These past few months have certainly been devoid of frequent blog posts, and for those of you who check regularly, I apologize. It has turned out to be a much busier summer than I anticipated. Between my internship, job hunting, vacationing, and 1812 events - time seems to be flying by. Along with all these things, Doug and I moved into a new apartment in June.
When we first moved to London, we rented a house from a family who was spending a year in the States. They were friends of Doug's supervisor who put us in touch with them as possible tenants. We really lucked out with our living accommodations for our first year in Canada, and knew it was going to be a hard act to follow. Fortunately, this past year gave us a chance to learn the city and get an idea of which neighbourhoods we might want to live in.
We had been living in what's known as "Old North." This part of London was an ideal location for us, as it was easy walking distance to both campus and downtown. We were also close to public transportation, which made it a nice commute during inclement weather. We also liked that even though we were living in the city, we still had a 'neighbourhood' feel and could easily go out for a walk/run/bike ride. In fact we found ourselves only using our car once or twice a week - mostly to get out to Fanshawe Pioneer Village for my research assistantship (since unfortunately, the bus system doesn't reach there) or to pick up groceries.
There were a few things we looked for in a new place:
- Neighbourhood - Although we are both currently attend Western (though the end is near for me!), we aren't what you would call 'typical' college students, and so wanted to avoid any apartments or houses that were in the concentrated student area. (Nothing against college students - we both enjoyed our undergrad years, we're just an old married couple now and intend to live as such!) We wanted to be in a nice neighbourhood in London, conducive to evening walks and Saturday afternoon bicycle rides.
- Size - We have learned that for us one of the keys to a happy marriage is our own space. So we really wanted a two-bedroom place. Plus, with comprehensive exams coming up for Doug, and job hunting in my future (well, it's in my present too...) a home office was something we really wanted this time around. Sometimes you just need a door to close....
- Character - London is filled with great heritage homes and apartment buildings. Though this was definitely a 'want' and not a 'need', we did look for a place that had some character or history to it. We both hate moving, so wanted to find an apartment we could settle into for our next three or four years in London, so it had to be someplace we liked.
- Management - Do enough apartment hunting, and you'll start to get a feel for the type of people/company you want to rent from. We have really been spoiled with the places we have lived. Both the on-site manager in our Michigan apartment, and the family we rented from our first year in London were great. We wanted someone we felt comfortable with, and would make for a good living situation.
- Budget - Did I mention that we're both currently grad students, and I don't yet have a job lined up following graduation? So, yea - the price had to be right.
After a bit of a search, we finally found an apartment that we fell in love with. We have relocated to 'Old South' London in an area situated between the Wortley Village and SoHo neighbourhoods. The apartments were built in the 1940s and still retain a lot of the character from the time. We have great hardwood floors and crown moulding. (It also means we have a lot of quirks of old buildings, including windows that tend to stick in the humidity and no outlets in the bathroom.) Overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons and we love our new place. We are still learning our new neighbourhood, since previously we had spend most of our time in North London, but so far we really like it. We're walking distance from down town and have easy access to bike trails. Plus, there is a bus stop with a line that leads directly to Western just outside our door - which is ideal for Doug.
At this point we are pretty much settled, with only a few purchases left on our apartment 'wish list' but it's getting there. Visitors are always welcome!