Saturday, August 19, 2006

Casa de Cristobal

A year ago today, I moved in to my apartment. I had just picked it out about two weeks earlier, during a frenzied whirlwind apartment-hunting trip after accepting the Rocket Mobile position. I pulled up to the curb in my Saturn, filled to the brim with the bare necessities for the next week (computer, stuffed monkey, sprinkles, blankets, etc.), signed a few final bits of paperwork, and then moved in.

Moving in to a new place always feels great to me; everything is open to new possibilities. I sort of mentally mapped out where everything would go once my mover arrived, and dumped my temporary belongings accordingly.

I hadn't looked at a ton of places before, but there was a lot I liked about Creekside, in addition to its reasonable-for-California rent. The landscaping was attractive, the balconies seemed highly appropriate for the climate, I had everything I really wanted in terms of apartment features and amenities, and the people I met seemed friendly.

I am now absolutely amazed at all the wonderful aspects of my apartment complex which I hadn't even considered when I first moved in. First of all was the fact that a light rail station would open a few months later. This has been a wonderful asset to me, both a good alternative for visiting other places and a crucial component of my airport trips. Perhaps even more significantly was discovering I was only a short distance away from the Los Gatos Creek Trail, a great artery that proved crucial in prodding me to start cycling to work.

In general, I think the location has been a good fit for me. I'm close enough to work to enjoy a short commute (either by car or bike), but am far enough north to feel close to downtown San Jose and San Francisco, plus if I ever need to look for work again I'll be closer to the nexus of tech jobs. And it's a reverse commute, which I am very grateful for on the days I drive. Albertson's has closed, but I am still very close to a Whole Foods, and have very convenient access to a Rotten Robbie's, several good taquerias, the local library (temporarily closed for renovation), and last but not least, Fry's Electronics.

To be honest, I haven't gotten very deeply plugged in to my apartment community; I've attended a few social events, but only know the names of my immediate neighbors and a few others of the 200 or so units at Creekside. Still, I do like the people. Even if I don't really know them well we exchange smiles, which goes a long way for me. And it's a place of refreshing diversity: young children and older grandparents, handicapped people, African immigrants, Hispanics, college students, and people who look kind of like me.

And management has been good to me. The two people who were here when I first signed are still around; I have become their personal hero by fixing some printer issues they've had in their office. Late last year the complex was bought by KW-MSK San Jose LLC, but they kept the same personnel in place and have made some nice renovations including new paint and an upgraded clubhouse. The downside, of course, is that my rent is going up next month: it's only a slight increase, but psychologically, it's going to be very difficult to start writing four-digit rent checks. Still, I haven't given any serious thought to leaving. I really like it here, it'd be a huge pain to move everything again, it would be hard to find another place that suits me as well, and there's no way I'll be able to afford a house for the next decade or so.

That's another interesting thing - this is the first time I have ever renewed an apartment lease. Put in another way: this will be the first time since 1999 that I have lived at the same address for more than one year. Pretty crazy, huh? Part of that has been the chaos of my life, going to college and then two jobs before this one; part of it was general discontent with the first few apartments I had after graduation. While there are plenty of good reasons for me to stay put here, part of me wonders if this is partially due to the fact that the concept of living in California is just more appealing to me than the concept of living in Missouri or Kansas.

Be that as it may. My apartment has been my home for the last year, and I look forward to continuing to live here. It's one of those things I can point to and say, sometimes things turn out better than I ever thought they could.


  1. You have a great place there! A whole year - wow. Glad to see that you plan to renew your lease. I know someone who considers this your best apartment ever ...

  2. I recently saw the apparent of a new English teacher south of me. The kitchen and entryway are one room, there's a bath and toilet next tot the kitchen, and then on larger sleeping/living room. It was pretty shocking. I complain about my giant spiders and crusty walls but at least I've got two stories.

    Chris, someday I aspire to your level of apartment living. In the mean time I'll keep paying my hundred a month and endure the little annoyances.

  3. awwww, happy anniversary =) you know what I think the subject of your next post should be...