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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The next step in my saga - I moved from Maryland to Virginia and into my own apartment!

Let me just say, over and over again, how lucky I am. My family has helped me at every step along the way and they're still helping.

I finally admitted to myself that the research business isn't going to support me anytime soon. So, I had to adjust my goals and adjust all of my thinking along with it. If I wasn't going to rely on the research business, I really had to be living somewhere where I could get other work, and get to other work. I still want to be able to get to Washington, DC to do research, but if its not my main source of income I just need to be able to get there and back in the same day, with enough time in between to do research.

There were a couple of big factors in trying to find a place to live in DC that were pretty daunting. One was that its a very expensive place to live and the other was that I didn't know the area and I was concerned about finding a safe place to live. Once I started to think about a few trips to DC a month rather than a daily commute, I could look at places that were less expensive and safer. I decided that one way to look around for places that were easy to make that trip from was to use the Amtrak schedules. So, I started playing with the website - looking to see which cities outside of Washington had Amtrak service that would allow me to get in and out of the city on the same day. As I came up with a list of places, I'd search the web on each place and see what I could find out about the town. I don't have a car and I didn't want to be in a position where I had to buy one, so I wanted to live somewhere where I could walk and where there was some local public transit.

After looking around a bit and conferring with some friends and family who live or have lived in some of these places, I came up with one really good candidate - Fredericksburg, VA. I was able to check crime reports, look at lists of apartments for rent, read the daily newspaper, and look at maps. It had the additional benefit of being about an hour from where one of my sisters lives outside of Richmond and of being right on an Amtrak line. From Fredericksburg I can get a train to Richmond to see my sister, a train to Wilmington, DE or Philadelphia to visit my mom or my friends, and even a train to Norfolk to visit a favorite aunt (who is 93). It was only after I'd been looking around for a while that I realized that there's another commuter rail line that runs into DC and is less expensive than Amtrak.

Finally my sister and I spent a few hours there on a couple of different days, figuring out where things were and how I'd get around. We even looked at one apartment. We spent that weekend in Pennsylvania at my mom's house and by the time we were headed back south I had an appointment to see 2 more apartments. My mom came along and we were able to show her the apartments and the city. All of us were sure that this could be the right place, but we couldn't really get excited about the apartments we'd seen so far. About a week later, another apartment was listed and we really liked this one.

With help from my sister and brother-in-law, I was able to get the apartment and moved in on April 1. We acquired some furniture from the prior tenant and I have more furniture to come from my sister's and mom's houses. I've started looking for work and doing all of those little things to get used to my new home. I've still got a ways to go, but things are definitely looking up.
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