Who would have thought that this humble little bach that we call home could ever hold such contentment and joy for me as it does now.
Certainly not me.
The weekend we moved in here, all I remember is crying.
The state of the building and the size of the place meant that the Real Estate Agent assumed we would demolish this little bach and build something new.
What he didn't realise was that we were beaten down from 2 years of spending a large portion of our income and too much emotional energy on a section we had bought in the area; a section that we originally thought would save us money rather than cost us more than we could ever have imagined.When we had bought the section we were optimistic; we were on a single income, we were good at living on the smell of an oily rag and we were comfortable with building a very simple abode. Naievely we couldn't imagine that a floor, four walls and a roof would cost that much.
The section we had bought was steep, we knew that might be tricky but that too we thought we would find ways of managing.
Again, we were optimistic and had no reason not to be - things had always worked out for us in the past.
Ahem! And that's when the story changed direction :)
Quickly our naieve optimism bowed to the demands of reality; the reality of a single income carrying weekly mortgage and hefty rental payments.
This is where the story's appeal declines rapidly:)
To cut a long (3 years) and tedious story short, we eventually discovered that we couldn't even pitch a tent on site to live in without building a retaining wall and by then we had no money or energy.
We put it on the market.
So what the Real Estate Agent didn't realise when he assumed we were a lovely middle-class family with plans for a build, was that there was no money for anything other than the necessities.
What he didn't realise was that this little rundown bach was all our family could manage (at a stretch) and we needed it badly so as to gather together again, regain our strength and restore some harmony. We were in dire need of nurturing something that would grow and we hoped it would nurture us in return.
The weather was shocking the Summer we moved; so cold that during that first weekend we lit the fire. The house was cold, the walls and carpet were grey and I cried.
I cried in fear for my severly stretched relationship with my dear partner Gunter.
I cried for the close friends I had left and the lose of the close community we had been immersed in.
I cried with worry for my children who had to bare the brunt of such a testing time.
I cried in fear of having to give up on our vision for giving our girls a childhood free of school so as I could help pay the bills.
I cried because at 40 I had just bought a bach, nowhere near as sound as the first house I had scrimped around and wiggled my way into at 24 years of age.
A Pity Party was the order of the day.
It has been one of those seasons of life when you wonder how on earth you ended up in this place without a soul to blame and seemingly without solution.
It's certainly been a long road to fully accept that life plays out differently than what we might have planned.
And yet there you are.
It seems that being fully present in whatever place you find yourself is really the only solution there is.
It certainly is the only place where my life is taking place and that is where I want to be even with the grief and discomfort.
Very little has changed in reality - the section is still on the market, we still have little for extras - and yet everything has changed because finally the story in my head has changed.
This bach has been the bearer of so many unexpected gifts, the biggest being that it's size and simplicity reminds us to live humbly.
Cultivating humility undercuts this culture which screams "me, me, me" endlessly and ultimately frees us from keeping up with the race.
Living with little reminds us to be grateful for the many things that really matter in our lives - our family, our friendships, our freedom, our health.
And slowly we rebuild our internal compass, we let go of comparisons and expectations (my on and others), and we continue to wake up to our very own lives before us and the beauty they behold.