Gosh, I cannot believe how fast time flies. It was like, we were at Kristians house and I was planning on writing about our experience and then next thing I know we've back at home for maybe almost a month?! I don't know, time is a crazy, crazy thing. Also, me not posting this sooner could be due to the fact that I wrote this post already ten million times in my head--- weeks ago. But of course, here we are with basically all the main talking points thrown somewhere in a filing cabinet, far-farrrrr into the deep trenches of my brain. But of course, that is life.
We're home. As you guys of course know. Unless you're sitting here thinking, "you're home? What do you mean?" because you never knew we left. It's totally possible. Daily blog reading doesn't seem to be a common thing for folks anymore. So maybe you know, maybe you don't, but we packed up the family and left our home for a little over a month (about a month and a half). And in this time we rented out our home to strangers. And as my title says, it didn't suck. Not really at all actually.
I learned a few things in the process and confirmed a lot of other things that I thought I knew about myself.
I think the hardest part was the beginning. As I mentioned, I sort of list our house on a whim. I didn't even mention here (or anywhere on social media) that I was listing our house. I just wanted to see what would happen. Well, within about 5 days, we were basically booked out for the entire month. This would have been completely fine, had we been prepared and knew were we would be staying. One of the hardest things for me is asking someone for help. With this though, I don't know, I didn't have a problem with it. Mostly because of the ridiculousness of it. Had we actually been put out without a home, maybe then I would have felt bad. But this was more of a "haha look what Drea did here" moment. For Alex, it was still hard though. But I told him from the beginning, he didn't have to be any part of it. He could be wherever he wanted. Btu he stuck it out and joined the group and I didn't fight it. I think it was good. I could see that he wasn't maybe completely pleased about the situation, but he was a good sport-- or tried to be ;) He's not really as good at shift and change as Marlowe and I are. He needs the set schedule, everyday. Basically the reason why he has a job where he knows his hours and nothing will ever change and the reason why I could never do that and essentially live the freelance life. Sure, I enjoy waking up every day and following my basic routine before I start my day (water, probiotics, breakfast, and sunshine). But outside of that, I like to be flexible and I like the hustle and energy in shifting where I need to shift. So for me, this was basically just another trip--- except only about two miles down the road. But Like I said, Alex was a good sport. And once we figured out where we would stay and actually got there, he felt better too.
We're lucky Kristian let us stay with him. I'm grateful for amazing friends. And his amazing house, haha. As soon as I got in I basically reorganized everythinggggg for him. Day one: his fridge. Day two: his kitchen shelves. Day three: the pantry. Etc. I wanted to make myself useful in his home-- I guess basically a barter if you will. He let us stay there, I cleaned up his 5 year old expired pantry food. Win win.
I learned (or confirmed) that I am superrrr trusting of people. I really do believe people are inherently good. A lot of my friends thought I was nuts to leave so many of my personal belongings in my house, but I didn't worry about it at all. I even left my computer the first few days. But later removed it when I realized someone had gone through my drawers looking for the mouse. The computer wasn't intended to be used--- so I just did the easiest thing: moved it out of my house, haha. Outside of a suitcase and a small box of toys for Marlowe, we left everything in our house. We had just done a MASSIVE purge of our house a few months before, so we didn't have much clothes left in our home anyway. Most of our clothes can fit into a few suitcases pretty easily. This month away also confirmed that even though I had already gotten rid of A LOT of stuff, I really could live off even less. I think I brought about ten tops total, two pairs of jeans, and one pair of shorts and I was more than fine.
Buttttt I also learned that I'm completely lost on footwear in my life. The only reason I had/have so many shoes is because I never know what to wear. Ever since my Guatemala shoes broke, my feet have been lost. Ideally I'd like to get my shoes closet down to 5 pairs. The reality is that even 5 pairs seems excessive now, but I don't need more.
Getting away also confirmed that I often do feel to cluttered in our home. The space itself is bigger than we need, but the layout of the bedrooms + the smaller windows make the space feel tight to me. I never really get jealous of other peoples spaces-- no matter how amazing they are-- but I do struggle with window envy. Thats a thing right? No? Well, for me it is. I stare at peoples windows thinking how wonderful it would be to have more + larger windows in my space. When we first got back to our house, I was happy to be home-- and I mean, I am still happy to be home, but I am quickly getting that cluttered feeling again. I'm not really sure how to counter that more. Maybe I just need to clean more again. I don't know. We'll see.
