Saturday, June 3, 2017
New Apartment, Working Overtime, and Seeking Nature
May went by in a blur of working overtime, finding a new apartment, and spending as much time in nature as possible. I felt very busy, yet I wonder how busy I actually was. I am not always the best at managing my time. There were a couple of weeks when I didn't work as much overtime as I have been working. During these weeks, we set out on the hunt for an apartment. By this time, we are more than familiar with apartment hunting in Denver, and we know that you have to act fast in order to find and keep an apartment that you are interested in. There is so much demand for places to rent that bedrooms in houses are going for more than what I paid for a two-bedroom apartment in college. People are still moving to Denver in droves, and landlords are still able to raise rent astronomically.
Finding an apartment in Denver is not easy. I searched online and found a website that gave me the best results. I kept looking and looking obsessively. It's what you have to do. The search was bringing me down. I have a fairly well-paying job for the first time in my life, and yet I can't afford a decent one-bedroom apartment. I have student loans to pay that decrease my income by a not insignificant amount. We found studio after studio, and some of the studios were even beyond our budget. Finding an apartment within walking distance or a reasonable bus ride from work was also a bit of a struggle. I don't have a car because I will not and cannot invest in the expense of having one at the moment. I'd like to rely on walking and public transportation as much as possible, for as long as I can. We take Brian's car on the weekends.
Eventually, I set up an appointment to see a studio apartment that is only a twenty-minute walk from work. It was beautiful. It had a dining room with huge windows and old-fashioned built-in shelves. The walls of the dining room were painted a light turquoise color. The bathroom had large black and white tiles set in the shape of diamonds. The apartment had old-fashioned trim and a little alcove where a Murphy bed used to be. There was a walk-in closet behind the main living space that went nearly the entire length of the apartment. On the side of the apartment, there was a small courtyard where you could barbecue. The owner told us he was planning on setting up some raised garden beds for anyone who wants to garden. I loved it and I wanted it--even though we weren't sure how our furniture would fit. It was a bit of an awkward shape with gas radiators in the way of where you might place furniture.
After he showed us the studio, the owner told us he had a one-bedroom that was just a little bit above what we were hoping to pay. However, it includes internet and utilities. He also does not charge a pet fee, and he said that he does not raise rent for current tenants. With all of this combined, along with the fact that rent for our 300 sq ft studio is going up $100 more per month after we move out, we knew this would be our one chance to get a one-bedroom apartment. I was disappointed that we were giving up the pretty studio with the pretty outdoor space, but there are more than enough positives about the one-bedroom apartment to make up for it. The first and most obvious being that we would have more than twice as much room as we do now.
We set a meeting to see the apartment and signed a lease as fast as we possibly could. Our new apartment has a living room, dining room, larger kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom with a tub that you can actually use. After living in Korea for so long, I wasn't expecting a tub in my apartment at all. We are both going to have a little desk area, and I am so excited for that. I think we will both be much more productive with more room to move around and do things. The bathroom still has black and white tile. There is also an outdoor space to the side of the apartment where we can let Kiki run, and we can have barbecues with our friends. It's not as pretty as the other apartment, but the actual space that we will have to ourselves more than makes up for it. There is a bench in front of the building that will be perfect for morning coffee while staring at the luscious green of the churchyard across the street.
We move on June 30th. Between now and then, I will be working as much overtime as possible. I might lose steam and slow down, but I'd like to be in a good place at work where I can at least see a light at the end of the tunnel if I am not all caught up. I did take two days off to move, though. After that, I hope to get out and enjoy the beautiful nature of Colorado as much as possible. I feel that we're getting a late start, but I hope to go on ten long hikes (at least two miles), and go camping at least three times. We bought a tent last year and haven't used it at all. I was so busy working two jobs, and we were still getting acclimated to living in America again. We will hopefully make up for lost time this summer and in however many summers we end up living in Colorado.
Last weekend, we went to a park and went up the beginning of a 7-mile hike. We got a late start and weren't prepared, but we are going to go back and do that hike. I feel most at home when I am in nature. This has all got me started thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life and what kind of job I could get that would allow me to live comfortably in a small town, or in Europe or South America. I also wouldn't be opposed to teaching English in Asia for another year or two. Those are my dreams. If any of them come true, I'll be happy. I'll probably be happy anyway, but it's something to try for. Although I cannot stop thinking about next steps and if I should go to graduate school someday, that is a conversation for another day. Right now I just need to focus on making life in Denver the best that it can be, which means leaving as often as possible and enjoying the peace of nature.