Some people enjoy stamp collecting, some macramé, some bar hopping. My hobby is looking for a home.
I lived my whole youth in one house, where my mom still lives. Unlike many of my peers, we never had to move due to career changes. When we ran out of room, we did go out in search of a bigger space. Instead, my dad led the whole family in building a second story on the house.
But ever since I left home for college, I haven’t lived more than two years in the same space. I moved from one dorm room to the next, then my first off-campus apartment, then a new place in Virginia, and another, and then back to New York, and now I’m looking again. There have been stretches of time when I know I will be in the same place for a while, but to be honest, it really doesn’t stop me from looking. Up until last year, it was all apartment hunting. One bedroom, two, three, off street parking, pets allowed, coin-op laundry, dishwasher… An ad that read “2BR, 1.5BA, Hdwds, EIK, cat ok” could actually catch my eye. I knew what I wanted, and I bookmarked all the best websites for hunting (and then, miracle of miracles, with the advent of Craigslist I abandoned all other sites).
Then, last fall, we started house hunting, and the entire lingo changed. Forced air natural gas heat, full basement, detached garage, .3 acres. Taxes, mortgage, neighborhood, school districts. When you’re looking for a place to hang your hat for more than a few months, it takes on so much more importance. A year later, we still haven’t found a house that suits our budget, desires, and best intentions for our as-of-yet unconceived children, despite countless Sunday mornings spent at open houses and countless more hours spent on real estate websites.
So it’s back to apartment hunting for the next place to spend a year of my life. The familiarity and impermanence of it is comforting. And confusing. And the inspiration for Where Will We Live Next?