Over the past couple of years, Scott and I have made a number of difficult decisions. Many of them were clearly going to have major ramifications in our lives, and we didn't feel like we had enough information to confidently make any of them. In some cases, I would definitely decide differently if faced with the same decisions today, and in some cases, the outcome is still unclear.
But...one decision I feel strongly was the right one was where we chose to live this summer. We decided to spend two months in the US this summer, although it would mean a loss in pay for me. We chose my hometown--Chapel Hill, NC--both for the opportunity to spend time with my parents and grandma and for the access to a terrific university library for Scott. And amazingly, given the fairly short time frame we had to find a place to live, I think we picked the perfect place. We're renting a condo from someone who needed to be gone for the summer. It is the most spacious place Scott and I have lived in our nine years of marriage. It is within walking distance to the university library and all sorts of shops and restaurants, but not so centrally located that it gets noisy very often. It has a sunny front porch where I am keeping an Earthbox full of herbs and petunias my mom planted for me. It even has a screened-in back porch, something I always knew I wanted.
One "benefit" of having lived in so many places (and never having owned any of them) is that I've had the chance to test out all sorts of layouts and architectural features. Not every interesting quirk seems that great once you've lived with it for a while. Case in point is the bedroom skylight in one of our former apartments in Maryland. I thought it looked kind of cool when we moved in, but our bedroom was flooded with light during every full moon and night time thunderstorms seemed like a drum and lights show. Anyway, this perfect condo we are currently renting has two very small flies in the ointment for me to add to my list of things to try to avoid in my future home(s):
1. Kitchen cabinets with hinges on the top of the doors: These looked fairly innocuous when we first moved in. Then I tried to put dishes away the first time we ran the dishwasher, and slam!--the door fell on my arm. Now, I try to awkwardly prop these cabinets open with my left shoulder while guiding dishes in a few at a time with my right hand. I have seen Scott prop the cabinet open with his head, which looks extremely uncomfortable.
2. Bathroom door that slides out from the wall: The layout of the master bathroom is interesting. There is a sliding door that separates the master bedroom from a large room that contains two closets, two sinks on a large counter, a bath tub, a separate shower, and a tiny room with a toilet and its own sliding door. It seems that the intent of this bathroom layout is to allow two people to prepare for the day in the morning at the same time--an intent that seems somewhat defeated by the toilet room's (not sure what else to call it) sliding door that will not close. I think the toilet room was built with a sliding door instead of a door on hinges to decrease the risk of people accidentally hitting each other with the door. Personally, I'm not sure how important it is for two people to be able to utilize the same bathroom at one time, particularly since the condo has a second bathroom.
The screened-in porch, on the other hand, has turned out to be as wonderful as I'd hoped, and is definitely welcome in any future home(s) I might live in.