Thursday, 21 April, 2011
Life goes steadily on here in Nelson, work continues to be busy but we are working less shifts, the sun still shines but we have had our first frost, Lucy is officially for sale (insert sad face here), and we come home in little more than a month. It's a bit surreal, even though we are ready for it and looking forward to it. Plans are falling into place for our long journey home, which is going to happen over the course of about four days. We will fly from Nelson to Auckland on May 22nd, and stay there for two nights while we sort out all the final details of exiting the BUNAC program, selling back our phones, etc. Then it's the 14-hour flight to Los Angeles, a seven hour layover there (during which we will be rescued and entertained by my cousin Eliot), then the two and a half hours to Portland on the 24th. I can only imagine at this stage how overwhelming our homecoming is going to be, and I don't really want to think about the mix of emotions that will go with it, as it's almost intimidating! So instead, I'll share the really exciting news about going home:
We have officially rented a house in Portland!
Yes! We have rented a house we have never actually been to, but that by all accounts and evidence appears to be everything we could ever want. It's a long story, but the short version is that we randomly happened upon the posting on Craigslist and saw that it was available July 1st, so we emailed the landlord to see if he would be willing to work with us, and a month and a half later, we have paid the deposit (via Matt's mom) and it's ours! We have seen pictures of most of the rooms and the garden, and had a good long snoop on Google Earth, using satellite photos and Streetview to check out the layout of the yard and property, the location, and the neighborhood, all of which look really really good. It's in a part of town we really like but haven't actually lived in, is near several good friends and bus lines, and in a nice residential neighborhood, not ridiculously far from downtown, where I will be going to school starting in September. It's a cute bungalow with brightly painted rooms, a garage and basement to give Matt lots of workspace, a big kitchen, a lovely garret that will make a perfect sewing room/studio/guest room, a big yard with raspberry bushes and fruit trees, a big, well-established garden space with four good-sized raised beds, trellises, and big bushes of rosemary and other herbs, and best of all, we can have chickens! The landlord is fine with it, so we'll be able to have three hens and grow our own eggs, and all in all this place looks to be perfect for living our dream of a little urban homestead!
It's been such a turn of good luck, we're feeling really blessed by how it all fell into place, that we'll be able to come home knowing where we're going to live and that we'll truly be able to have the space and lifestyle that we want. The only downside is that it is a three-bedroom house, so we will have to have a roommate in order to make it truly affordable. I know that's not a huge deal, but the part of me that is actually a crotchety old lady hates the idea of living with another person, as I've had some really bad experiences with housemates and neighbors. But it's a small price to pay for all the goodness of this house, and the upside is that Matt and I will be subletting, so we get to be in control of the situation and make sure that we rent to someone who can share in our lifestyle, and fits into the kind of home we want. It is really important to us that it is our home, with someone else there who is comfortable living the same kind of life- a simple, deliberate one of making and mending, little consumerism, environmentally-friendly practices, etc. We want to live free of TV, without a dryer, using the car as little as possible, and without loud drunken parties, so we'll be able to set up those expectations and hopefully find a like-minded person who won't bring those kind of things into our home. Ideally, we'd love to find someone who is interested in our lifestyle but is new to it, whom we could sort of act as mentors to and help them learn simple living skills along the way.
This is all just musing, but we are full of plans that will become much more solid once we actually see the space and how we can arrange things. I am already concocting ideas for a late-season garden, since we won't be planting until July, and Matt is drafting plans for a henhouse and researching which breeds of chickens would be best for our climate. We are both very happy and excited to have this place waiting for us, and very grateful to the landlord for being so flexible and working with us via email and airmail, and to sheer good luck, karma, or whatever you want to call it, for allowing us to find that posting in the first place!