Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Closings, Close Quarters and other random thoughts.

On Monday we closed on our house. I expected our last weekend to be filled with bittersweet nostalgic reminiscing [of which I'm an olympic champion] but this did not happen as our buyers kept us on the edge of our seat so much so that had BRAVO known they'd have offered full reality TV rights to the whole debacle. Until late afternoon Monday we did not know with full certainty if we would close. 

But we did. We closed. Yes it took an entire day. Yes it was one of the top ten most stressful moments of my life. But its done. It's now insh'Allah behind me.

It's a strange free-wheeling free-floating anti-gravity sort of feeling to no longer be chained to a home and to not feel the burden of trees to trim or heaters to service. I feel like I can go anywhere. We could move to a suburb. Stay in the city. Move to San Francisco. Alaska. Fiji. Really, anything could happen. And while home ownership has its benefits [privacy for starters],  I feel liberated.

The liberation comes with a 1940's condo in the heart of the city overlooking a courtyard with a fantastic old tree which fascinates Waleed as he watches the squirrels jump from branch to branch from our living room window. Liberation is also 897 square feet. It's not the physical space that's tough to adjust to, its the lack of storage space. We gave away quite literally half of our belongings. And stored nearly everything else. We brought as much as could fit in our cars and yet its difficult since space is just so sparse. I'm reading up on tiny living and though its a challenge, its not permanent so it does not feel frustrating- instead it feels like a sort of adventure.

The storage issue is only second though to the fact that we reside on the second floor of a condo in which the floor boards creak. A lot. I worry about the downstairs neighbor, a kind piano teacher, who must be wondering why we brought our three show-ponies into the condo with us as what else could account for the hopping, skipping, and galloping noises to be heard overhead? Either Waleed's louder here, or because of the living space, I notice more. I want to be a good neighbor, but I fear creaky floor boards and fiesty toddlers make a difficult combination for peace and quiet downstairs. 

Hopefully he's not too bothered as we're hardly home. Unlike suburb living in which cars are critical, here, we walk. Today I walked to the bookstore, the library, the fro-yo shop and the doctor office down the street. I walked to the park. To dinner. I walked until my feet hurt and yet I didn't want to stop walking. There was too much to explore. To much to see. Too much I missed all these years. Time I can't get back.

And the people? They smile. They say hello. At the park someone asked how old my son was. She said he was cute. We made small talk. Later as the sun began to dip we sat at the steps of our condo as a lady paused laughing at Waleed's complete jaw dropped expression at the white puppy she was walking. Want to pet him? she asked. You have to understand, this never happened where I lived. I know this is not everyone's experience and I can only wonder if perhaps I was just the wrong color and by default most likely the wrong faith as well that I mostly felt invisible. Whatever the reasons, how nice this change is. I feels like I've come out of an abusive relationship and think every other guy will be the same. Except this new guy? He buys me flowers. He opens doors for me. I'm starting to like this new guy. I'm beginning to think he might be the one.

People ask me why I'm doing this all so backwards. Have no kids and own in the suburbs. Have kids and rent in the close quarters of the city. Honestly? The urgency hit because of our child. K's commute? 15 minutes as opposed to 60. The saved time is more precious than any interest bearing account. I don't want a large home for him that floats on an island alone. I want what I've always wanted: For his home to extend beyond the four corners of his walls. Will this place ultimately provide that? Can't say for certain yet but so far its promising. So far its worth finding out.

19 comments:

Sara said...

Salaam Aisha,

Aw, MashaAllah! It's so sweet that you're enjoying your new found home. I'm really happy to hear that all is going well, and I pray that it continues that way!

And even if others may not understand the change, at least you know it's what you have always wanted. =)

Maleeha said...

Sounds wonderful Aisha :) May your new home be blessed and may you all enjoy many happy hours there (ameen)

mystic said...

