I’m writing this from the cozy little living room/”American kitchen” of my new flat-lette. There has been a clamor for photos from certain sectors, which I promise to shoot and post as soon as I can. At the moment, I can’t quite tear myself away from the (renewed) novelty of having a place that’s entirely my own, all 40 square meters of it. I’m slightly blissed out by the mere fact of being unpacked!

So what can I tell you about my new nest without showing it to you quite yet? It’s on the first floor (that’s the second floor in N. America) in an older building. It’s an “interior,” which means that it’s darkish and away from most of the street noise. It has a brand-new kitchen and bath, and — my heart sings — more storage than I could ever hope to fill up. Though not quite enough room for my shoes… perhaps I’ll keep some of them in my multitude of kitchen cabinets.

More non-perfection? The walls are colors that, while not ugly, I would never have chosen myself (yellow-orange in the LR and “poison” green in the BR), but I think that I will get used to them. I have tile-masquerading-as-wood floors that are going to need rugs soon to fight off the cold. The requisite ugly sofa at least now has a raw-beige throw over it, and there’s some sort of cloth covering in the future for the desk in the bedroom that I’m going to press into service as a vanity.

And yet, it’s in “my” neighborhood. It’s walkable to nearly every place I want to be, and close to many of my friends. The price isn’t stratospheric, the owners are benign (willing to give me a six-month lease even), and the building is reasonably quiet for Madrid.

The whole process of house-hunting helped remind me of how important it is to know what’s negotiable (wall colors) and what’s not (bad plumbing smells) — not just in an apartment, but in life. A friend reminded me to see not what was there, but what was possible, and she was spot-on in her advice. After all, nothing’s perfect. But there’s plenty that’s just right, if we’ll just look for it.