And hating every minute of it.
Honestly, if I wasn't a few months away from finishing my PhD, I would've said screw it, let's just stay in Pasadena and send for our stuff.
We got in really late on Wed. and went straight to the hotel. We started the apt. hunting bright and early on Thurs. Half of the places we went to couldn't show us an apt. because the apt. was still occupied. The other half showed us an empty apt. identical to the one that we would be getting, but they couldn't show us the actual one we'd be getting because it was occupied. It seemed odd to us because we've moved a couple of times in Chicago and every time, the manager has showed our apt. to people while we were still living in it. The last apt. we saw on Thurs. was the one that we liked the best. They wouldn't let us take any pictures, but this website has pictures of the outside. We are going with a one bedroom, one bathroom that is more expensive than our current two bedroom, two bathroom with separate dining room and sun rooms.
Still, I'm excited about it because the apt. is nice with new appliances and a gas fireplace and a patio. And it's within blocks both of Caltech and a major shopping area, as well as only a few blocks away from this:
A lovely yarn store called Elegance. We stopped in and had a chat with the owner who was very friendly and told us all about the events in the area and about their Wed. night knitting group. She offered John a chair and even managed to include him in the conversation.
And then, of course, we're only a short drive from this:
But, really, I'm more excited about the shopping area. You'd have to be familiar with my current neighborhood to understand why. Hyde Park has almost nothing to do. There are a few restaurants (that is, there are an absurd number of Thai food places and a smattering of other things), but almost no shopping, there's no movie theater, there are no cafes, there's pretty much nothing. To get to anything of interest, you either have to drive and pay around $10 for parking (if you're lucky), or you have to take public transportation. It takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to get downtown and that's not even where the fun stuff is. If I wanted to do anything north of downtown and was going to take public transit, I'd leave a good hour or more for transit time. In Pasadena, everything is right near where we want to live. Parking is cheap ($5 or $6 maximum on the parking garages! in Chicago, it's $20 maximum). But, for a lot of things, we wouldn't even have to drive.
I've been in Chicago for 10 years now, and I'm sick to death of it. In fact, I hate it. I might not feel that strongly about it if I could live in another neighborhood, but with grad school being in Hyde Park, I have to live here. Prior to grad school, I worked at the University, so I had to live here.
I'm from Iowa. I'm used to having nothing to do (though, it was easier and cheaper to go to the movies at least). But having nothing to do is not the only problem. The buses are loud and they go right outside our windows. Our window sills are covered in more grime that I ever saw on any window in Iowa even if the sill had not been cleaned in 10 years. And this is only a few months worth. I can't keep up with it. It seems fruitless anyway. And the crime. My roommate and his boyfriend were mugged at gunpoint a few weeks ago. I would say half the people I know have been a victim of a crime. Being held up at gunpoint is not uncommon. And just last week at 6am, two women were accosted and "fondled" by a man not two blocks from my workplace.
In short, Hyde Park has all of the disadvantages of living in the city and none of the advantages. I cannot wait to get out of this hellhole.
But, to continue on with the Pasadena trip, on Friday, having found a place we liked, we wandered around a bit during the day going to a children's museum and the yarn store, and had a nice dinner. Sat., we left and got back ridiculously late in Chicago due to airline issues.
We have submitted our application so the management company can see how much we owe in student loans and check to see if we're serial killers or anything like that. I don't anticipate having any problems (juvenile records are sealed, right? j/k), but I'm still nervous. We should know by the end of the week and then I will feel better.