Home Sweet Stranger's Home
I'm a the lucky one. No blessed is a better word. I found the housing for my travel nursing assignment by searching and putting up a post on craigslist. Typically, I do find the safe route to be the best so this obviously was not my first method of researching housing in the area. Periodically I checked in at corporate housing websites, long term hotels, and local rentals. My current travel nursing agency did give me the option of using their housing which would have made this research superfluous. And this is a good option for many travel nurses who don't have time to set up more personal housing or those who want to focus on the job for their first one or more assignments.
However, after hearing how my agency would spend three times more than necessary on housing (as compared to local rates in the area) I decided to ask for the money in stipend and find my own housing. I had also found many people who used agency provided housing were mistaken in their expectations. There were several great rental apartments in the area for much cheaper and with more amenities. The biggest hurdle was finding a place that could offer a three month lease, equal to my three month job contract. So initially I spent quite a bit of time on the internet finding well rated rentals. My standards started plummeting when not one company I talked with offered a three month lease. I found one hotel that offered such a lease but only had a two bedroom available. So obviously it was twice as expensive and not even furnished.
All of this knowledge led me to pursuing housing through friends and local contacts. That gave me one good option close to one of the two job offers I had yet to decide on. My brother then suggested craigslist, just to check out the market a little more on a personal basis. I looked through several of the posts for a couple of days to get a good idea on price and location. One thing I was sure of: I did not want to stay with college students. Dear friends at Purdue, I love you all and the time I spent with you. But most college students are not like the group we had in our apartment building. And I wanted to make sure that I could focus on my night shift job and sleep as much as possible during the day. So no hard feelings :)
Anyway, so I pieced together my own post on craigslist including my story and little bits about me. I put down attributes such as I like pets but don't have any, I'm a nonsmoker, don't do drugs or alcohol, and I love kids (aka peds nurse), making sure to add my preferences: private living quarters, wifi, laundry, etc. I added a max price consistent with location and amenities based on the hotel prices I liked. (If only the hotels had three month leases I wouldn't be in this debacle) And added that I'd be willing to give references and would need a background check in return.
I had no clue that within 24 hours I would have received at least 15 offers, increasing several more each day thereafter. I communicated by e-mail either kindly rejecting the offer or asking for more information. Some of the people were very kind. I talked to so many from so many areas of life. It was very interesting talking to them over the phone. These complete strangers offered me keys to their homes, sharing their washer and dryer, taking turns parking in their garage, even so far as inviting me along with their friends on social outings. Some were rather creepy sounding. A middle aged man with a four bedroom house, living alone, offering the rest of the house since he spends every night at his girlfriends house. How about a big resounding No. One offer was living in a home with several guys and one other girl, all similar in my age. They were so kind but my own accountability to the boundaries I like to support inhibited my acceptance of that offer. And then my current host contacted me offering house details but being careful to not give too much information for their own security. I appreciated their safeguards, especially having a child, and pursued more information. We talked by phone, text, and once confirmed, by video chat. She texted me pictures of the home and so on.
So getting on with the story, I chose living with a young couple and a toddler. I live in a 1700sq. ft. unfinished basement which is three times the size of my old apartment. And then I drove out there a week later to move in.
We have all gotten along well together. In fact, they invited me to their parents home yesterday for a big family supper. They are such a sweet, hospitable family. My host's mother has her own horse ranch, giving riding lessons and the whole bit. The father builds houses and they live in this beautiful area along a river. Driving in there was a herd of deer grazing in their front yard. They proceeded to tell me deer are the least interesting of the animals that frequent their land. Oftentimes they spot bald eagles, up to fifteen, various owl species, even an occasional elk. Or maybe the host was just teasing me on that last bit. We had a fun dinner, gave the girls a bath, toured the ranch, and then tried sopapillas as dessert for the first time. So tasty!