I live in Foster City, in a two-bedroom apartment that I share with Mauro, a friend from high school who moved here a month before me, and Felipe, a Peruvian personal chef. Mauro and I rent from Felipe, whose wife and kid just left to Peru. We got this place just a week after I came and we’ve liked it a lot. It’s right next to a beautiful lake, it has a balcony, a gym, a laundry, a pool (though it’s way too cold), tennis and volleyball courts, and lots of grass all around (with ducks!).
Foster city is also one of the nice, affluent parts of the bay so we definitely got lucky. Best of all, we’re very well located on a micro and macro level. Micro, the library, the beach, Safeway, Costco, and all sorts of malls (ethnic, fancy, and bland) are no more than 5-7 minutes away. Macro, we live close to the center of the Bay Area: Stanford & Palo Alto are very close, San Francisco is a half hour away, and even San Jose is some 45 minutes away. Parking is not a problem nor is it security.
On the negative side, though it’s worth it, it is somewhat expensive (we each pay nigh 600 dollars per month, utilities included) and so we’re moving the next 15th to a new place that’s very close but for which I’ll pay 500 dollars per month and I get to have my own room (while Mauro will get to live in the living room and enjoy the cheapskate life he craves :). Virginia Woolf famously talked about the importance of a room of one’s own for female writers but it applies just as well to programmers (as Joel Spolsky once argued to my then disbelief).
So things will be even better (and cheaper). The one thing I wonder is whether I shouldn’t be rather living inside the throbbing, bustling City itself instead of the bland yet convenient and charming suburbia. My chief concerns are cost and how to have a car in the parking-less city (I don’t want to end up isolated in San Francisco itself, many interesting things happen outside it). Any suggestions? Should I take the plunge into the overpriced, rough city or enjoy my cheap, gentle suburban life?