For Nagel, Stapleton's appeal was more than her condo's proximity to million-dollar homes. When she was married and living in Aurora, her husband, high on cocaine, threw her out of the house in the middle of the night. Purchasing a home in Syracuse Village was a way to put down roots, she says. No spouse or landlord can tell her to leave; it's hers, no matter how difficult the payments may be. Later this year, Nagel will receive her U.S. citizenship, another step toward security.
"I think Americans have this obsession. They haven't yet bought their home, and they think of selling it already," she says. "I might be dead tomorrow. Maybe I'll become Princess of Monaco. I have this house, and I'm enjoying it. I know better than to make life plans."