Housing

I have decided to stay in Toronto for the next few years. I want to
get used to living somewhere. I’ve packed up and lived in a strange
country—twice. Now I want to try becoming a pillar of the community.

Now that I’ve decided to stick around, I can consider long-term
housing. I passed by the student centre for off-campus housing. I was
pleased to see that the advertised locations were generally cheaper
than those advertised in newspapers. I’m looking forward to taking
advantage of these great resources!

The person at the student centre said that April and May are when all
the boards are full. If I wait until then, I’m sure to have much more
choice. On the other hand, I can start seriously looking soon (after
my NY trip!), but only take a place if it’s seriously stellar.

I think I’ll slowly inch my way up the renting ladder. I’ll start with
a budget of $800-1000, and I’ll give myself a raise in a year (which
is just about the right timing anyway). The cost of moving shouldn’t
be too high, especially as I’ll be moving around in the same city.

What’s the immediate cost? Visiting places takes time. It’s good
practice for interviewing people, though. I can use it as an excuse to
explore neighborhoods, too. High-rises are better than houses for
this, because if I find something wonderful that I’m not ready to move
into yet, I can bookmark it and have a reasonable chance of getting a
spot.

Also, condominium rentals are more expensive than house rentals, but
they might also be managed better because the landlords have more
experience. There will be less negotiation, but that’s okay—at least
it’s pretty clear. I like the idea of 24h security and having control
over the entire unit instead of sharing a house with someone else, and
the condominium rules make it easier to deal with neighbors. Also, if
I give parties or have people over, then amenities might be nice.
Downside? The block design might be sad, and I won’t have as much
control over the interior as I’d like—but then again, I’m not
planning to do any renovations this soon anyway.

Clearly my inner self is keen on going for a medium- or high-rise for
now. I’ll ask about Graduate House’s moving-out policy. Then I’ll
start a short-term project: apartment-hunting. Two weeks for
information-gathering, two weeks for looking at places. If Graduate
House will let me give a month’s notice and still be flexible about
it, then I’ll probably be out by April 1. I’ve already paid for
February rent, and my deposit can cover March’s rent. I can actually
move out earlier if I’m willing to forfeit the deposit, but what’s
another month? It will fly by. So now is actually the right time for
me to be looking for these things.

A quick search of the rental listings shows that I can stay within the
the downtown rectangle of Bloor/King-Spadina/Yonge given my budget, so
I don’t need to compromise on location. I’m drawn to hardwood floors
and big windows, and I would love to have a bedroom window with plenty
of sunlight (only way to get out of bed!). I don’t smoke, so a balcony
or patio would be useful for me only if it’s large enough to have the
occasional outdoor meal. A studio or 1-bedroom would be ideal because
it’s easier to manage parties if I can keep an area separate. I’ll
take a furnished suite only if I can change the furniture gradually.

Right. I should jump and trust that there’ll be someplace to catch me.
I’ll plan to move out mid-March, so there’s time for me to settle in
or hit the panic button. Doing the move now instead of delaying until
graduation is good, actually, as that means I’m only making one major
life change at a time (and my postal address will be good during my
job search and everything!).

Yes, life is good when you have a plan…

Random Emacs symbol: complete-in-turn – Macro: Create a completion table that first tries completion in A and then in B.