37. List all the places you have lived in.
Unlike some people who have lived from place to place, you can count the places I’ve lived in one hand.
1. I was born and lived out my toddler years in a lowel level rental (silong) in the town proper of San Juan. My parents were still starting out back then, and it was a tiny but cozy place good enough for a growing family like ours. We had a tiny living room that led into a dining room, and then you had to walk a few steps up to our bedroom which housed my parents, my sister and any guests who slept over. It was in a noisy part right off of what we considered the main street in town, “N. Domingo”.
2. By the time I was four, my youngest brother was born and my parents bought what would be our family home for the next 43 years. It was still in the same town, still off of a street branching out from N. Domingo, but now in a residential area. It was a huge house which had its own maid’s quarters, and although there was a guest room, my siblings and I grew up sharing one bedroom. When we hit our teens, my brother got the other room but on the same floor. It was a spacious home which saw many parties and celebrations. We just recently moved out after giving it up.
3. When I first arrived here in New York in 2000, we were renting a two-bedroom apartment in Floral Park, another part of Queens. We were evicted by the draconian landlord who insisted my arrival violated the terms of the lease for the two-bedroom unit besides the state practice that each bedroom was habitable by two people. My mother-in-law had shared the apartment with my then fiance and I would’ve simply been the third occupant. I liked it because it was near some stores, and easily commutable, but it was far from the city. I wasn’t working yet so that was sort of a bummer. I could only go so far and had to rely on Alan to take me to and from the city. I only spent a few months here until we found our own place after we got married.
4. Around half a year from my arrival, we moved into another first floor one-bedroom unit in a very nice area of Queens called Bayside, which is on the other side of the same community where I am now. (I am still in Bayside.) Those were learning years for me as I discovered I could cook, thanks to the Barnes & Noble behind our apartment row where I would spend afternoons to copy recipes, then I would walk over to the Waldbaums next door to do my groceries. We stayed at this apartment until we had saved enough for a down payment on our own home.
5. When we finally found our place, we knew it would be in the same area where we last rented, but on the other side. We liked the cultural mix of the area (Asian and Jewish mix) and the school zone was a prized factor in driving real estate values up. We have been here for the last 11 years, and we’re not going anywhere. I like the community and how it makes one feel you are in an enclave away from the buzz of the city, and yet you are not too far away. I can’t see myself living elsewhere except the city perhaps which is unlikely.