Tag: home

Apartment Living

I have never lived in an apartment building before. Ours is certainly not a fancy one. It has carpet reminiscent of an English pub complete with the smell of old cigarettes lingering, there is no lift, and rubbish bins are lined up in the centre courtyard rather than a manicured garden. But I love buzzing in the front door and seeing the packages that have been delivered, checking to see if there is one for us, or post in the number 12 slot. I love walking up the four levels to our door, passing the smells and noises of other people’s life. Fried onions and garlic at number four, curry at number seven. Sometimes a door is left ajar and I can peak into a crowded hallway, strange to live so close to someone and yet know nothing about them. I look out our kitchen window, across the courtyard to two abnormally large cats who sleep in the sun on the outside stairs, other people’s windows, other people’s choices of lined up bottles and plants.

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We have been in this building for five months now. We know our neighbours on our floor. We have all our things from New Zealand and it feels a lot more like home. Books threaten to topple, art is on the walls, clutter is accumulating, and as of Saturday, we have plants growing on the fire escape.

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Five months on and Autumn has arrived. The lower sun means we have bright light streaming into the living and bedroom for most of the day making perfect spots for curling up with a book or a bowl of pasta. It also means finally bidding farewell to stone fruit and berries and welcoming more wintery apples and pears, as well as piles of pumpkins. I am loving the comforting, hearty food- lentils with pasta, chicken pie, soups and pumpkin ravioli which I will blog very soon.

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Fighting tech workers for a home

House hunting is a crazy thing here in San Francisco. The tech boom out in Silicone Valley has meant a huge change in the property market. Because of people like Ollie, my husband, there has been a big influx of people who have moved here to work and want to live in a cool area. So for a studio apartment in what was a pretty dodgy area, now with cafes and tiny restaurants popping up, you are looking at paying between 2,500- 3,000 US dollars a month. And that is before you factor in parking, expenses and that there are no laundries in the buildings. This rapid increase in rentsĀ has resulted protests over the last few months- the influx of people earning a good salary has meant hasty gentrification of neighbourhoods, forcing families who have rented there for years to be evicted. People say it is killing the creative and artistic heritage of the city as no one can afford to live centrally. Others say that is is bringing money to the city. You can read more about it hereĀ and I would be interested in your thoughts.

Anyway, my days look like this at the moment.

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Trying to set up viewings of apartments and walking from place to place to find the same groups of people arrive with me. Some have cash in hand ready to seal the deal if the place looks good. Our expectations have quickly fallen from a two bedroom apartment so people can come to stay, down to a studio apartment- sorry visitors, it’s going to be a tight squeeze in our bed instead.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, I’m heading out to another couple now!