It can take months of living in temporary lodging (TLF) before a family is offered a home on base. You can only live in TLF for 60 days before you have to go out in town to find a Japanese home, so a waiting list that is more than two months long presents a stressful challenge. Luckily, this does not appear to be a challenge we will have to face.
Today, less than 24 hours since we arrived on base, we were offered not only one place to look at, but three – we had a choice! This may sound like a small thing, but in the military, when it comes to housing, choice is not usually a word used in related conversation. So here is our international househunting experience, which took all of 30 minutes this afternoon.
First, all three choices were mid-rise apartment homes. Mid-rises are 5 to 6 stories high and house about 36 families each, six to a floor. They have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, living area and some sort of storage outside the apartment in the center of the building floor. There are elevators, assigned parking spaces, and the base is pretty small, so nothing is too far away from what I like to call “the shopping district.” Plus there is a bus that circles around base every half hour and cars here are cheap – most families have two they have paid for with cash.
The shopping district includes a “mall” which includes a food court, a Navy Federal credit union, a Bank of America branch, a cell phone store, a beauty shop and a dry cleaner. The other two buildings are the Exchange (think department store like Sears or Dillards) and the commissary (grocery store). The schools, restaurants and post office are in this general area, as well.
The apartments were all roughly similar with a few subtle differences, which I’ll describe. If you feel like playing an International Househunters-esque game, answer this question:
Which one do you think we picked?
Apartment #1: The first stop was the one that had been renovated recently, but was the furthest from the shopping district, about a mile away. It is located on the second floor, the first apartment when you get off the elevators.
|The building on the outside.|
|Boys in the master bedroom with balcony overlooking the flight line.|
|Kitchen - with Marine boots. We had to take our shoes off since the carpets had been cleaned.|
|Dining/living room with a view of a warehouse. The bedrooms and bathrooms are located through the door.|
|Locked storage cage in the center of our building on our floor. This storage area was the largest of the three.|
|The outside of the building.|
|The kitchen - new carpet had just been installed.|
|Living space with a view of the parking lot. Central A/C was added after this building was built (vented box on the ceiling).|
|Master bedroom - all of the bedrooms in all of the apartments had lots of storage that looked like this.|
|Master bathroom - all of the bathrooms were very much like this one, although the "guest" bathrooms usually had tubs, as well.|
|Master bedroom - all of the rooms in this unit has central A/C added later, so the vents were there large boxes that took up wall and floor space.|
|Master bedroom with a view of the Monzen River.|
|Living space and kitchen - also with a view of the Monzen River.|
|The kitchen - this apartment has the washer and dryer in the kitchen. The other two units has a separate laundry room across the entry hallway from the kitchen.|
So which one of these do you think the Guthrie's picked? After weighing the pros and cons of each option, we selected Apartment 1. The plus sides of this apartment are the fact that we (hopefully!) won't have to move out of it during our time here, the separate laundry room, the large storage cage, no boxy A/C vents and the fact that all four Guthries liked it best. We'll learn to live with the distance from the shopping district and warehouse view. We move in August 6!