One morning on the drive out to work…well David driving, I was a bored passenger scrolling through emails on my phone (4:30am and really I should have been sleeping). I opened one up from our realtors in the Dominican Republic, read the content, and screamed out in excitement! I then started to laugh a little bit giddy (ok….A LOT giddy). David looked at me like I was a maniac so I filled him in on the content of the email.
The part that stood out like a Bugs Bunny cartoon was:
HGTV would like to know if the both of you would like to film an episode of “House Hunters International”?
A little bit of back story here….. I am a self-confessed, let it out there, very vocal HGTV’s House Hunters International fan. I sit glued to the screen with each new episode and even the rerun’s. Some episodes I love enough to wonder: “ whatever happened to the couple that bought the ruin on the Amalfi Coast?” in the hopes that someday they do an update show because I know it’ll be fabulous! Yeah. That’s me. I live vicariously thru all the people who have the ability to pack up and go to follow their dream of living in an exotic locale. But no longer sitting and watching…..now owning a piece of paradise too!
We were still in celebration mode happy & excited with the new purchase, and suddenly this amazing opportunity was being given to us. OMG. Woot woot. Happy dance in the truck (awkward but possible haha)! It was a no brainer. We were going to do it.
But first HHI wanted a video of us at home to see how we were on camera. Thanks to my Nephew Josh we were able to give them one which we had fun doing & showed off our lame acting skills 😛
After being put in touch with HHI producers and numerous emails and phone calls later…..it was arranged that they would come to our home here in Fort McMurray to do a 1 day shoot for the Backstory portion.
We were so nervous when crew #1 (we worked with 2 separate crews-1 in Canada & 1 in the DR) showed up at our home in Fort McMurray. It was surreal and we didn’t know what to expect. One of the first things we had to do was a dual interview where we chatted about how we met, what we had been looking for (keep in mind the property had already been bought and the premise of the show is that we are still looking). This might all sound easy, but as soon as you become the focus of everyone in the room and a camera is pointed at you……….well, we froze. All thoughts went out of my head, I turned to David….only to see he was looking at me with the same dumbstruck expression. Yup. Our moment of fame had come and we were wordless. Anyone that knows us….knows we usually have something to say. Unless we’re about to become immortalized on film. I don’t even remember what I said. It’s hard not to be shell shocked when a camera is pointed at you and you’re expected to be natural and speak *gulp*, but we did ok.
The whole day sped by with interviews, friends coming over to take part, wardrobe changes (thank goodness for the wardrobe changes because I was sweating bullets from nerves!), driving scenes, footage of us playing with the dogs, more interviews. Whew! What a whirlwind day of excitement.
After the crew left we sat looking at each other excited for the next phase……to go to the DR for 3 days of shooting . We hadn’t been back since we went to view it with Alex & Anabela prior to purchasing . All we had to remember it by were photos I’d taken when we were walking through. Now to stay in it for the first time as the owner! Yayyy! It was going to be a busy time as I would have 2 days to purchase some new furniture prior to shooting with HHI for 3 full days. Lots to do in a short amount of time.
We arrived in the DR a few weeks after the shoot at home and I got down to business right away. I told David to go scuba diving so that I could immerse myself in what for me is my fun. Shopping! I enlisted the property manager Maria to help me in this endeavour as I didn’t know what was available or what stores were good for what I had in mind. She was up to the challenge as we are like minded in shopping and in taste. We headed out to Santiago and what a beautiful drive it is. Beautiful for the views. Not so beautiful if you’re sitting in misery because of suffering from motion sickness because of those awesome winding, twisting, torturous mountain roads. Note to self. Don’t EVER forget to keep Gravol in purse. Ugh. Anyway, once we arrived into the city and a quick trip to the washroom to freshen up I was good to go and got down to business. We shopped ‘til we almost dropped only making a quick stop for some oj & a croissant the entire day….so much for our stopping for a leisurely meal at a swanky restaurant….not when we had so much to look for! But we were successful and arrived back home burnt out but happy.
The morning of the first day of shooting in the DR, we were informed we had to wear the same outfits for the next 3 days as they wanted it to appear as if it had all taken place in one day. WHAT???!!
As a female that had my wardrobe changes planned for each day….well, let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. Not to mention it was August and hot. We couldn’t have any fans or air conditioning running during filming as it would interfere with the sound. So what did I do in a moment of panic with the big decision of forever being seen in that one outfit? I went for pure comfort! Only to regret it afterwards. So there I was at the end of each day scrubbing our clothes in the sink so they’d be ready to go again in the morning.
The day began at the realty office for the meet scene where we tell Anabela what we’re looking for in a property. For us, we were now old hands at this camera stuff (not really but knew what to expect at least) and Anabela was now in the position we were a few weeks before (shell shocked).
We then moved on to House #1 which took up ½ the day, and after a nice lunch at one of the many excellent restaurants in Sosua -the Bologna Ristorante Pizzeria, we moved on to do House #2.
The director asked us lead in questions such as “What was your impression when you first walked into the house”…..and we would say “My impression when I first walked into the house was: blah blah blah” …..the day had a lot of that as well as walking into a room 5 or more times so they could capture our expressions and what we we’re saying from different angles. There’s also the fact that you forget you have a sound mike on ……….until the sound guy starts laughing from his spot off in the corner 😛 Anabela, I will always think of you here…..and myself of course. Must remember not to drink carbonated beverages when a sound mike is attached to me. Oops-sorry John. Hehe.
The 2nd day shooting started out with us viewing House #3 for the first time, interviews giving our impressions, and then for the new furniture (some new/some old, some borrowed) to be moved in and me running around like a crazy person trying to get all the home décor I’d brought down in suitcases into the right spots. Then to shoot the After in all its glory. Whew! What a day.
Day 3 was hanging out fun day. It was what they call b-roll. Scenes of us walking the beach, walking in town, fun stuff like feeding the monkeys and ziplining at
Monkey Jungle , and also shooting the decision scene at the Morua Mai restaurant in Sosua. Fun fun fun!! We had an awesome time hanging out with the crew and then when the day was over and they left…..I was sad for it to end. Nothing makes a girl feel more special than having an entourage with cameras and sound equipment following you around so that people on the street stop and stare wondering who you are *sigh* Famous I’m not.
The amazing condo at Cabarete Beach Houses will be more memorable than we are….but that’s ok by us! 😉
Being invited to take part in an episode of House Hunters International was an experience I will never forget. It didn’t even make my Bucket List because it’s something that I never thought possible.
Thank you thank you thank you for picking us!
Watch it here.
(Interested in renting or seeing updated photos of Our Little Place In The Sun? click here)