When I first decided that I wanted to move back to New England, my best friend and I hatched a plan where we'd get a place together. She looked at apartments in New Hampshire and would text me photos. We discussed what we had, what we needed, and how to convince our cats that they were bestest pals. I contacted movers, started packing, and put in for vacation time.
And then that fell through. No roommate, no apartment. However, I was still packed, I was still talking to movers, and I still had the vacation time... and heck, I still wanted to move back.
So I got on the internet and with the help of my pal google, began looking for a place to live.
Searching for an apartment when you can't actually VISIT any of the apartments is a leap of faith. You have to believe that the photos of the apartments are actually realistic and not photoshopped so that the crime scene tape and bloodstains just don't show. You have to try to figure out if "historic neighborhood" means "fabulous restored homes" or "derelict, neglected, really old and sketchy part of town". If "located near a university" means "be prepared for your neighbors to be doing kegstands in the parking lot at 3 AM and for the cops to be here A LOT". If "riverview" means "during a high water season, you will be standing IN the river, because it will have overflowed into your house".
You know, small details that you can't check out for yourself because you live 850 miles away from where you're hoping to end up.
I did have the benefit of knowing the area a little, which was helpful. I knew right away that there were a few places that I didn't want to live. I also knew that I was running out of time -- if I didn't move quickly, it would soon be "college students in the apartment market" time, and I would have very little to choose from -- or at least, very little that I WANTED to choose from.
I found myself at a website that didn't have photos of the apartments, just floor plans. They allowed pets. The rent was reasonable. The two bedrooms seemed to meet my work from home needs. I called.
The voice at the other end was super friendly, but not confident when she heard what I was looking for. "Let me check," she said, "I don't know if we have something available."
She came back. "I have a two bedroom corner unit that will be available in October ... it's one of the bigger apartments, though, and you said it's just you, so I don't know if that would work for you."
"I will overnight a cashiers check to you TODAY," I said.
I did not know what the apartment looked like.
I wasn't entirely sure where it was.
But now I would have a place to live.
If you've never driven for 850 miles in a Volkswagen Rabbit? With a very cranky cat in the backseat? And no real idea of where you and your possessions are going? Well, it's one of those things that people describe as "character building". As in, it's sort of miserable, but it's an adventure and adventures are good for the soul, right? Especially when you consider that, I am not, by nature, reckless or spontaneous. I am rather excessively organized and ... um, overplanned and cautious. I used to think that I needed to apologize for that; however, I don't anymore. (Mostly because I don't know what difference it makes to anyone else -- I don't judge your messy, so you don't judge my organized.) I really like having a plan and a sense of place.
So getting in the car and moving my stuff to someplace I'd never even seen was clearly going to be out of character. I think I chanted "please don't let this suck" all the way from Clayton, North Carolina to Dover, New Hampshire. "Please, please, please don't let this suck."
In case you were wondering -- it didn't suck.
In fact, it is glorious.
As I type this? It's a beautiful day. My windows are open. I cannot hear traffic or people, only bird song. I can smell lilacs and cherry blossoms. And this is the view from my office:
This is what I learned. Things will always work themselves out. You just have to allow it to happen and know that, even if it happens outside of your normal comfort levels, on the alternate end of the plans you thought you were making, they will work out. And when they do?
It will not suck.