Sunday, August 3, 2014
So, a friend posted this on Facebook on July 29, and the words stuck in my mind. Not in a, "Yes! Totally!" kind of way. Just in a, "Hmmmm" kind of way.
The pressure of not knowing where we would be living in the next couple weeks had been mounting. That Sunday, I'd gone to church feeling heavy and just... unplugged. Frustrated. Sad. Discouraged. When were we going to know what our next step was? When was Rey going to get a job?
By the time church was over (I'd been completely inside my own heart and mind throughout the service), I was wondering if the answer was: "This IS what your next step looks like." In other words, budget with what you have. Don't lie awake at night, hoping the phone rings the next day--thereby changing the status of your wallet. Plan on it staying like this.
Ugh. Hard thoughts. Because, you see. I am not an "apartment" person. I am a big house, big yard, have people over and do projects kind of person. At least in my mind. So, ever since we began packing for San Antonio--I had set in my mind "this apartment thing" would be a 3-month stint, tops... and then we would move on to our "real" life.
Well, that plan was messed up when we were unable to find an affordable 3-month lease, and ended up signing an affordable 6-month lease. "Ok, fine", I thought. "Six months-ish. And then... outta here!". I didn't mentally fully unpack at this apartment. "We're not decorating, we are not unpacking everything (many things are still in storage)... we are just camping out here!"
The summer has been long and hard. I strongly dislike not being able to just "send the kids out to the yard" to play, and the constant vigilance necessary living in a second-floor unit. Oh, did I mention second floor? Think: Pregnancy, groceries, safety... Noe has fallen down the concrete steps once. Not a fan.
So, as I mulled over the possibility of our guidance being that we were to plan to stay in another 2-bedroom apartment situation for now... I thought about: What kind of apartment situation could I physically bear for another 6 months? Of course, the most important thing for now is that we would find one in a good school district.
But, I also felt like if I could have these things... I could do it:
-an attached garage (to make into a "yard" for the kids... with a little trampoline, soccer goals, whatever).
-some more square footage.
So, with those parameters in mind (and after talking to my man), I went full-force into apartment searching. I found several great options at lower prices... and spend a couple days researching and on the phone with various places. It was during this time (Tuesday), that the quote at the top popped up on my Facebook newsfeed.
Wednesday morning, the kids and I went to look at our number #1 contender for next Sanchez residence. It was affordable... It had an ATTACHED, 2-stall garage (!!!), about 300 more square feet (!!!), two bathrooms (!!!), good school district... I mean-- hello! :) The school district was over in a more congested area of the city, but good nonetheless... so I was ok with that.
We went back home, and I began working on paperwork for that place. Which is when I came across the news: Though the apartments were affordable, we did not qualify based on our income. Major blow.
I had talked to an area realtor the day before who was going through different area apartments--telling me pros/cons and which ones she would avoid. She mentioned one apartment, that was in the area that we were actually looking to buy a house in originally, but said she would avoid it. She listed out all of the bad qualities--and then mentioned, "They are a part of that government thing where a certain percentage of their tenants receive lower lease rates based on their income." Little did she know, that was actually a "pro" in our books.
With very low expectations, I loaded the kids back up into the van and drove over to this other apartment complex. Let me back up and say: Very few days go by that the kids are not asking me when we can move to a bigger place. When can we have our own yard. When can we have friends over--like our other place?? The big change has been so hard on them--which is why I also thought, "An attached garage might help them feel like they are in a bigger place." So, I was very concerned that once the kids saw we were considering another apartment, they would have a hard time adjusting to it.
Rey and I like nature, and areas that are naturally beautiful and not super city-fied or congested. As I drove to the apartment, I realized it was in a more forested, undeveloped area and loved that. The apartments are at the end of a dead-end road (that ends in a big, grassy field with trees). We pulled into the complex, and the entrance was full of beautiful gardens, so much so that Noe shouted, "This is the one, mom!" Awww. That made me feel so much better!
We went into the office and began talking. They did indeed have leases for lower-income families. They actually had 2 units opening up. One that we could have as of August 18 (did I mention school starts on the 25th?). All good news. Sad news? Second floor again. Less square footage again. One bathroom again. My heart was sinking, but then again--I knew we were out of other options.
I asked them to show us an apartment, and they did... and the kids said it was great (even though it was so much smaller than the first one we'd seen in the morning)... and I picked up the paperwork to begin filling out the lease!
I must confess... that afternoon and night were long and hard for me. I felt like I was signing up for something I couldn't do... My last weeks of pregnancy on a second floor?? (Of course, we were on the 3rd floor when I was pregnant with Aleni... but still!). No garage? No extra living space?? Hauling a newborn with all that equipment up and down the stairs every day...? Groceries?? I was looking into the future, and it was looking hard. I cried a lot. Couldn't stop. Couldn't sleep.
But, you know what? In the time since we've been processing this decision and moving forward with it--I have felt such joy and peace about it. I feel like it's "right" in so many ways, and I feel my spirit awakening in ways I haven't felt it in a long time. Learning to embrace what I refused to even think about before is amazing, actually. And, God is reminding me of the beauty of being uncomfortable--which is something I know I've grown away from in the last months, years. In discomfort, or embracing "different than planned", I believe... lies adventure, growth, new joys.
I will write more about all that God is speaking to me in this process-- but, for now... we are filling boxes again... and it's a great thing.
Another quote of Katie's that I find so good at this moment:
Oh! And another thing: We are so apartment people. ;)