- My parents' house on Long Island. Old house, built in the 1920's I think, the floors creak and the heaters whistle. There's a huge maple tree out front; it's the last big tree left on the block because everyone uses all kind of chemicals on their lawns that slowly killed the rest of the trees. My mom's philosophy on lawn care is: "If God wanted the grass to be green, he'd make it rain." I'm sure the neighbors love them.
- The dorm. I lived in apartment 3C of the Furness Dorm at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The main building of UArts is Hamilton Hall, a big neoclassical building on Broad Street with big white steps and pillars and a huge open hall with offices off of the sides and a couple of classrooms in the building somewhere. Tacked onto the back of Hamilton Hall is a building that used to be an insane asylum. That's the Furness Dorm. There were only two dorms at that time, I think they have more now. There were four of us in a room intended for 3; you could totally tell which three of us were carefully matched and which one was thrown in at the last minute.
- My sophomore year I moved into an apartment BY MYSELF, about a block away. It was a horrible mess, and I still think back with regret about how AWESOME an apartment it was and could have been if I had just taken the time to clean it up and put some nice things in it. But it was home and I loved it and I lived there for 3 years.
- Next I moved down to New Orleans (West Bank). Brian had already been down there for about a year when I graduated and joined him. The first place we lived together was a beautiful one-bedroom apartment with high ceilings and a loft. It was gorgeous, but too small for us. And really expensive to keep air-conditioned, thanks to the high ceiling and tall windows.
- After we got married, we moved into base housing (in Belle Chasse). Brand new; we were the first ones who lived there. It was laid out like a Philadelphia row home, but bigger. We had an end unit, so we only shared a wall on one side. We had three bedrooms but only needed one; it was amaaaaaaazing. There's always a down side, though; the yard was a swamp. Oh, and we were a New Yorker and a Philadelphian living in the deep south. That's never a good thing.
- From New Orleans, we moved to Hawaii. First we lived in an apartment in Kailua. It was two blocks off the beach, and ten minutes from the driveway to the parking lot at the Marine Corps Base Commissary. (It was considerably closer to the beach than the house where the Obamas stay when they're in Hawaii. They stay closer to the Marine Base.) The cons? It was a one-bedroom shack on top of a garage. The family who rented the house that the garage belonged to was AWFUL. I won't even get into it here because it would take forever to explain it all. But they were loud and rude and did way more laundry than one would expect from a family of four. (We had to share the washer & dryer with them.) Also there was no air conditioning and the oven wasn't properly insulated - I burned myself on it once. The outside of it. After it had been turned off for an hour.
- The base housing we lived in in Hawaii was my favorite place I've ever lived. If only we'd had that house, in the location of our apartment in Kailua, it would have been perfect. Again with the high ceilings, but Hawaii isn't as hot and humid as New Orleans, and also, we didn't have to pay the electric bill this time. Built-in garage; yard full of weeds where nothing else would grow (grrrr); unit attached on only one side again - but quiet neighbors this time; playground across the street; walking distance to drug store, ice cream, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Taco Bell, and the bank. (And Target, which opened one month before we left, sigh.) Gorgeous beaches a short drive in any direction. Very close to the hospital where both of my babies were born. No neighbors behind us, just the golf course.
- Now I live on the 5th floor of a 9-floor apartment building (8 apartments per floor) that looks exactly like the rest of the apartment buildings on base. We're right in the middle of everything, across the street from the Commissary (grocery store) on one side, the Elementary school on another, the gym on a third side, and Tokyo Bay on the fourth. We have a gorgeous view from our living room window; or at least it's gorgeous when the weather is nice. Most of the time it's just gray. Three bedrooms, 2 baths (one with a shower, one with a tub), decent kitchen, pretty big living room/dining room area. It's harder to keep the kids' toys out of the living area when there aren't stairs to carry them down from their rooms so there's stuff EVERYWHERE. I kind of hate having to take the elevator to take out the trash and walk 3 blocks to the post office to check the mail, but I do like the apartment. I like the way I've decorated it - crazy colorful and bright, with lots of big, colorful wall decals. Living in Japan, though? Eh, I could take it or leave it. There are things I miss about America and things I'll miss about Japan when we leave. I'm finally used to it, though.
- Next...? Who knows.
5 hours ago