Monday, June 28, 2010

Searching for a Home...

Work took me to New York City for one month.

These are my stories.

I had no place to stay, I was quickly realizing. After contacting every single person I knew of who lived in or perhaps near NYC I was not having any luck finding a free place to crash. I had hoped to defer some of my cost for being in the city with a place to stay, but such was not to be my luck. My last great hope died when the lovely A said I could not stay at hers because she was moving, had plans, or traveling during all my dates.

With that I started looking on Craigslist for a place to sublet for my time in the city. Unlike Korea I don’t know a place where I can get a functional hotel room for three hundred dollars a month. I figured a hostel would be a cheap bet, but didn’t want to worry about constant switching of roommates or worries about leaving things in the room. Aside from that not having a kitchen and having to live on outdoor food for a month seemed like a really bad idea.

The Craigslist search was infuriating to say the least. For every ten ads I responded to I might get one reply, usually one or two word sentences, loaded with grammatical errors, or looking as if it had been sent for a cell phone, asking me the most random questions.  Just when I’d think I had a place something would sink it.

One guy, who had gone through all the trouble to do a video walking tour of his place, was nice but wanted way too much and had rented it out already starting at a date about four days before the end of my trip. In the end I almost considered it, but his asking price just seemed way too damned unreasonable to actually take it seriously so I let it go. This lead to an even more maddening search for a place to rend, and after another month of not finding anything I was starting to give serious thought to the girl who responded with a few words basically saying that I could stay there as long as I was not a smoker and had never associated with any smokers. I am not, by nature, a smoker, at least not at home, and said so. However I was honest that I do occasionally have friends who smoke and asked if that would be a problem. It was not.

Then comes an email from her that in order for her to hold the room for me I would need to send her a copy of my passport page. I thought this was odd. I told her so, but said I would get it too her as soon as I had a chance to get to a scanner. I asked to about the price and to see if there was any kind of deposit that maybe I should be aware of. She sent a message back, with more mistakes, and yet more confusing language to explain that I would need to pay a deposit. The deposit would be the same price as her asking price for the room. Then I would still have to pay the asking price for the room. Then I would get the deposit back at the end of the month, and would I also include a fifty dollar key payment, that I would also get back, but not until after I had paid the rent price. Basically she was asking me to pay twice what the room was with the promise that she would give me the money back. I was a little incredulous with that.

Having never been impressed with this particular girl I responded to some new ads in a last-ditch effort to see if I could find a place to stay. Of the three I got responses from all. The first was a no go because the place need someone to take it for two months. The second had already gone for June.

The last was being offered by a nice girl who had just finished her TESOL MA and who was heading back to the Ukraine. She thought it was interesting that I was in fact coming to New York to teach people how to teach English and after just a little talking I had found a room to stay in.

This was good news, the asking price was almost half of what I had seen for many places, there was no deposit, and from what I could tell she, being a student herself, had found the digs more than live-able for the last two years. Her roommate was a medical student who was doing rotations. With my schedule that was more than perfect as I’d be keeping pretty odd hours myself. There was in fact only one hitch to the perfection. She wouldn’t be leaving until the 1st of June, and I would be arriving on the 27th of May. I had a few days where I needed to work out exactly what I was going to do next. Whatever I worked out would have to hold me four roughly four days. At this point I was in Korea trying to make arrangements for what I was going to do.

By the time I left Korea and arrived in Chicago I still had no plan for the extra four days.

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