Sunday, 22 November 2015

Bought a House

My mind has been everywhere since the last post. It has been much harder than I anticipated. I think if I had been on my own I would have gone home, but BB wanted to stay. I miss people, I have a rosy picture of life in the UK based on our last few month there. Our living conditions here have been unstable. Having paid rent on the house we are in currently for 5 weeks prior to our arrival I thought I had secured us a place to live for a while, but as soon as we arrived I was told we needed to buy by the end of November or they would sell to someone else. The pressure of that was huge. I wasn't even convinced that we were going to stay here, had uncomfortable feeling about the local school, didn't know which suburb we wanted to live in if we did stay, and the house is beautiful but old, and will require a labour of love, a handy man and some deep pockets to maintain it. I did my best to persuade them to rent it to us for longer, but they wanted rid of the place as soon as possible, so in the end they put it on the market.

It sold in 4 days, which surprised everyone including the agent selling it, though it is a great space to live. So we were to be homeless by January.

This was unsettling too. I didn't know wether I should just give in and leave, go on the road trip and then go home, or persist in the face of adversity. I was a sad Mummy for a while but BB was great. He does miss my Mum too, but every time I asked if he wanted to go back to the UK he was very sure he didn't want to. He likes it here, he likes the beach, his friend Grace, the play group, swimming lessons... When I tried to persuade him by saying how nice it would be to see the folks at home his response was just that we can Skype them and then we can visit them when we can't remember what its like in England!

The school thing was really getting to me too. I'm not sure why but I just had a bad feeling about this school BB was enrolled in right from the start. On paper it's great. But all the parents i met were talking about the family day for kindy orientation, sausage sizzles, family bbq's etc. Ours was a talk  from the principal with no kids allowed. That can't be right surely, not being able to attend your own kindy orientation! I began to look for alternatives. Finally I called a Community Kindergarten which is very popular and has just 20 spaces which I knew were filled, just in case... It turned out that someone has moved and everyone on the waiting list is happy with their alternative plans, so by a stroke of luck we were in. That was great. I started to feel better. Also being a Community Kindy we were not tied to a suburb, we still have a year to work out where we are going to live before we have to be settled for school.

I continued to be up and down for a while. I started to look for a new place for us to live, but nothing that was for sale seemed to grab me. Sure there were places that were OK, and when we looked at places that were more than I can afford there were places I liked. But finding a place I could afford, that was a house we'd like to live in, in a suburb that I thought we could stay for the long haul, seemed impossible. I looked at sold prices and could see it was possible, but nothing was around right now.

I considered all options, including building from scratch and some severe renovation projects. I got to know my suburbs, and my school catchments. I met someone who's husband is a glazier and so has good knowledge of places that you might not want to live. We looked at so many houses. We didn't find anything we liked but we did at least narrow it down to two suburbs, which are next to each other, one of which is home to the kindy BB is going to. We looked at every option within our price range in these two suburbs but there was nothing. So I decided we should give up on finding a place to buy, and start looking for a place to rent instead.

Renting is something I was avoiding as it will erode my capitol for buying. But here the costs of selling are around AUD$40,000, so it would be an expensive mistake to buy the wrong house, and for that amount of money we could rent for some years before we were worse off. Also, with the uncertainty about whether or not we will stay, renting was a good temporary option.

So renting it was.

At the same time, in my uncertainty, I turned to the Dharma. I started listening to some old podcasts of wisdom that have been on my phone for a while. Up until this point my only feedback on my feelings was from my fiends here, who really have no understanding at all of what it is like to move halfway across the planet. They live here, with their family all close by. They mocked my mind changing, told me that I think I too much and that I should just do it. They had no time for my sadness and uncertainty. But when I listened to a talk that included the line in it "without darkness nothing is born" it made me realise that darkness in such a period of change is inevitable, and that it was OK for me to feel sad, and to acknowledge that sense of loss that I am feeling, and to know that this moment too shall pass and that this choice was mine, carefully considered, and that it will be ok.

Another thing I have learned from moving around so much, is that viewing a place where you are living as temporary is not helpful. I did this in Kalgoorlie. The whole time I was there I viewed it as a temporary place. This impacted on the way I lived there. So much so that when I moved to Alice I made the conscious decision to commit to the place as my home. It made so much difference to my experience there, I threw myself in, became a part of the community, I still love that place today more than anywhere else I have lived, and I accept that at least part of the reason for that is my attitude and approach toward it. I wanted to do the same here. I don't want to be here thinking we might leave soon. I want to BE here. I want to find a place for us to live and to build our life here.

And so I set up appointments to view three rental places...

...and then on Wednesday we happened to drive by a house for sale.

A house I hadn't seen before, with an agent I had never heard of. And it was everything we wanted, with ocean views and solar panels and a rainwater system, and a huge yard, in a perfect location, in one of the two suburbs on our short list, and just about within our reach financially.

Within 36 hours I'd made an offer, done some negotiating, agreed a price and it will be ours - on 11th December

And so far it feels good.