This whole move has been full of new adventures and “firsts” for our family: our first international flight in business class (ammmmazing…), Jon’s first weeks at his new job, and our first taste of corporate housing.
Now, if you’re like I was a few short weeks ago, you have no idea what corporate housing even is. In short, corporate housing is home purgatory. It’s where newly-hired employees (at least, the ones with excellent relocation packages) go to wait out their time until all of their STUFF transports to the same place they are so they can actually live in their own house.
We lucked out and got placed in a pretty amazing apartment for our corporate housing stint. Most of the people living in our complex are just regular apartment-dwellers, but a few of the units are rented out to people like us. Before we arrived, our “relocation team” (how fancy is that?!) went in and stocked our apartment with furniture and dishes and hotel-esque artwork so it would be ready for us to move in, plop ourselves down, and carry on with life as soon as we deplaned in California.
Buckle your seat belts, friends, because I’m going to take you on a journey that many people never get to experience. Welcome to A Day Living In Corporate Housing:
Wake up and make your bed. You feel obligated to make your bed properly every morning because it’s so much prettier than the mussed up pile of blankets you’re used to. There are pillow shams. There’s a decorative throw. There is even a duvet-less down comforter –and it’s still WHITE (well, it was white until your kids smeared Cheeto dust all over it).
Sneak out of the apartment before the kids wake up so you can take the dog down three flights of stairs and outside for her morning relief. If you wait until the kids are up, this chore will take at least an hour.
Walk into your closet to get dressed. Snarl your nose at the 3 dresses and 2 pairs of shorts that you’ve been wearing ALL SUMMER because your entire wardrobe consists of what you could carry on an airplane. 7:45
Start what is sure to be the first of many loads of laundry today. When your entire family is living out of suitcases, you have to wash the same things many times.8:00
Take a breakfast and coffee break. Thank goodness the baristas are cute.
Take advantage of this quiet-ish moment to call on the house listings you found on Craigslist last night and preschools that you are researching for your 3 year old and banks that need your new address and relocation specialists that need to coordinate the packing and shipping of your worldly possessions that are spread across two continents.
Pool time! This is the best part about living in an apartment–daily access to FIVE swimming pools! Marvel at how your children are beginning to resemble actual fish.
Catch a free class at the on-site yoga studio.
Come home from your morning adventures. Dry off and get dressed. Throw a major tantrum. Real life still happens, even when you’re living in the corporate housing resort. 12:05
Ponder your options for lunch. Settle on some scrumptious options that were not available in your year living abroad (God bless America?!).12:30
After lunch, take a walk around the apartment complex. This will take approximately the rest of the day because the apartment complex is actually the size of a small city. No joke. 1:00
Stop for awhile to watch people working out in one of the exercise facilities. Sometimes it’s more fun to spectate than participate.1:30
Rest in the outdoor lounge areas and cozy up to the outdoor fireplace (even though it’s sunny and 75 degrees here. Every day. Yes, it’s OK to be jealous.).2:00
Visit the “apartment community” playground. Blow some bubbles for good measure.
Catch a free movie at the on-site community theater. Help yourself to popcorn, candy and drinks in the free concessions room.
Return to your apartment to find your daily doorstop delivery. You now order everything online because you still can’t figure out how to move a carload of groceries from the underground parking garage up to your 3rd floor apartment with two small children in tow.
Put all of those delivery boxes to good use: 3-2-1-BLASTOFF!!!
…and if the empty boxes fail to excite, flatten out the packing paper and create the world’s longest mural.
Make dinner. Since you only have 2 pans and 1 large spoon, opt for a preparation-free dinner. Thankfully your relocation team stocked your fridge and freezer before you arrived with gourmet offerings like frozen lasagna and broccoli that steams in its own bag in the microwave.
Watch cartoons in the living room while Mom “cooks” dinner.6:30
Go for a family walk on the trail near your apartment to work off that scrumptious dinner.6:45
Stop in the park at the center of your apartment city and throw some balls for your dog. You never have to bring your own dog toys to the park because there are about a thousand rogue balls hiding in the bushes that line the park. 7:00
Go for a quick spin in Daddy’s sweet rental car. Pick up some ice cream for dessert. 7:30
End the day with a nighttime dip in the hot tub.
Tuck in your friends and say goodnight. You’ll all sleep really well because you basically sleep in a cave (props to Dad for covering all of the bedroom windows with tinfoil to block out that strange light we aren’t used to…the sun.)
Goodnight, corporate housing!
Our new living arrangement has had its ups and downs, its challenges and its benefits–but, mostly, its been fun. And, like never before we are experiencing the truth in this statement: Home is where your heart is. Home is not a house, or even a place. No, home is where there is love.
And, no matter where life takes us, our family is always home.