Tuscaloosa

The University of Alabama is pretty. Lots of colonial-style buildings, open spaces, and air conditioning. It is warm here but not as warm as a few weeks ago. Lately, it has been at most 30 celsius at most. It is humid. Rains every now and then. Lots of crickets and cicadas making noises in the evenings. Or I think they are cicadas. They aren’t sounding exactly like the cicadas I used to know back in Ontario or from Japanese animations.

Tuscaloosa isn’t much of a walking town. The University area is ok but once you leave that area, sidewalks are not everywhere. Just outside the complex where we are renting, the sidewalk along the main road starts and stops at multiple locations along that road in either direction. It feels weird walking on grass in front of some business where there should be a sidewalk. They have all sorts of money for these huge roads but nothing to make the town walkable.

The apartment we are renting… The clubhouse, fitness room, and pool area are GREAT! The apartments and management severely lacking. Our specific apartment is suffering from some water pipe leak in the walls. They had to relocate us because they tore up the floor in the bathroom and some of the surrounding area. The toilet and sink were removed. The bathtub is still there with black with mold caulking. Our temporary place is a two-bedroom until our one-bedroom is fixed up which they mention may take a couple of months… Which surprises me. My brother and I went through something similar in a similarly old (older) complex and they had it fixed within days. Not sure why it would take months here in Tuscaloosa and days back in Vancouver. And the property company in Vancouver was/is known to be pretty bad. Granted, it wasn’t COVID time so I don’t know how that affects labor so it might be a contributor. On top of this, the two-bedroom has a weed smell in it which Denise is sensitive to. Looking around both apartments there are plenty of faults. A certain lack of ‘pride’ in workmanship on the carpentry or installation. I mean, I’m not pro but when I look at something that I know I could do and end up with a much better result, then I know it’s really bad. Both apartments are not really ‘cheery’ and we just stay in it for sleeping and try to be anywhere else during the day. Our clothes are starting to have a weed smell too. Ugh.

Denise is totally disappointed with the start of her Ph.D. studies with all the mistakes and now living conditions being way below par. We are seriously thinking of going through the hassle of buying a place here and all that comes with that process. Buying in the US is a lot more tedious than in Canada. And slower. In Canada, you could be done in a few days. In the US it is at least one and a half months. But then I hope we will be in a clean apartment. Something more cheery and in a better location for the long run. We know we don’t want to be here.

Getting a car is not really in the cards. Can’t insure a car without an Alabama license and I still feel we are really coming from Canada and not some sort of Alabama resident. At the end of 5 years, or however long Denise will take, it doesn’t feel like we will want to settle here. Ah well, we are trying to make the best of it.

So far the restaurants were about average. Thankfully not terrible. Ideally, I’d like to cook at home but we haven’t really unpacked everything because we know there is another move coming soon’ish. It’s hard to feel settled when you know you will still have to make another move.

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