I love House Hunters International TV show. It’s my most recent obsession. It’s on HGTV almost every day, and I swear they’ve shot a million episodes so there’s always one I haven’t seen yet. A thirty minute episode takes you to a foreign country and follows a buyer on their search for a home. Three homes are featured in depth, along with a taste of the culture and community. People say the show results are predetermined and scripted, but I don’t care. I soak in those small tastes of foreign cultures and cities I’ll probably never visit. The rent or buying price is always translated into American dollars, so you get a feel for the type of home you could afford if you lived in that country.
I’ve learned not to be surprised if the toilet is outdoors when you’re shopping in developing counties. I’ve learned that “key money” is an expected cash “gift” of two month’s rent to the landlord in Tokyo. And when your rent is $3000 a month, that’s a hefty gift. I’ve learned some people have HUGE amounts of money to spend on their home. Or second home. But HGTV puts the same level of focus on the college student searching for an inexpensive flat in Edinburgh near his school.
It’s also a study in human behavior to watch couples work through their priorities. Will he give up his room for a home gym, so she doesn’t have to commute for an hour? Will she sacrifice that ocean view, so he can have a garage for his beloved Jeep? Pets add another element. It’s amazing how many people view a home with their pet’s comfort in mind. “This yard isn’t big enough for my dog.”
I place myself in each buyer’s place. Can I live in that tiny box without a closet or oven? Could I live where I don’t speak the language? Could I uproot my children and plop them down in a new culture because I needed a change in my life? All of my answers are no.
My favorite episodes involve the ocean. People seeking a life near the beach. My husband and I hungrily watch those, debating each home’s amenities, because that is our long term goal once the kids are out of the house. A home in a warm climate and near water.
What TV shows capture your imagination and make you dream?