We only moved across town, but it feels like a very different place. For three years, we lived in an apartment complex that was literally built around the train station. Each building had 18 to 24 units, and some of the largest ones - three-bedroom units like ours - were occupied by families of four or more. Most of the residents had more than one car, too, and all of the parking was in outdoor lots. We were on the second floor, so we had neighbors both above and below, but since we were in an end unit, there was a neighboring apartment on only one side. The point of all this is that it was rarely quiet around there.
We're now living in a gated townhome community that's a small part of a major subdivision. We're still in an end unit, with a neighbor on one side, but there are only four units in the building. More importantly, since each unit has two stories, there are no up-or-down neighbors. Each unit has a garage, so there's no busy parking lot outside. But there is a park just on the other side of the fence behind us. And the train tracks are a couple of miles away. Sometimes it's unnervingly quiet here.
We hadn't been actively looking to move, but the chance to rent this house came up through a woman in my book club. Her family had decided to move east of Los Angeles for various reasons, and she and her husband had decided to rent out their house here rather than try to sell it, and it all came together so well it made Tall Paul and me a little nervous. We're committed to an 18-month lease, and our landlords have told us that they have "no plans to sell," period. We're already hoping they won't change their minds - not only would we really prefer NOT to move again in a year and a half, we already know we like it here a lot and would be happy to stay as long as we can.
We have more space - the same number of bedrooms, but more living space and all of the rooms are larger. Tall Paul is very happy that he has a garage, and we can actually get both cars into it and store stuff out there! There's enough storage space in the kitchen that we can actually put things away and clear off the counters, and a built-in cabinet in the upstairs hallway has already been put to use for much-needed book storage. (And it's not full - yet. That will change, especially if we're here longer than the current lease term.) The house are big windows and lots of light. There are also lots of trees around, but no yard to speak of, and the homeowner's association is responsible for all the groundskeeping. The whole neighborhood is great for walking, and the park is well-lit at night - and since it's a park with no playing fields, it's pretty quiet there too. Our dog Gypsy seems to appreciate both the change of scenery and the quiet - she's even quieted down a bit herself since we moved in here. And of course, there are so many new things to sniff while out walking - the rabbits and squirrels are a fine bonus, too.
Real-estate agents know what they're doing when they talk about helping people buy "homes" - it's an emotional term. They deal with buying and selling houses. As far as I'm concerned, any place I've lived was the place I called "home" - as long as I could make it comfortable and welcoming, it didn't matter to me whether it was owned or rented, spacious or small, house or apartment. Those details still don't make a lot of difference to me. We haven't been in this new place long, and since we don't own it, some might say it isn't truly "ours," but we're already making it feel like home, and we'll treat it like it's ours for as long as we're here. We just hope that will turn out to be for a good long time.
Since we're starting to feel "at home" in our new place, I HAD to take this Blogthings quiz:
What Your Home Says About You
You come across as very intellectual. People take your wisdom seriously.
You have amazing hygiene, and it shows. You are sparkling clean!
You are a very domestic person. You enjoy decorating, cooking, and making things homey.
You are not a nurturing person by nature, but you can easily take care of someone you truly love.
You feel settled in your life. You have enough time to focus on little details.
You are a very self sufficient person. You can get along well without much help.
Your friends see you as honest, humble, and responsible.
So, are you a "homebody"? What does "home" mean to you?