I know that I just began an incredible experience, and I would like to tell you the tremendous stories and adventures that this implies. and I’m happy to start my cycle in a city like Washington DC. A green city that is welcoming the summer, when you see people on their bikes all day long. I have just arrived at a hostel where I shared a room with three Russians, one Cuban and one Sudani, all talented women. And furthermore, I could not be happier sharing two weeks with people from all over, forming the “Class 21!” of Atlas Corps. However, to be honest, there is a dark side that does not let me fully smile and has its own name: HOUSING.
This is not a minor topic. Can you imagine the great illusion that I had of a brand new house with a different environment and space that I’ve would loved to have had? I arrived two weeks ago, with two suitcases bigger than myself. I boarded the NYC subway as best as I could with many people helping me along the way. Half of my life was packing into those two bags. I was sweating, but at the same time, the anxiety and joy made me forget the tiredness. Just when I arrived at Penn Station to take my bus to Washington DC and passed almost 5 hours, counting them one by one,, I arrived happily into rainy DC. There, waiting for me at Union Station, was Rebe, my new boss, where we took an Uber to meet with my roommates at the hostel, all different, but with the same energy, looking to start a cycle of good things!
Two weeks of orientation began, from 8 am until 5.00 pm, and when we arrived in the evenings after intense hours of work, we opened our laptops to continue the arduous task of looking for a house, with Google maps on one tab and Craiglist on the other, composing detailed emails as if it were a job interview for landlords to give a resounding YES.
As the days went on and the clock counted down, in less than a week, we had to leave the hostel and begin working at each of the organizations, and as time passed, the hostel room was vacating. Bed by bed, with the “I got a new house!!! Wish you luck in your search “.ufff!!!!! With 3 days left, the room was almost empty, with only my dear Russian friend Yana, and I, with whom I had a couple of interviews. We crossed metro, buses, and ubers to get to our “new houses” but … nothing came out of the search … nothing! We were about to take an option in the north of the city, a nice house with a garden, but while the price was good, it was too far with a long commute – That was always the problem…
After two days, Yana found a room, and I … I was still in the search, competing with interns, fellows, and people who came during the summer, something that was not very easy, since the demand was high and the prices were getting higher. I became an expert with looking for web pages, and I was able to identify the fake posts. I joined all of the Facebook groups that contained keywords like housing + rent + dc + “desperate” …. Ufff and it never amounted to anything ..
I was already prepared to live in the hostel sharing a room with unknown people.
However, something came out of nowhere after the long search. Someone unexpected. I met a person who kindly offered me the guest room in her house for a while, but after a few weeks, she decided that I could rent it for the whole year! It was an exquisite place, 20 minutes by bus from my office in the middle of gardens and cathedrals and living with a loving family !!!!
This is not an article of recommendations or tips to find housing in DC.Of course, Google Maps and the classifieds are your best friends. But in my case, my greatest supporter was life itself, which brought me the complete package despite all of my difficulties!