Though we were house-hunting in a million different areas, I didn't really think I'd ever leave this village. This lovely, hippy, coffee-sipping, book-wielding hood lined with 1920's bungalows and porch swings. Except, it turns out, we are. The reasons are many. a) The maintenance of older bungalows go beyond our abilities and slightly terrify us from stories our neighbors tell us [and as charming as puppies wrapped in ribbons of chocolate these homes may be, we are the polar opposite of handy]. b) Folks with kids move in and out at a rapid pace from one house to another here because the tight quarters and often odd floor plans while workable for some are not workable for most we spoke to. c) And we don't want to move multiple times. d) But tougher than all of these, this area is super-desirable and the good homes in our price point sold [literally!] within hours of going on the market. As time went on, we began to grow disheartened that this wouldn't be the long-term place for us, but we held on to hope as dim as the hope grew with each outing house-hunting.
We weren't expecting this when we sold our house. It's a buyer's market after all. We simply had to skip through the streets pointing out the homes we wanted and pick our favorite one at bargain basement prices. Not so much. The market is bad. And that means most of the homes are distressed properties you wouldn't really be excited to purchase. At least here in Atlanta. Foreclosures and short-sales in disrepair, and the others with sagging roofs, rotting wood, and other issues we were unwilling to take on. As we approached our sixth month of living in our condo, we began wondering if we simply wouldn't find a house, ever.
Then our agent called about a house ten miles north. Still in-town but more suburban in feel. You gotta see this place, he told us. Tell him we don't want to live anywhere but here, I told K. It doesn't hurt to take a look, he responded. Then we'll tell him.
And then we saw the house.
We looked at the rounded windows in the kitchen overlooking a deck facing a wooded backyard. The built-in bookshelf in the loft. The location, schools, all checked off, we made an offer. Negotiated counter-offers and home inspections and wondered every step of the way if we were making the right decision.
Then, this past Friday, we bought the house.
And as much I was thankful for K's shorter commute, the lovely house, and the good restaurants within a five minute drive, I couldn't believe my days in this village were numbered as memories of my old home, where neighbors never said hello, where I felt alone on an island resurfaced. I felt afraid about what I might have lost.
After the closing, we picked up lunch and headed back to the house. Pulling into the driveway we saw neighbors standing outside chatting. They came over to say hello. They welcomed us to the neighborhood. Our next door neighbor's toddler raced over to Waleed, they stared at each other and in a split-second they were off doing laps around the cul-de-sac and then scrambling into her opened garage to play. The other neighbor, an older woman with a blonde coif, lowered her voice and informed us of the driving habits of each home-owner and the type of dogs they owned and promised to have us over for tea. And in that moment I felt that though this isn't the village, perhaps this might become my village.
K reassures me, this isn't a permanent anchoring to one ground. Should we find ourselves unhappy, we'll move. But this evening as I looked at the vegetable garden that will soon be planted, the playground that will go where the ivy now stands, and the empty walls that will soon fill with photos of the life we've built and continue to build together, I feel ever so hopeful that while this may not be the village I'm leaving behind, this is my house, and someday soon this will be my home.