I live here now.
In San Francisco. On the other side of the country, and basically the other side of the world.
The first day here I had orientation, followed by moving my life out of a trailer and into a storage unit, followed by an interview, followed by class. I slept better that night than I had in weeks. Since then I've sent out numerous emails of desperation in response to Craigslist ads looking for roommates.
I've done this before, I've lived with strangers, and it's turned out alright. But that was in a city that I was familiar with. Though, I did start getting responses, probably one for every four I wrote, and finally saw several places this weekend.
Before I arrived here, I had done some research as to where I figured I would end up living, based on cost and proximity to my school. One area, Ingleside, proved to be much farther, and depressing than I thought it would be. There really isn't anything there, save for the occasional corner store and BART station. I saw two rooms there. The first was in a house that was shared with three gay men - all of my dreams about living with gay men were crushed upon seeing this house. It was messy, and dirty, and there was a craft project taking over the kitchen table, and while the room I would have been living in was okay, I wouldn't have been able to deal with the rest. The second house was shared with two chicks of ambiguous sexual orientation. This house, like the first was also messy and cluttered, and the girls were far too laid back.
I am not laid back. I like things to be done, and in an orderly fashion. Thing have places, and they should be in their places.
Another room was in an apartment in The Mission, a neighborhood I like, a lot, and have stayed in on a previous trip. I saw this room with two other people, one of which left at the same time I did. As we were walking down the stairs he turned to me and said, "that place was a shithole. I can't live somewhere like that!" Indeed.
There are a few other students in my very situation. All of us are new in town and many are new to this country. One had mentioned that he and a friend of his were looking and invited me to potentially live with them. The apartment they had chosen was in The Haight, right on Haight Street across from a park. It was a corner unit, and all the windows had decorative stained glass along the top. It was small, but sunny, and so beautiful, and so expensive. Part of me wishes I hadn't looked at it at all, just because now I know exactly what I'm missing. But I'm sure they'll find someone to rent it with them.
The room I've settled for isn't in a beautiful art-deco building, but it is quaint, and clean, and tidy. AND it's not full of clutter. I may collect books and records, but do you know how easy it is to dust around those things compared to nicknacks? And do you know how much I hate dust? I hate it, a lot. This apartment will be easy clean! Above all else though is the location, it's in the Inner-Richmond (of course I'll be living in Richmond, I just can't escape it) and close to the Presidio and Golden Gate parks, and just a short bus ride from downtown.
I'm so excited. I'll have a real place to live in a week!