Living with others and living alone

The residence assistant introduced himself to me and explained that my roommate Kristin would be moving to another room for a day, just to try it out. I guess this was related to the tense discussion I'd walked in on last Friday. She and my other roommate, Krystal, were having a hard time dealing with those little issues that come up when you share space with near-strangers. It's Kristin's first time living with others, and there are lots of things to which we all need to adjust.

People find it strange that I don't mind sharing a *room* with another person. I have to explain to them that when I lived in residence in college, I shared a room with three other people (an actual room, mind you). Even after I graduated from college and stayed at an apartment-style dorm near school, I shared a room with another person.

I've never lived alone. I've never chosen furniture, except for two bean-bag chairs at the apartment-style dorm near school. I've never chosen paint colors or light fixtures (okay, maybe a desk lamp).

I've never had my own place. I'm looking forward to one!

I'd like to try living on my own: not just renting a room in a shared house, but having an apartment all to myself. I've thought about whether that makes sense financially, knowing that I should save earlier instead of later because of the power of compound interest and money might be a bit tight if I'm just starting out. Even though it makes more financial sense for me to find roommates and go for the cheap rent when I'm starting out, I think I'd like to try living on my own.

This adventure would also help me figure out what I like and don't like about places, which is even more important when it comes to deciding where and how I'm going to live. =)

So—I won't move out of Graduate House yet (I like the amenities and the company!), but I plan to move into a bachelor's or 1-bedroom apartment when I start working.

An unfurnished apartment would give me the most flexibility. I can see how I'd gradually scale up in terms of furniture. Asian style might help me here: I can sleep on a futon and entertain on cushions spread around a low mat.

Here's what I want:

  • Accessible by transit: I'll probably never live anywhere that requires driving. I enjoy having people over too much to limit myself to people who have a car. 24-hour transit would be even better so that I don't need to worry about how late my parties run. It needs to be close enough for people to not mind coming over after work.
  • A large kitchen that connects to the living room: I prefer entertaining at home over going out. If the kitchen is far from the living/dining room, then I might not see my guests during parties until halfway through! Not fun. I'd rather have an open layout and a large kitchen so that when guests come over and help me cook, we have enough space to do that. I loved how people helped me out with my birthday party: mixing the brownies, cooking porridge, chopping fruits... Yup, definitely must have a large kitchen and a pleasant living room.
  • Big windows: I love natural light, and would like to have windows with a view of either leafy trees or the cityscape. I would particularly enjoy having a large window in my bedroom facing north or south (or east, if necessary; just not west) so that the morning sun can help me wake up. I'd hate to have to use curtains or shades on this window, though. My Graduate House window opens onto the courtyard, which is why I have to keep the shades closed or people can see straight into my room. Not fun.
  • Warm colors: I love rich, warm colors. Red, orange, brown, things like that.
  • Temperature control: I want to be able to choose a comfortable temperature and maintain that throughout the year.
  • Shower essential, bath not quite necessary: North American baths are nothing compared to a proper Japanese bath, to which I will treat myself someday. I want one of those deep sitting baths - maybe even the one with a wooden barrel? I think the Japanese way of doing baths is The Right Way: take a shower *outside* the bath, soak, and then rinse off outside it. I suppose it only makes sense if one shares the bath with other people afterwards, though, so it's not a feature I'm looking for now.
  • Double sink, preferably triple sink: I don't mind washing dishes. In fact, I probably wouldn't use a dishwasher that often. On the other hand, a double sink is incredibly useful.
  • High-speed Internet: 'nuff said. Wireless, preferably. I can set this up easily.
  • Cellphone signal: 'nuff said.
  • Near laundromat: I handwash most of my clothes, so it might not be worth it for me to keep a washing machine if I'm just going to use it for sheets, towels, and the occasional sturdy item.
  • Near restaurants, preferably open late at night: For those days when I don't feel like cooking, or for lunch parties that stretch out into dinner.
  • Near public library: Nice to have. I can walk or take transit, though.
  • Garden not necessary: I suck at keeping plants, and I don't particularly feel the urge to have a yard.
  • Not a basement: I am not a basement person. See need for windows.
  • High-rise, probably, although low-rise also okay: Because a bachelor pad probably won't be cost-effective otherwise.

I haven't decided between a bachelor pad or a one-bedroom apartment yet. I can use a folding screen to hide my bed if I go for a bachelor pad. I don't need a really fancy place to sleep.

This probably also means I should consider working for somewhere downtown, because I like living downtown.

Hmm. =)

Plans, plans... Maybe sometime April, if I get my work thing sorted out? I can do Massachusetts, I suppose, although Manila would probably be a better alternative...

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