Monday, April 26, 2010

In Search of Perfection

When you move to a new city, you take many leaps of faith into the real estate market. The neighborhoods are unfamiliar and there's only a vague idea of real estate prices. The first time around, we got a recommendation from a friend who was from Mexico City, and fortunately, the colonia we ended up in was a good one. We *heart* La Roma! We're blocks away from the super, the tianguis, restaurants, the subway, buses, and taxi stand. Let's face it, in Mexico City, it can be super tricky to find a suitable place, and with lax zoning laws, you could end up next to an all-night cumbia lounge.

Now that we're staying (oh yeah, we were supposed to leave Mexico this summer), we decided to find a new apartment. We made a list of ten must-haves -- of the most important, our new place needed to be cheaper, quieter, and with a rooftop perch. In a city such as this, one can never get enough of this good weather.

Although the best way to find a place is walk around the neighborhood you want to live in and cold-call places that have FOR RENT signs hanging out front, we ended up finding a place through a friend -- one block away.

While this new place has the coveted roof garden that we've been searching for (with bonus views of Popo and Izta), I've been waking up in the middle of the night in a panic. It sits on the exact same busy street that we've been trying to get away from, it faces west and heats up like a sauna, and I learned over the weekend that the neighbors like their music LOUD.

Our friend -- the one living in our future apartment -- invited us to his party Saturday night, to show us how great it was to have a roof garden. We were lounging to the sounds of Gotan Project and the likes when the neighbors in the roof garden next to us show us up with their DJ equipment and lighting. They wanted to have a party of their own. At this point, I wasn't thinking how great the roof garden was. I was having nightmares of listening to Poker Face and I Got a Feeling long after their shelf life.

I relayed these concerns to my ever-patient hubby, and he said I was taking it too far. How could I judge from this one occasion that we would have noisy neighbors? And how did I know that the sound would even travel down to our apartment? I don't.

What I'm learning from this is that there is no place to live in the city without knowing I live in one. Quiet is unrealistic. Especially if we want to live in the center of the city. The sound of cars should ring in my ears like chirping birds. And as long as I live in apartments, expect noisy neighbors. If it gets so unbearable, I'll buy a pair of noise-canceling headphones. It all becomes a matter of managing and adjusting expectations. I thought I had adjusted pretty well to life in the big city, but clearly, it's still a work in progress.

1 comment:

  1. If ya'll make it out to New York and get the chance to visit us, you'll see that we've managed to find a truly quiet, peaceful haven in a huge city in Astoria, near the park. I wake up to birds and fall asleep to crickets. It's amazing -- best of both worlds.