Home. It's such an important place. My husband often teases me about my "nesting" habits, but if I don't feel good about space I spend the most time in every day, I just don't feel comfortable or settled in my life.
For those of you who don't know, we had a very short, two-week period to make our move in. It was sudden, but nothing we couldn't handle, we were sure. When we started discussing the move, apartment searching was one of the things I was most excited about. We were relocating to a metro area of 1 million people from a city of 150,000 people; there were sure to be amazing spaces for rent in Grand Rapids! This was also the perfect opportunity for selling our old furniture and buying new pieces. My creative mind was whirling with excitement and planning our space before we even found an apartment to rent!
Fast-forward two weeks, and we still hadn't found anywhere to live. We had to completely re-plan the whole move; instead of simply packing up our U-Haul and driving straight to the home we had thought would be ready and waiting for us, we decided to book a series of hotels and Airbnb apartments two weeks post-move, giving us plenty of time to search for the perfect apartment. We would simply take our cars and enough clothes to get through, and my gracious parents would drive our U-Haul with our remaining possessions a few weeks later. This was far from ideal, but it was our only option!
We arrived in the city and made the best out of our first hotel. After three nights, we were thrilled to leave the hotel and move into an Airbnb apartment. We imagined cooking each night instead of having to eat out constantly. We would have a couch, a TV, maybe a table to eat at, instead of just a bed. However, the reality of the apartment was much worse than we had planned on. The neighborhood was sketchy. We were kept awake each night by different neighbors yelling at each other for hours. There was mildew on our towels and mold in the bottom of the pots and pans. There was no air conditioning, and we couldn't even open a window because there were no screens.
Needless to say, we were VERY ready to move into our next hotel, which was designed for extended stays. We finally had a working kitchen (with clean utensils and pans), a table, and a huge window that poured light into our space. Now, we started apartment searching in earnest. We sifted through countless websites and Craigslist posts, growing increasingly discouraged as we found place after place that was too expensive, too big or too small, too ugly, too sketchy. There also weren't very many landlords who got back to our inquiries. We started getting nervous; ever since we had arrived in the city, we had heard how difficult it was to find an apartment because the renting market in Grand Rapids is so competitive.
Finally, we found an ad on Craigslist that seemed promising. The apartment was the upper in a two-unit house, and was only 1.5 miles away from Madcap, so Aaron could bike to work. The neighborhood was excellent (my top requirement after our Airbnb experience!), and there were even wood floors and air conditioning. We contacted the landlord, went to view the apartment a few hours later, and got approved for rental the next day. Praise the Lord! It was such a weight off our shoulders to finally have our apartment situation settled.
We moved in a week earlier than we had planned in Sioux Falls, meaning that we lived in an empty apartment with just an air mattress before my parents brought our things to us. We were so so so grateful to finally have furniture and clothes and ample kitchenware and decorative things again! It was bliss.
Now, Hacienda Clark feels like home. There are a few things that we can't change that we wish we could (the joys of having a rental!) and we have improvements and projects planned, but for now, we are content.