In my 20 years in USA I lived in manhattan, far rural, suburb, owned big house, roommates, paying guest, studio, rented apartment, student hostel.....each has its own pros/cons. But let me tell you one thing, you are not gonna regret it. Nothing worse than living in far suburb driving one hour to work. It sucks everything out of you. ..and all those things with big house (yard, garage, AC, heater, sprinkle etc etc) - nothing is more precious than time with your growing kid....

Kamille Elahi said...

It's wonderful you're loving your new home! The suburbs are lovely but so is living out of the suburbs. The suburbs are a bit too isolated imo.

We only have about 900-1000 sq ft (give or take) in our house and 5 people living here.

rehtwo said...

and that is why I love cities. they are not for everyone, to be sure, but there are many things about them to appreciate. best of luck in your new home! :)

Julia Munroe Martin said...

What a wonderful change for you. I know only too well how stifling a place can feel, so bravo that you made the change to a better-suited place! Cheers to your new home & the fantastic old tree!

Yen said...

Congrats and welcome to the neighborhood! So happy you're close by now. I was telling Cylinda I felt a Waleed-shaped disturbance in the force. We'd love to give you guys the grand tour and maybe point out places you might not know about. Maybe one night next week or the following weekend?

Sarah said...

That sounds absolutely wonderful!

Aisha said...

Thanks for your kind words of support Sara!!!! :)

Thanks Maleeha, Ameen! :)

Mystic, glad you can relate, you have lived a varied housing life it seems! So far I'm loving this- I think once you've tried something that didn't work it helps guide you towards what might!

Kamille, oh wow! Where did you grow up if you don't mind my asking. I've noticed that its in the US that space is so abundant. In the UK, France, etc spaces are smaller due to the incredible density and people don't bat an eye.

Aisha said...

Rehtwo, you're still reading?!?! :) Thanks for the vote of confidence, so far so good!!!

Thanks Julia, and that tree? It's truly beautiful!!!

Yen, we're going out of town next thursday and will be gone for a few weeks. K comes home close to W's bedtime but if you guys are free during daylight hours next week I'm game to meet up!!

Thanks so much sarah :) Welcome to the blog and thx for your comment!! :)

iamstacey said...

I'm so glad you're loving your new home so far! :) And so glad the sale is behind you and you're free to explore all the new options out there!

md said...

lovely to hear that you're loving your new place, and being in the city! best wishes on all the exploring!

Aisha said...

Thanks Stacey!!!

MD, thanks so much! So far so good!

kmina said...

Your new home sounds fantastic! I hope it is what you always have dreamt of.

Kamille Elahi said...

I'm in the UK and more specifically, one of the counties surrounding London and average American size homes here can be very expensive. And our house (I'm still living here) is worth I think, just above half a million dollars.

katery said...

wow, i'm so glad it's been such a positive experience for you :) i often daydream about no longer having the responsibilities of home ownership even though we've only owned our house for about a year and a half.

Aisha said...

Kmina thanks :) The home itsels is okay and its temporary- I just am glad we've left an area that wasn't for us. And that we have hope of finding one that is.

Kamille, interesting, yeah, I think we want a lot more than we need most of the time when it comes to things in our life.

Kate, thanks :) Yeah I remember when you got your house! Feels like yesterday. I home owned for almost 8 years and I just got exhausted. It's a lot of responsibility and it can be worht it if you're in a location you love but for us it wasn't so we wantedt og et out. It's definitely nice not to have the responsibility anymore!!!!

chipwich said...

I too dream of that day where I can live in the city. As I sit in traffic, driving from Atlanta to the burbs I notice how the concept of a "neighborhood" changes. Funny how while i'm in the city I see families spend time together in the park and they know each other, but as I come back to the burbs, everyone's too drained to do anything. I'm excited for you and look forward to hearing your life changing adventures!

Aisha said...

Chipwich, welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment! Which burb do you live in? Hm, that's a really good point about the suburbs you made- maybe people are just too drained to do anything- Atlanta at least defies the common perception that suburbs are friendlier than the city. I have not found that to be the case at all. Surprising but true!

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