Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Starting backwards

It seems strange that my first entry is about my last days here. In this apartment. Where I've lived for 13 months. On my own. For the first time since Japan [eight years ago]. But it makes sense to me to look back. Before I go forward. To search within. Before I seek out.

The decision to move out on my own (read: no more roommates) was a tough one, especially when it came to finances. Could I afford 1.5x what I was paying in rent? Would it be worth it? And -- crazily -- Should I just move home and save $$$? Despite my BFF's advice, 'Peace of mind is priceless,' the reality of my financial situation (let's call it 'puberty' rather than 'immaturity') made that harder to put into practice... But I did it. Chose the apartment that was $50 cheaper and closer to family to boot; packed up and shuttled boxes by the carload, and with the help and heft of family and friends, moved in to my very own one-bedroom apartment.

And I've loved it.

From setting up my tabletop burner for a quick fix before the gas was turned on,

[first meal: popcorn]

to furniture configurations and reconfigurations (made easier to do on a whim thanks to hardwood floors),

[living room, initially]

to putting up art and holiday decor,

[living room, bedecked]

to growing a windowsill garden and, in the last four months, adding a desk and getting the best living room set up

[living room, perfected]

it's truly been a great experience of living on my own. I've enjoyed the freedom of not always having to be neat as well as the responsibility and joy of creating a home and haven for myself. I was also really lucky to have mom n' pop landlords who were responsive (they replaced a ceiling fan, installed a hood over the range in a weekend, and put up shelves and art at a phone call's notice) and also grateful to have a low-maintenance, clean tenant.

I learned a lot over the past year here. To enjoy cooking more. To try new things. That I like change every now and then. That classical music over brunch on weekends is delightful. That south facing light is the bomb.

Funny how, as I'm packing up, the apartment looks so much like it did when I moved in: boxes every which way and lots of empty floor space. I'm happy that some of the improvements I made (that entry mirror used to be in the bathroom, before I replaced it with a proper cabinet) were happily embraced by my landlord and will remain for the new tenant; I like the idea of leaving a place a little nicer for the next person. Before I leave, though, here are a few more images of my apartment as it was for me.

[craft corner; that top wall shelf stayed, too]

[living room: ode to japon]

[entry: scarves + sandals = so california]

[bedroom, corner]


[bedroom, closets]

I leave this place with the last of my belongings (from the fridge), exhaling with satisfaction over the time I've spent here. Ready for what's ahead. Onwards!

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