"Do you not like SoCal?"
It's a question I've been asked repeatedly.
"Do you regret moving West?"
Again. Another repeat question.
"I love Encinitas. I don't regret moving. My house and that town are so perfect for me."
"I do miss Boston. And need a year of being bicoastal."
Mark Flaherty, my astrologer (Don't laugh. He's the best, and he is scientific about it. He's not new-agey.) had said the movement of my chart suggested an expansion of my home. He thought it meant moving into a bigger place. But I knew as soon as he said it that it was referring to the expansion of location of my home.
But I was hesitant to commit to it. I - as I do with many decisions - let the idea eat away at my mind space for hours, days, weeks, months... And even though I'd been thinking about doing this since December, it was scary seeing it all come together so easily...
- My company being okay with me working remotely for a month.
- Finding an AirBNB that had everything I needed to do a month here.
- My team being okay with their leader being only accessible electronically. (Though, most of my team works in different locations than me as it is. So this one was stupid to be worried about.)
"Alright," I said, after spending a week here and seeing how smooth things were going, "if I find an apartment - the perfect place that is exactly what I need - I'll see it as a sign to split my time."
I tried to go the route of browsing Zillow, and found a few places to go and see. I reached out to the contacts, but only had two responses.
"The non-responsiveness is a sign of not moving," I said to myself.
And when I went to go see the two places that I did get a response on, I knew they weren't the right places for me...
- One was a gorgeous, but small, renovated one bedroom where the owner wanted a bidding war from rental prospects. (No thanks. This is a rental. Not a fucking purchase. Fuck you.)
- The other was a studio larger than the one bedroom, but on the ground floor of a multi-unit brownstone, where the door to the apartment was next to the building's door to a back alley.
I got discouraged about everything, and went for a long walk. This was on Tuesday, the day before my birthday.
On this walk, I circled past a realty in my old neighborhood. I read the listings posted in the window and saw one on my old street from a few years ago. I decided to continue my walk to go see the outside of the place...
It was sweet. Charming, like nearly all of the rowhouses on the oval street.
I walked back to the realty office, and walked in this time. A friendly woman offered to help me. We talked about the place, and she dug up some information for me. She also dug up some information on other properties in the neighborhood that might be a fit for me. I agreed to see two places, the one on my old street and on on another charming street I'd always loved in the South End.
She set up appointments for the next morning, on my birthday.
We saw the second place first. It was cute. I wasn't crazy about the bathroom. But it hit the mark on everything else:
- Great light
- Laundry in unit
- Wood floors
We thanked the property manager, who said he had other people looking at it later in the day. I knew he wasn't trying to be scary. He was being straight-forward, and I could tell - wanted me to be the renter.
I give off an air of being responsible and friendly, I guess.
We went to the first place... The one on my old street. The agent for that place was on the steps waiting for us. He was nice as well, very warm. He knew the owner of the place on a personal level.
We walked into the building, and a wave of nostalgia hit me. It was similar to place down the street that I had rented. The stairs were slightly crooked, and the carpet worn. Barely any light came into the entrance. And there was freshly delivered mail all over the floor from being slipped into the slot.
We walked up to the second floor and knocked on the door. The current tenant let us in...
The place was perfect.
Light. So much light. Parquet floors - but not the tiny patterened kind - which I hate. It was the large patterened kind. The kitchen was a small room to itself, in the front. And it too had a window. Bay windows. A door in the living room which was a walkthrough closet to the bedroom. Another open doorway to the bedroom. Large windows and a decorative fireplace in the bedroom. And the bedroom was huge! Even bigger than the one I have in my house in Encinitas! And then, there was a small hallway off the bedroom that led to a redone bathroom, which had a new washer/dryer stack unit.
"This place just keeps going!" I said excitedly. And so many closets. Some with built-in shelves.
"The rent includes heat, hot water and electricity," the agent said.
Apparently the owner has owned the building for a few decades. And the unit below me is a triplex (parlor level, ground level, and sub-ground level) and the electricity meter is tied between the two.
He had a showing after me scheduled. But I let him know I would be submitting an application. I could tell he liked me best, as I had lived on the street before and knew the responsibility that comes with this particular street.
Fast-forward three days... And I am happy to say that yesterday I signed my lease and wired all of the upfront money from my accounts.
The place is mine as of May 1st.
Before I signed the lease, I emailed the executives at my company...
"I was going to take a place... Just want to confirm it's all cool before I do it."
They wrote back they were in complete support of this.
"It's going too easy," I said.
A new friend, from my high school days, encouraged me to not overanalyze things. But he is a guy. They tend to be better at going with the flow of life. I agreed with him though.
If anything, all of these signs pushing me here is showing me I have something to accomplish here in the next year. What that is? I don't know. Yet.
But I'll just keep going in this direction. And look forward to starting my bicoastal life in late May.