Back in my early 20’s, I spent three years living in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.
In the eight years I’ve lived in London, I’ve experienced my fair share of rental oddities.
I can safely say I’ve never had a bad roommate, which has led me to the natural conclusion that I must be the terrible one to live with.
If you want a house that will ruin you for everywhere else you’ll ever live, go to a women’s college.
There was an infestation of squirrels in the home. Teeth marks still scarred the built-ins.
Having lived in New York City for nearly a decade (in six separate residences), I’m convinced that the only variety of New York apartment hunt is the soul-crushingly terrible one.
In Montreal, many apartments are floors of a former single-family home, and have stairs on the outside as a result. Our landlord liked to perch on this staircase, literally right outside of my window, and argue with various contractors.
I moved out of my parent’s house in the fall of 2005, and since then I have moved 19 times and had 10 different mailing addresses.
I never met the landlord at my first rental.
My first week in the U.S. was spent in the fog of jet lag, hormones, and tears that came with moving halfway around the world only to find that you kind of forgot to find somewhere to live. I spent a week going from one house to another with growing desperation, trying to choose between the woman who wanted me to sleep in her living room and the landlord who promised he’d finish the kitchen “soon” and forbade overnight guests. I found a good house, took the room, and came back to sign the lease the next day only to find that the toilet had been removed. Everything was awful, until Chris showed up, quietly carried all my bags up the stairs, built my bookcase, and put me with a minimum of fuss into a house of messy, friendly stoners.
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and de facto capital, $500 a month will get you a little room in a tin-roofed outbuilding. You’ll get above-average electricity, too. “Above average,” because you can expect frequent blackouts in Dar—that’s why most expats and well-off Tanzanians have standby generators. My studio doesn’t have a standby generator, but it is hooked into the electrical system of nearby Muhimbilli National Hospital. I don’t know how or why we get to siphon off their power, but the government does a pretty good job pumping watts into Muhimbilli. Even now, as the long dry season transitions into the short rains, and there’s no water in the hydroelectric dams.