Everything "promising" we had found on Craigslist ended up being either in the ghetto of San Diego (Imperial Beach area for any of you who know San Diego at all), or ridiculously small for the price (I'm sorry, but 400 sq. ft. for $850 is not a good deal). We actually had one lady in Imperial Beach show us the apartment and then turn and say, "Look, I would love to rent to you. Renters like you are ideal. But I have to be honest, this is NOT the neighborhood for you."
So basically, I spent hours on Craigslist the night before just to have to throw away the whole list, which was extremely frustrating. It was also frustrating to us because we realized that our budget of less than $800 was extremely unrealistic unless we wanted to drive over an hour to school everyday (which would quickly be made up in gas money, anyway).
We sat in a yogurt shop we found (one of two we went to with free wi-fi this weekend! Gotta love it:) and scoured rent.com, mynewplace.com, Craigslist - you name it, we looked at it. We even drove around the streets and called random numbers on buildings and looked up complexes online that had looked decent from the street. Pretty much everything in decently safe areas was upwards of 11-1200 dollars, for still relatively small apartments (around 600 sq. ft.) We also began to be discouraged because it was Saturday evening, and most complexes aren't open on Sundays, which basically felt like we'd be wasting an entire day of searching.
The next day, we found a few places that were open and dropped by to see the apartments. We found a place near San Diego State (NOT UC San Diego, mind!) that looked promising. The drive would be about 25 minutes (even in traffic, which we checked Monday morning when we thought we were going to go through with it) but it was a really beautiful, well-kept complex, and ONLY 1000/mo. We also drove up to Escondido and looked at an equally beautiful place there that would be 950 ... but, as the manager there convinced us of, the drive to La Jolla would, in traffic, be upwards of an hour.
We were also almost scammed. An unbelievable deal came up on Craigslist that morning for the most luxurious, beautiful apartment in La Jolla (studios there start at around 1500 usually). It was only 700 dollars and had a huge kitchen, huge living room, etc. etc.! ... And turned out to be someone in West Africa trying to scam us. Very disappointing, again.
By that evening, we decided we'd give it a couple hours looking more on Monday, but that we were most likely going to go with the place near SDSU that we'd seen. When the drive, even during traffic, seemed really doable, we called the Complex and told them we'd be by with our deposit and credit check fee in a few hours.
After getting breakfast, getting lost in downtown San Diego, we finally found a branch of our bank around 1230. While in line, another complex called me back, but I turned down the $900, 430 sq. ft. place. As soon as I ended my call, a man turned around and said, "Excuse me, you're looking for a 1 bed, 1 bath? I own several buildings and have some rentals open if you're interested." Paul and I took his number and the addresses and prices and decided that we shouldn't leave any stone unturned. We went to look and decided the outside of the townhouse we were interested looked good, and so we called the man and asked him if he could come show it to us. He said he was at ATT getting a new phone and would we mind waiting a half an hour or so? Paul said that was fine ... but as about half an hour passed, I said, "Let's just go ... it's probably not going to work out anyway, and we've already got our money ready for the other place ... this is ridiculous."But Paul was insistent that we at least look.
I'm glad we did! The townhouse is a little more expensive than the place we were going to rent, but more utilities are paid, which evens up the cost right there. It's also in the heart of the social area of San Diego, in Hillcrest/Midtown area, where there are two of our favorite grocery stores, our bank, and basically any kind of food we could ever want, all within walking distance. We're also near Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and (the best part, according to my family ;) within a 40 minute walk to Filippi's Pizza Grotto! The townhouse is, according to the current tenant, VERY quiet. He said he's never heard any of his neighbors, and it helps that the floor beneath our bedroom is our own living room. Our neighbors will be a med resident and a law student, so they are very quiet, if they're even home at all. We have two floors, and two balconies that overlook the city. The area is safe, and we even have an assigned, underground, gated parking space (which is especially comforting to us Modestans - this morning, about ten cars in our complex were broken into. Luckily, we were not, but we are looking forward to the added security!)
Possibly the best part of this townhouse is the UCSD shuttle that is only two blocks away. It is FREE for us as UCSD students, runs every twenty minutes, and will save us not only in gas, but $600 minimum on parking for a parking pass, and a lot of time we would have wasted looking for a parking space! We are very excited about our new home!
Paul's placement test was also rewarding. Because Paul hasn't taken math in about a year, we were both worried he wouldn't remember enough to be placed into pre-calculus, which would be his next course if he was staying at MJC... you'd think that since he finished the pre-requisite into pre-calc that UCSD would just accept that, but they still require the placement test. I read a book at the library while he took his test, and when he was finished, he said he thought he did well on the parts he could remember. He said he'd only done about 2/3 of the test but that he thought he'd gotten all of the ones he'd done, correct. I was happy for him and said it'd probably be fine. Since there are Calculus-ready questions on the test, too, then if he couldn't do those, it was fine and he'd get into pre-calculus.
We were finally able to see the results last night, and ... ! He was actually placed into either the lower level calculus (which is for certain majors) or the higher placed pre-calculus that goes into the higher calculus. At UCSD, there are two routes you can take. The lower level pre- and calculus classes, or the higher level of the same that are for different majors (such as chemistry, math majors, etc. I am so proud of him that he placed into a calculus course at all, when he should just be heading into pre-calculus! He will probably actually go the higher route either way, even if his major doesn't necessarily need it (although we're fairly sure he does since he is a bio-chem major) because you can't go wrong with the higher math class. Either way, like I said, I am very proud of him!
All in all, it was a very rewarding trip. As much frustration and worry and hesitancy that we felt, we are excited to start our new life down there. We plan to move the 28th of this month, and it is coming up fast! It's already August 5, so that is just barely three weeks away! Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us, and please continue to pray for us as we make this next HUGE step in our lives!