A new home away from home

“Hi, my name is Amy and I still live in my parents’ basement.” This is something most people my age would be embarrassed about, but not me. After I graduated from college, I moved back home, and I’ve been there for a little over a year. The plan was to move out once I found a job and started saving money. I’ve been employed for over a month now, and the apartment hunt is well underway. As exciting as it is to move out and start my own life, it’s daunting at the same time.

I applaud my parents for the way they raised me, but at the same time, I feel like they coddled me too much. There are huge gaps in my knowledge: what cleaning products to use for certain tasks, cooking elaborate dishes, car stuff (payments, insurance, etc.), finances and more. I know there’s going to be a significant learning curve once I move out and gain full control over my life. It’s going to be confusing and frustrating, and I’ll continue to rely on my family for support during this adjustment period. I’m sure my mom will receive dozens of trivial-question-based phone calls.

Moving out is like a when a baby bird jumps out of the nest to learn how to fly. Does the baby bird want to jump? Absolutely not. There’s the fear of falling to its death. However, with encouragement from mama and papa bird, the baby starts flapping its wings, and when it finally jumps natural instinct kicks in and the baby bird soars.

“To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own.” 

I know without a doubt that I’m ready to strike out on my own, but that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous for the first step. This Saturday I’ll be touring three apartments. There are several factors that I’m looking for in an apartment – things I need/want and things I want to avoid.

  • Be within 30 minutes of where I work, so my morning commute isn’t awful.
  • Have an in-unit washer/dryer, so I don’t have to leave my apartment to do laundry. I do not want to have to drag a heavy bag of clothes to a laundry facility or worse, a Laundromat.
  • Top-notch security is a must. Since this is my first time living alone, I want to feel safe in my new home.
  • On-time fulfillment of maintenance requests is crucial. Most places I’m looking at have 24/7 emergency maintenance, which is very reassuring.
  • I’m neutral about apartment floor plans. I don’t need excessive space – a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room is more than enough.
  • Finally, living without a roommate(s) will inevitably result in higher rent, which is why I’m shooting for rent between $500 – $750.

apartments

I pray that I choose the best place for my budget, lifestyle, and location. That is why I’ll be visiting each place with a list of prepared questions, so when I go back to create pro/con lists, they will be honest and thorough. I want to move into my new home knowing exactly what to expect in terms of security, maintenance, neighbors, staff, noise, and utilities. Hopefully, the important people in my life, who will be involved in this decision, will offer words of wisdom during this extensive process.

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Game night and ice-cream

Introducing your S/O to your family is daunting, but so is introducing him to your friends. It’s important he gets along with the most important people in your life. If he doesn’t, it can present huge obstacles later on. My boyfriend passed the family test less than six months into our relationship, and he’s spent multiple occasions with them since. However, it wasn’t until a couple days ago that he met one of my best friends. I can’t believe it took almost a year and a half to coordinate this meeting, but we can finally cross it off.

For a little backstory, there was a reason I was nervous about this meeting. We all know guy/girl friendships are complicated, especially when one or both parties are in romantic relationships. Early on my boyfriend and I got into a heated argument about this friendship. When we resolved it, we concluded that neither of us handled it in the best way. I should’ve worked harder to set up a time for them to meet, but since I didn’t my boyfriend felt uncomfortable and shut out.

My friend lives in St. Louis and sporadically visits KC and my boyfriend lives an hour away, so coordinating a meeting time wasn’t easy. Finally, timing matched up. Saturday, July 8, my friend was in town during a day my boyfriend came to visit. Choosing what to do was difficult. I didn’t want my single friend to feel like a third wheel, so I involved my family – pizza and game night. When my friend showed up at the house, I anxiously introduced them. Like men do, they shook hands.

After dinner, the five of us, my siblings included, gathered in the basement and dug into a pile of games. We started with Phase 10, a complex card game. Next, we switched to Bananagrams, a freestyle version of Scrabble. The fun part of this vocabulary-based game was the fierce competition between my friend and my brother. They were both quick thinkers, so the game moved as fast as their minds. The healthy competition sparked laughter and shouting during both games.

After several rounds of Bananagrams, we took an ice-cream break, and then started a board game called Loaded Questions. This was the perfect game because the objective was to learn more about other players. Surprisingly, my brother ended up winning even though I was ahead for most of the game. Our final game was Apples to Apples – the adult version. Two differences between the kid and adult versions were contemporary nouns on the red cards and two adjectives to choose from on each green card. We played to five green cards, and my boyfriend ended up dominating us all.

After four games we were all exhausted. After we finished Apples to Apples it was after 11 p.m. The five of us ended up talking/sharing stories until close to 1 a.m. I was shocked my siblings stayed up so late. I guess when you’re exchanging fart stories… it’s difficult to not be entertained.🙄 At 1 a.m. my boyfriend and I drove my friend back to his Dad’s apartment and said our goodbyes.

As fulfilling as the night had been, I was sad it was so late. My boyfriend left at 1:30 a.m., and I was left wishing we could’ve had more alone time. However, I knew it was worth it because he met my friend and spent more time with my siblings. It was even worth waking up with a horrendous migraine the following morning after not going to bed until 4 a.m. – don’t ask.

I spent the next day recovering from my migraine with movies, R&R, and caffeine. During the day I kept having a recurring thought from the night before. During the argument we’d had about my best friend back in January, I was fighting to keep the friendship the same. After Saturday night, I realized the likelihood of the friendship lasting isn’t very high. In that moment, I realized I’d survive if it ended. He and I have been friends for 10+ years, but the reason I’d be okay if the friendship didn’t last is that I have a new best friend – the man I’m dating.

“There’s a reason BF stands for boyfriend and best friend. They should be one in the same.”