Location, Location, Location

16 Jul

I picked up the keys to our new apartment today. It was a mix of excitement, nervousness, and relief. Relief because I was starting to fret over the application fees ($40-60 per apartment). Plus requests for pay stubs and tax returns, which are sitting inaccessible in my apartment in Oakland. My partner and I had to have the “what’s your credit score” conversation. And I was really confused that apartments here don’t come with a refrigerator.

In the 5 apartments I’ve lived in in the Bay Area, I don’t remember having to pay to apply, nor needing to supply my own fridge, nor having to provide copies of my bank statements. On the other hand, in all my years in the Bay, I also don’t remember ever seeing so many apartments that included two gated parking spaces, air conditioning, and a patio (priorities, right?).

Luckily for me and my partner, we got the first apartment we applied for. It’s just a plain box with white walls, tan carpet, and OC’s ubiquitous peach stucco. But, for me, the search was all about location. It came down to 2 main choices: live near the beach (which is the saving grace of OC) but in a whiter and more expensive community (e.g. Huntington Beach, 80% white) OR live near the train with cheaper apartments and more people of color (e.g. Santa Ana, 60% poc). We ended up compromising by moving to Costa Mesa (30% poc), an indistinct city of 100,000 people and 15 square miles (compared to Oakland’s 400,000 and 78 square miles) best known for its shopping mall (South Coast Plaza).

My apartment in Oakland was small but ideally located: near 3 BART stations, steps from Lake Merritt, blocks from Chinatown and work, and biking distance from 3 farmer’s markets. In OC, I tried to re-create my beloved Oakland neighborhood by creating an extensive Google map showing all the Trader Joe’s, 24 Hour Fitness Centers, public libraries, train stops, and farmer’s markets, and then trying to triangulate the perfect location.

How did we fare? For $1250/month, we are:
– 10 minute drive to the train station (yay public transit!)
– 10 minute jog to the gym
– 3 minute bike ride to Mother’s Market or 5 minute drive to Trader Joe’s
– About 3 miles from the beach

I know that OC doesn’t show up on anyone’s itinerary unless you have a pair of Mickey Mouse ears in your future, but please visit! We have a guest bedroom. And a guest bathroom (2 full bathrooms in a tiny apartment! Unheard of! Come visit!). Please bring me some of that Oakland warmth and I’ll show you around our patch of OC sunshine.

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11 Responses to “Location, Location, Location”

  1. Steve Lew July 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Congrats Priscilla! Noticed you didn’t plot out proximity’s to breakfast burritos, so good luck with that- maybe some good Korean places there? XX Steve

  2. vietnamita1 July 17, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    yay! i’ll come visit you next time I’m in OC!

    • cil1977 July 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      that would be so fun! and i’ll have to see you next time i’m in portland – probably within the next 12 months

  3. ronagirl9 July 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Congrats! Would love to come see the OC through your eyes. My cousin lives in Baldwin Park—-is that far from OC? I am fairly ignorant of LA geography. So excited for your transition! And hey if you dont’ mind having a baby around maybe we’ll come visit you and stay a couple nights! 😉

    • cil1977 July 22, 2011 at 11:11 am #

      Baldwin Park isn’t that close, but it is closer to OC than Oakland. 🙂 Yes, come visit. I love your baby, she’s always welcome. We can take her to the beach when she starts sitting up more and crawling.

  4. Wes! July 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    I’m sold 🙂 And SCP is always interesting to kill several hrs at people watching 😉

    • cil1977 July 22, 2011 at 11:12 am #

      I’m pretty sure you and I can amuse ourselves no matter where we are. I’ll have to tell you what Jason and I do when we people watch in OC…

  5. amsin July 22, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    definitely going to visit you guys. prepare your floor for me!

    • cil1977 July 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      floor??! hahaha….yes, even though we have a guest room with a bed, i will make you still sleep on my living room floor. i’m holding a spot for you. 2013?

      • amsin August 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

        or 2011!

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