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.