It wasn't too hard to stick to my eating plan while we were away either. From the beginning I said, that I didn't want this for us to be an excuse where we eat out more. That I wanted us to still cook and eat at home like we do... well... at home. I think it reallyyyy helped that I like Kristian's kitchen more than mine, haha. Again, it's the windows and open space. I think one of the best things was that Kristian did get to eat more home cooked food too :) I mean, it was often at 2 am when he would start digging for the leftovers-- but whatever. I'm just happy he got to reach for healthy food while we were there :) And especially happy that he asked for my smoothie recipe when we left :) Oh! So one thing I definitely learned was that for me, I don't have a lot of attachments, yes, I knew that. I can get rid of all my things, my clothes, whatever. But I definitely learned that my blender has a special place in my heart and in my life. I didn't see that one coming at all, but a high speed blender really makes my life that much better. Super superficial, sure. Life can go forth and be wonderful without a blender, but man, a high speed blender really made our meals that much easier. Really, if you're looking to invest in one good kitchen tool: get yourself a high speed blender. We got this one (refurbished), but any high quality high speed blender can add magic to your kitchen. Seriously. Any of these (lower priced options) are great too: (In order of price) one, two, three, four.
One thing that was awesome to see and experience was Marlowe during this time. I know I mentioned that one of her favorite movies is the Minimalism documentary-- but I knew this would really put her love for the idea to the test. She basically got to pack up a small box with things to bring to the house. She brought: three tiny stuffed animals, two or three coloring books and some coloring tools. And she was happy. Very happy. I know kids don't need much more than a good imagination to be happy-- but it was really good seeing that in her. She made villages out of card board boxes, paper boats to float in the pool, paper airplanes to throw, and colored often. She was good. She came back to our house twice (ish) and she would play with her legos in her room as we cleaned. And overtime we went back Id be sure to ask if she needed anything or wanted anything, but she never did. Eventually we did bring her legos to Kristian's house (not sure who's idea that was) and she played with those often. When we came back home after the month and the half I asked her if there was any more things she wanted to part with. I always remind her that it's totally up to her-- she can keep what she wants and what makes her happy-- but if she doesn't need it, that its good to give it to someone who does. And she ended up deciding to give away even more of her things. Yeah, I'm proud of her. It just feels really, really good to have a kid, who at the age of six understands that it takes very little to be happy and that buying more and more things doesn't equate to more and more happiness.
We spent a lot of time outside. We do at home too, but I got to spend more time outside there because there are less mango trees surrounding Kristian's house. I don't get to spend as much time in our backyard in winter because of all the trees. But it's fine. At home we do eat breakfast and often lunch right on our front porch.
I've lived in a lot of places. I was always the type that wanted to feel settled, instantly. And despite the fact that I don't feel attached to anyone place and I could move from place to place often, I still am. I would move into apartments, and within one day need to make it feel like home. I would organize the little (or many) things I did have. I would find a place for each object. Unpack, hang, and clean each thing. And today, I still do this. Whether we're in someone's home, an Airbnb, or a hotel, I do this. I settle, quickly. I can find comfort easily, with as much or as little as I have--- though I often find more comfort with less. Because less things to settle would bring less stress to me. I lived in beautiful houses and pretty shitty ones too-- but I've made them all beautiful homes regardless. Kristian's place obviously didn't need to be made beautiful-- he's got a gorgeous house that he's turned into a beautiful home. And I didn't need to organize or clean or really do much of anything (though I obviously did). But this experience was good because while I knew that I good at these things (making home and finding happiness with little personal things)-- it was nice to learn that my family could manage in this way too.
I'm not sure how much clutter builds up in our lives. Tangible and intangible clutter. But it does--- usually often and quickly. And I'm not, in anyway the poster child for minimalism--- look at my home- - there are books and plants and pillows and things everywhereeeee. But I am happy to see the change in myself and I don't need to part with everything I own overnight to prove that to myself. I can see it and feel it. I don't make whim purchases (I almost never have with clothes, but it was pretty standard in the home good department)-- I pick something up and find beautify in it-- and see it fitting into my life-- but then I take a step back and know that while it may be beautiful and while it might bring my a moment of joy--- I don't need it in the bigger picture. Overall, my bigger picture is good (great) without it.
And for our house? Well, we came home and it was like we never really left. Everything (other than one broken pot) was intact. Our guests loved our home, left us amazing and colorful thank you letters, and we in some way, we are now part of their family memories too. Would we do it again? Totally. But maybe next time it'll be more planned--- so I don't have to pick up my family and move us out of our home so quickly ;) We'll do it when we travel. And next time, if you guys are interested, I'll let you know here too :) Our home is your home.
oh also, we still don't have a tv--- but I also learned-- man a tv is useful when you're sick. I was sick that whole last week we were there (with that food poisoning or whatever I got), and Gilmore girls was on often when Marlowe would get home school. It was amazing--- but I learned (confirmed) that I still have no desire to get a tv for our own home :)
I hope you guys had an amazing weekend. The weather was amazinggggg over here. We farmers market-ed, homeschooled, ate loads of fruit, and enjoyed the sun :)