tomorrow to read part 2.