A new record
Alex and I moved to the UK in January of 2010, and we moved into our current apartment on Feb 1. Back in December, when we first got back from Japan, we had to decide whether to renew our lease or look for something else. Well, if you remember the drama we had when we first moved in, neither of use was terribly excited about venturing back into the estate-game. BUT … we have a bit of history with moving. In the 90-something months that we’ve been together, Alex and I have never lived in one place for longer than 21 months … so coming up on our 2 year anniversary with a single address was kind of strange to contemplate. I’ll admit that I was jonesing for a change, so we decided to scope out a few places in the neighborhood.
We saw one flat on the top floor of a converted Victorian mansion. There were 5 or 6 flats in the house, and I really loved the main staircase, which was grand in every way. But the flat itself left a lot of be desired: the layout was funky, the kitchen was microscopic, and the bathroom needed new tiles.
There was another flat that I really loved, with two bedrooms, hardwood floors, and a Juliette balcony. The only problem is that it was a 20 minute bus-ride from Wimbledon; there was nothing within walking distance except lots of parking lots. We’d definitely need a car to live there, which is just not in our lifestyle.
The third flat we saw had us tossing and turning for several nights. The big benefits of our current flat are: location, price, quality. The big drawback is the size, because it’s a one bedroom, whenever we have guests they are sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. So we really wanted a flat with a bit more space, but of course we wanted it for the same price and in the same location as our current place. Impossible, right? Well, we found it. Right now we’re about 2 blocks north of the train station, and this flat was about 6 blocks south. It had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (over 2 floors), a really nice patio, and new carpet in part. It sounded perfect, and when we first looked at it I was totally thrilled – convinced that we’d found something amazing. But then we got back home and started talking it over, we realized that it had no closets (none!), nasty old carpet in part, older appliances, and it was on the ground floor. The next day we went walking around, and we noticed that all the neighboring houses have bars on the windows – while this flat didn’t. Hello, criminals, please burglarize here! The alley in the back was a little sketchy, and neither of the bathrooms was very inviting (in fact, I’m sure that one of them was unusable). BUT THE SPACE – TWO BEDROOMS!! You can see how we went back and forth … and back and forth … and back and forth some more!
Ultimately it was a casual comment from a friend who swayed us. “You should move for yourselves, not for other people.” You see, we want the extra space for when guests come, but we only have guests maybe 2 or 3 weeks out of the year. That leaves 49 or 50 weeks where it’s just us … and we’re perfectly happy in our current place!
So that’s how we came to sign a renewal on our current flat. Yes, we’ve committed to a third year – which is a pretty big commitment for us! But I’m quite happy with our decision. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally check out the estate listings … because hey, you never know!