So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a seasoned hunter

it's almost that time of year again for those among us who are chronic movers: time to start apartment hunting. i've lived in four apartments during my five years in Philadelphia, and soon i'll be living in my fifth. it's a lot of hassle, but i love moving. i love the newness and change more than i love the ease of staying put. i know, i owe some of you a huge apology for all the CHANGE OF ADDRESS mass e-mails you've received over the years.

this time around, though, the apartment hunt is less fun and more stressful than usual. life is full of uncertainties right now -- not only for me, but also for my roommate Shaunice. i'm job-hunting, and she's hoping to transfer to a different school. where will we want to live in three months? how much money will we be able to spend on an apartment? add to this our list of requisite luxuries: absolutely must have in-apartment laundry; separate bathrooms, definitely; nice kitchen is a must, as we love to cook. good thing we're not on a budget -- oh, wait.

throughout this anxiety- and uncertainty-filled process, i can't help but think back on apartment-hunting in my younger days. back then, life was nothing but uncertainties and poverty, but i never let that stop me.

in the Summer of 2002, my best friend D and i decided that we absolutely needed to live together in Pittsburgh, where neither of us was going to college. i found an unpaid internship in the city, and she had no job. so what! we knew love would find a way. we found a beautiful but tiny studio on a quiet street in Pittsburgh, and we went for it without hesitation.

we spent that gloriously happy summer living together in a sublet studio apartment, dorm-style, with two double beds (futons, actually!) pressed up against one another. the place had no air conditioning, so we bought a few fans. we had barely any money for groceries, so we ate tater tots and ranch dressing daily. we sang each other to sleep at night and spied on naked neighbors through mini binoculars. and we were the happiest kids in town. what's money got to do with it?

the next summer was a little easier, since each of us was able to line up a part-time retail job in Pittsburgh. we were able to afford an air-conditioned, one-bedroom apartment, which we sublet from a nice Indian couple who didn't believe in furniture or curtains or vacuuming. when i toured the place i felt certain that, with my professional-grade cleaning skills, i would be able to wash the smell of curry out of the walls and carpet. i was wrong, and for an entire summer, D and i smelled like samosas. adding to the stench in our humble one-bedroom hut, our diet that summer consisted of primarily tuna salad sandwiches and Miller Lite, as we were finally both 21 years old but still very poor.

while i still get excited about moving, apartment hunting isn't quite as easy these days. Shaunice and i are no longer in college, and we're closer to 30 than we are to 20 years old. since she has a pretty serious boyfriend, i guess we should insist upon separate bedrooms, rather than trying to fit our two queen beds into one room. but maybe we don't need a luxurious two-bathroom loft with our own laundry. maybe we don't need a gym and a conference center in the lobby. maybe we could get by sharing a happy little place we can afford, with Miller Lite and tater tots in the fridge.

this afternoon Shaunice and i have our first apartment visit of the hunting season. i'm going to try to remind myself that some of the happiest days of my life were spent living in cramped, dirty apartments with a dear friend and a world of uncertainty.


carteemily said...

good luck! hope lots of possibilities will come so you have different options:o) south philly offers row homes with cheap rent, dive bars, (and swim bars), gem restaurants, easy access to rest of city, parks, italian market, cheesesteaks. i wonder if you guys'd like round 11th south of south or farther east.

Lifebeginsat30ty said...

You guys look so cute! I remember those early college days with 3 room-mates (sharing a room with my boyfriend) that somehow I only paid $125 mos for. Boy those days are long gone. But I wish you luck! Here's me sending out positive rays to the universe for you!

Peggy said...

heartfelt and lovely. thank you.

Pat @ said...

Instant flashback to both of your little apartments with shared bedrooms.

Man, I was so jealous of you then. I still lived at home.

Good times :)