Friday, October 19, 2007

Should I stay or should I go?

In February I moved into a unit in Sydney's inner west. The circumstances of my moving were stressful - I returned from an overseas trip needing to move quickly, so I didn't have time to be picky. I ended up doing well to get a 2-bedroom place with laundry, balcony and garage for $250 a week (it's about 15-20 mins from the hospital by bus). I live alone, so the second bedroom is a study, which is very handy for this med student!

However there is a problem - I HATE it here. I'm so unhappy here. And so I think it's time to move.

Reasons for moving

Too much information: It's a ground floor unit. I can hear everything that goes on in the unit above, and by that I mean I can hear every time they use the toilet. Not just the flushing - the actual USING of the toilet.

Other noise: Being on the ground floor, there's a fair amount of noise from outside too - for example, when people come home late at night, I get woken by them talking as they walk past my place to the main doors.

Traffic noise: The street didn't seem that busy to begin with, but because my place is opposite another street, I get the cars that turn the corner and then accelerate, loudly. Hoons with doof doof music and WRXs seem to love my street, as do motorcyclists.

Earplugs: Since moving in, there are very few nights where I haven't worn earplugs to bed. That is no way to live! (And they don't even work that well anyway.)

Smoker: Someone in the unit next door is a smoker. They smoke on their balcony. Their balcony is beside my laundry, which is beside my kitchen. When this idiot smokes, it wafts in through my laundry and kitchen windows, and my whole unit stinks of smoke. I'm not kidding. It's disgusting.

Mental health: The second bedroom, or study, is beside the main entry doors to the unit block. People are constantly coming and going. The room also looks out on the driveway, so I get cars going up and down. It's noisy and distracting, and I find it impossible to study here. In the 2 weeks before my recent exams, I relocated to Mum's place while she was overseas, so that I could study in peace and quiet. If that option hadn't been available, I think I may have had a nervous breakdown prior to the exams. (Hey, maybe I should've done that and gone for special consideration!)

Wildlife: I had major exams last week, over 2 full days. On the night in between, I was preparing for bed when I heard a scratching, banging sound on my bedroom window. I have security screens, and the window was closed. I opened the blinds and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. First, I saw a bogong moth caught between the window and the screen, flying up and down. But that couldn't have been making the noise. My eyes adjusted further, and I saw it - a RAT outside, chasing the moth up and down the security screen. OH MY GOD. (Most people I've told this story to have had the same reaction: MOVE. NOW.) I banged on the window and the rat fell off into the bushes. Strangely, I didn't freak out, although I couldn't sleep straight away, so I kept studying. (I don't think the extra study made a difference to my exam performance, unfortunately.)

Dodgy neighbours: Last week I was sitting at the computer in the afternoon, about 4pm. I heard something smash in the stairwell. I had a look through the peephole in my front door and saw the 30-something guy from the unit upstairs picking up something that he'd dropped. I thought nothing of it and sat back at my desk. Next thing, I saw the guy walk past my window, on his way to the garbage bins. Except he wasn't walking - he was stumbling, and obviously completely pissed. About half an hour later I went outside to get the mail. As soon as I opened my front door, I got a big whiff of alcohol (bourbon I think), and then I spotted massive shards of glass all over the stairwell. The drunken moron hadn't picked up most of the broken glass! I was furious, but didn't want to confront him if he was drunk. And I didn't want to hurt myself picking it up. So I wrote a note and stuck it to the front door, warning other residents about the glass, and asking for "whoever did this" to clean it up immediately before someone hurt themselves. It was never cleaned up, and my note had disappeared by the next morning. Ugh. Yesterday (one week later), the cleaners were there, and they were not at all impressed to be cleaning up broken glass. Thankfully it's all gone now. Dodgy bastard.

Strange sound: Every day, at various times during the day, but mostly in the early evening, I hear a strange sound emanating from a unit upstairs (can't work out which one it is). It sounds like someone is releasing pressured air from a tyre. It's very loud, and it drives me insane because I don't know what it is, why it's happening, and why I have to hear it every day. My rare moments of peace and quiet here are often shattered by this incredibly loud sound. Oh - there it goes again. How's the serenity?

Memories: It hasn't been a happy year for me (for several reasons - not just because of this place), so I'd love to get out of here and make a fresh start.

Short lease: When I moved in, the agents insisted on a 32-week lease, for some bullshit financial records reason that I will not attempt to understand. I was worried because I thought they might raise the rent at the first opportunity. The lease was up nearly 4 weeks ago, and I haven't heard a peep from them. So the ball's in my court now - I can look for somewhere new to live, and I can afford to be picky.

Reasons for not moving

Rental market: The market is worse now than it was at the beginning of the year. There's no way I'll find somewhere with the same features as this place, for the same price. But that's OK. I'll pay a bit more to move closer to the hospital, to a place with everything I want and need.

Moving sucks: Packing is horrible, and the whole thing takes time. And money.

Money: I'm a poor student, earning OK money but generally just getting by. Moving can be expensive, and I'll definitely feel the pinch if I have to pay significantly higher rent.

Gym: I currently live less than a 5 minute walk from my gym. If I move, I'll have to drive there (or find a new gym), which will require a LOT of motivation. I do love the gym though, so I think I can handle it.

Time: Finding somewhere to live, and then moving, takes time. I'm currently studying for more exams, and trying to work. Do I really need to add something else to my busy schedule?

Party: I'm having a "housewarming" party next weekend - ha! It took me long enough! Hopefully it'll be a party celebrating the fact that I'm moving out.

There are definitely more reasons for moving, so it's time to get started. I've found about 15 places to inspect tomorrow. And I've got up until the end of November to find somewhere, so that I can give notice and then move before Christmas. After that, I'll have to wait until late January to start looking, by which time I'll be back at uni 5 days a week.

Wish me luck!