We started our day with a hearty breakfast--Ken enjoyed "Egg in Toast" while I built an egg sandwich out of a cinnamon raisin English muffin, an over-easy egg and two thin slices of honey ham. I savored every bite. After breakfast, Ken worked on his Physics assignment while I spent time preparing physically and mentally for the day ahead. Searching for a new place to live could be draining and I needed to be in the best frame of mind. So I did what seemed most appropriate at the time--I primped, I straightened and I painted three coats of long-last polish in my favorite shade. As I reclined on the couch, painting my nails with such focused attention, I realized that we had about five minutes before we needed to leave. Blast. At that point, it was a free-for-all. I wanted the perfect outfit. I needed to look great as we presented ourselves to the housing managers. Clothes started to fly. Nine minutes later, I was ready. We headed out the door and started with our first prospect, Apt. #1. Located on a side street off a busier intersection, it was close to the school and within walking distance to a shopping district. The man who greeted us as the building manager had a European accent, similar to my friend from the Ukraine. He explained to us that he had just received a deposit on the apartment we had come to see. First strike. There was a second apartment, but it was about $100 more. Since we were there, we decided to see the apartment that was no longer for sale because another one similar to it was soon becoming available. An adorable little boy greeted us at the door, but as we entered, I started to feel a little nauseous. The apartment smelled strongly of urine mixed with rotten food. Strike two. My gag reflexes kicked in and I anxiously shifted from room to room while Ken discussed prices with the manager. We moved on to another unit. It was OK but I couldn't get that smell out of my head. It was following me. Third strike.
Our next apartment was a nicer experience. The building manager was a sweet woman probably in her late 20s and she greeted us promptly as we pulled up to the apartment. It was a ground floor unit with windows looking out onto the street. The light was incredible. Yet, the view was less than desirable. Passersby could see straight into the unit and that made me feel uneasy. Since the unit was located a few blocks from the University, it felt awkward with so much foot traffic and plus, we'd need to keep the blinds closed anytime we wanted privacy. It also lacked sufficient storage space. While the living room and kitchen were a great size, the kitchen fridge was teeny and the bathroom tiny. Strike one and two, but still a potential. We liked this place the most (not hard to beat that first one I suppose) but after discussing the pro's and con's, Ken and I decided to keep looking before making a hasty decision.
We were 15 minutes late to our third prospect. I initially looked up the wrong address on our GPS, so it was a relief when we found the right street. Ken commented on how stunning the view was from the neighborhood. You could see Lake Washington and the bridge connecting downtown Seattle to Bellevue. All the properties around us looked well-maintained, with perfectly landscaped yards. There were no apartment buildings in sight. Hmm, we thought to ourselves. "Let me see that address," Ken said to me, as I pulled up his notepad. Lost--we were lost again. How unfortunate. For some reason, the GPS guided us to the correct street but miles away from our intended destination. When we reached the actual apartment complex, it was easy to be disappointed. The holes in the window screens and the half-built wooden space divider between the bedroom and the living room, paled in comparison to the condition of the cabinets. I opened them up and instantly felt like I was going to find crawling creatures. The apartment did have a certain rustic charm to it but we could get that same feel if we lived on my grandmother's dilapidated farm house on Maui--it'd be safer, cheaper and in a tropical paradise. That apartment was obviously not an option.
After viewing Prospect #4, we decided to get more strategic in our search. We developed a system. Ken drove through various neighborhoods near the school and then I'd call the apartment manager's phone number whenever we saw the words "Vacancy." I probably got 4-5 answering machines. At that point, we were both exhausted from not finding the place we had in mind when we had started out the day. We wanted a safe, comfortable, reasonable apartment in a nice neighborhood--close to the school, but also far enough away to feel like we're not in the middle of the busy college district. Was this an unreasonable request? Right around this time in our search, I fell asleep and awoke to Ken asking me if I wanted "frozen custard." What a treat, I thought to myself as we shared a cup of fresh churned frozen custard. It tasted like frozen yogurt but creamier, just like how Gelato tastes like ice cream but richer. That sugar perk woke me up enough for the drive home. When we arrived at our doorstep, I was beat. I felt like I had applied for several jobs back-to-back and found out (through the interview process) that even if I qualified, the job wasn't right for me. It didn't have what I needed or all the things I had hoped for initially. How disappointing. Once we were home, I curled up under the covers in bed while Ken continued the search for housing online. I prayed quietly for all the things that were most important to me in a new apartment. In Matthew 7, Jesus says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find." I realized today that Ken and I are being obedient to God when we trust in Him--not forsaking the active role we can take in looking for places but understanding that God is the One who knows what is best for us and He will provide according to His goodness. I needed to verbally affirm that God was in control of the situation. In bed, I shared with God my desires for this next place we live. I felt at peace and fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke, Ken asked me to come and see two places he found for us to try next. I'm excited to explore those options with him.
I'll let you all know how it goes. I know that God is at work in our situation. It's this trust that allows us to freely explore the possibilities--"the good, the bad and the smelly."