House Hunters International

You guys, I’m so behind on this whole television thing…don’t get me started, really, BUT I just started watching House Hunters International last month and am a total addict junkie. Every night, I can’t wait until the kids are sleeping so D and I can hop in bed and watch several episodes back-to-back. Addict junkie, I say!

First off, I mean, it’s AMAZING AND LIFE-CHANGING. How I lived without it for 37 years, I’ll never know. Some cities are so much less expensive than I thought! Some cities are insanely more expensive than I thought! Some cities are amazingly beautiful, and some make me want to stab my eyes out with a fork! Most importantly, I could listen to Brits say the word “property” all the live long day. “This is such a lovely prah-pah-tea.” “We’re looking for a 3-bedroom prah-pah-tea.” Say it with me, PRAH-PAH-TEA.

Secondly, I have a life list. (I’ve never shared it here. Yes, I know one of the best things about a life list is to SHARE it with others here on the interwebs, but I am a wuss and I don’t want to, ya hear?) One of my life list goals is to move abroad for at least a year. I am really wanting this to happen within the next 5 years.

(This very moment, my mom is yelling upstairs to my dad, “Ron! She’s really lost it this time! She wants to move to EUROPE. Hell’s bells!”)

(She’s never used the term “hell’s bells” before, but let’s just go with it.)

So! Europe. Want to get there soon, while the children are young. Of course, there are some technicalities to work out, like JOBS and SCHOOLS and NOT KNOWING ANYONE and NOT SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE, but hell’s bells! We appreciate a nice challenge.

Tops on my list right now – Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands. (All ridiculously expensive, right? I mean, good god, Geneva! $10,000/month for a decent apartment?) Spain, France, and Italy are up there, of course, but as you can see by my DVR, I have lots more research to do.

Are any of you all HHI junkies as well? Let’s embrace.

(My other favorite show, which I can’t believe I’m admitting to you, is STORAGE WARS. Yuup! Orange County in the house!)

  1. jen

    January 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Home exchange is always an option. It wouldn’t necessarily be a year-long commitment, but it could give you a feel for a place. Basically, you swap homes (internationally) with another family for a set amount of time. A friend of mine from Miami swapped for a month in Spain and had a great experience. Here is just one website for such exchanges: http://www.homeexchange.com/ Good luck as you sort through your options!

    • whoorl

      January 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks, Jen!

  2. Ninotchka

    January 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    OMG I just posted on Twitter about this the other day. I’ve watched on and off for years but this past holiday break it was like CRACK to me and now HGTV is pretty much always on (if the TV is on at all). This from a self-proclaimed non-TV watcher. Um, yeah.

  3. Ninotchka

    January 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Oh, and yeah, if I had a “life list”, living abroad would be on top. In fact, I called that my new “American Dream” in the aforementioned tweet. ;)

  4. Amti'b

    January 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    One of my many fantastic shows!! Look for designmoms show, not into france, but their house makes me think……

  5. Lucy

    January 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I know someone who was on HHI and unfortunately the whole thing is faked. Kind of blew my mind when I found out.

    • whoorl

      January 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      That’s what Sizzle was saying above. Regardless, I LOVE the show, fake or not!

  6. Sabrina

    January 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Do it!! We lived in Amsterdam for two years before our oldest kiddo arrived (she was born here in the US). The Netherlands rocks – the Dutch speak perfect English, but you still get the experience of living in a non-English speaking country (the downside is that neither of us learned to actually speak Dutch, but could both read and understand someone speaking Dutch). Great, great experience and would move there (or anywhere in Europe) again in a heartbeat, especially now that we have kids (we were able to travel to pretty much every country in Western Europe). My husband’s work has the equivalent to a foreign exchange program (never would have expected that from an accounting firm!), so hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage again in the next few years. Much easier to do if your employer is paying to relocate you, but would definitely be worth doing on your own. Now I’m off to set my DVR. Good luck!

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 8:24 am

      We had friends who lived in Amsterdam and loved it. I think D and I definitely need to visit soon!

  7. Courtney

    January 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Storage Wars is a guilty pleasure of mine as well!

    “Hey Brando! There’s a 20 dollar bill right there!”

  8. sophie

    January 6, 2012 at 1:21 am

    If you have any questions about Denmark, I’d be happy to help! Also, I’m curious why Denmark is at the top of your list?

