It was a lot to squeeze into two and a half weeks.
First apartments aren't supposed to be glamorous. We'd like them to be, but the truth is, a lot of the time they aren't. My first one on Tompkins Street in Cortland, NY, while being only two blocks from downtown, wasn't anything to really write home about. But it was mine. Mine to come back to each night. Mine to pay the bills on, stock with groceries, and just be a place to call my own.
And it worked, for a while. It worked until it didn't anymore. Until living between a frat house, a sorority (with another one across the street), and generally just being in the middle of college housing (while not in college) wasn't where I wanted to be working the kind of hours I was working. There was also the small matter of no parking, and bottom line, it didn't feel like home anymore.
It took me about a month to find a new place. This was after multiple daily looks at CraigsList, scouring the newspaper, calling various phone numbers, and trucking out to Homer, McGraw, Tully, and on one occasion, Cincinnatus. All with nothing really promising, nothing that screamed home to me until one day. Until this place.
There were a few must-haves for me when I was looking. One of them was full-size appliances in the kitchen. Saying I like to bake is an understatement. There's still the thought in the back of my head about going to pastry school, so I spend a bit of free time with my oven. (My current kitchen, pictured above, has brand new EZClose cupboards. It was a huge tipping point.) Also on the list of my requirements was a bathroom I didn't have to back into in order to use the toilet, and that actually had a tub instead of a tiny shower stall.
This is my apartment. All of my furniture is secondhand and most of it certainly doesn't match (not that I care, I was just happy to have furniture in general), but it's here. So is my houseplant who's been with me since my first year of college, my framed photo of lower Manhattan pre-2001, and the photo board hanging on the wall features the most important people in my life, proudly on display. But more importantly, I can say that shortly into September, a few days after I moved in, this went from being a bigger apartment in a different location with new cupboards to being my home. A place to come to recharge, to have quiet nights in, and to host out-of-town friends who stop by for a visit. A home that gives me a sense of contentment I didn't feel in that first place.
It was a struggle to find such a place. I'm pretty sure, when I was looking to move in August, there were tears of frustration at one point. Thankfully, there's sites like Urban Compass that help people do just what I did - find that first apartment, get settled, and have that feeling of starting over, starting out.