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Architecture, landscape, lots of things intrigue me about Denmark! I sometimes wonder if it’s just a tad bit too northern, light and climate-wise. Would a Southern Californian be able to hack it? ;)

      • sophie

        January 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

        Granted, the winters are dark! But we cozy up indoors with candles – the amount of candles the Danes go through always seems to surprise foreigners:-) Climate-wise, the winters vary wildly. For the past two years we’ve had snow and sub-zero temperatures (Celsius) from November to March. This year, not a snowflake in sight so far, and temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius. The summers aren’t exactly tropic, but lovely light-wise, with only a few dark hours from around midnight to 4 a.m. The language isn’t the easiest to learn, but it can be done! In the mean time you’ll do just fine with English. The are only about 5 million of us, so it’s not financially feasible to dub films and TV, so everything is just subtitled, which means that everyone and their granny understand English perfectly well.

  9. Stefanie

    January 6, 2012 at 3:38 am

    I’m from Switzerland (Berne) and I’m very sure that you could find a family that will swap apartements with you in no time!
    In my neighborhood lives a family from the USA who just extended their stay from one year to two years. They have older children that attend school, but the parents have no problems to get around speaking English. You can totally do this!
    My husband and I lived for almost three years in Northern California, and it was such a great experience to get out of our comfort zone, to learn a new language and have a every-da-life in another country. Go for it!

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 8:24 am

      I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….thanks, Stefanie. I might have some questions from you down the road…

  10. Courtney

    January 6, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I’m a fan of Super Why! myself… :)

  11. Amy Lewis Wright

    January 6, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I have been telling Chris for years that I am a misplaced European. I’m practically begging him to consent to a move to Europe. I’ve got my eye on Switzerland or France, but I’m not picky. Beggars can’t be choosers! I adore HH International and have watched it for years. It fuels my fire. Good luck with your quest…Maybe some day we will be sipping a latte in a little european cafe together :)

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 8:17 am

      Switzerland! Let’s do it! Maybe we could share a 10,000/month rent… ;)

      • mick

        January 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

        i lived in Geneva (on and off) for 15 years. It is a great place to live because you are so centrally located and it is relatively cheap to travel. But man, it’s not an easy task. It’s a tough country to crack…

  12. Jen

    January 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Traveling in Spain for a month right now: absolutely beautiful, have found the people friendlier and more helpful than in France, but start your Spanish lessons now! Seriously struggling! Super family friendly too!

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

      I’m scared about Spanish. Don’t know a lick!

  13. Jen

    January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I spent a summer living in Spain, and it is incredible. I always say I left a piece of my heart there. I was just west of Madrid, but traveled all over the coutry. My husband and I went to Barcelona last year, and he fell in love, too!

    Everything in Europe is more expensive than here, and in Spain, particularly the utilities. However, my husband and I just got back from and extended trip to Scandinavia, and we were just blown away at the costs. Norway was by far the worst, but Sweden was fantastic to see, so easy to get around, was a great quality of life. As a couple without kids, we also loved Copenhagen, like LOVED.

    I share your distaste for France. Even Paris. I think its maily the communication barrier. As a spanish speaker, I feel most comfortable in any contry that speaks spanish, and even though I can semi-read French, I can never relax. We had no lanuage problems in Scandianvia, and even came home with a few new vocabulary words! Everyone speaks english, so you will have no problems there.

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

      This is super helpful! Thanks, Jen!

  14. Jessica

    January 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I just wanted to say that I love the site redesign.

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Thank you, Jessica! Me too. :)

  15. jora

    January 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Hi! Yes, this is huge on our list as well. In fact, (sorta) currently working on it!! B and the kids got portuguese/e.u. citizenship in fact to make thinks (hopefully) a bit easier?? It will almost for sure be Italy though for us. It’s kinda scary but exciting too! And we want to do it when the kids are little as well….easier to take them at that point than when they are unwilling teenagers, right? ;-)

    • whoorl

      January 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Oh, you of all people shouldn’t be scared! You’ve already put down some roots with your summer travels. I wish we had those experiences under our belt, as we pretty much know NOTHING. Sometimes it’s just good to close your eyes and jump in, right? Right? ;) Where in Italy are you considering?