The past two weeks have been spent checking out rental possibilities in the Charlottesville area, and more packing of course.
The college town of Charlottesville has plenty of apartments and condos for rent, but finding a three bedroom home that fits our budget has not been easy.
We have made several trips to look at rentals and came down to three houses to choose from. One was in a gated neighborhood surrounding a lake. It had a pretty kitchen, beautiful sunroom and gorgeous lake views. But I had concerns about the third bedroom in the basement – not a very cozy situation, and with a musty odor I decided it wouldn’t work for my asthmatic son. The other concern was that is was far from the majority of the homeschooling resources and support we need. We would be doing a lot of driving.
The other choice was a lovely townhouse inside the city of Charlottesville. It would have been tight, space-wise, but I think we could have made it work. The neighborhood itself was nice and included playgrounds, tennis courts and a pool for the community. But I have concerns about the safety of the girls playing outside on their own. I really want them to have the freedom to play outside without me hovering over them, and I just don’t feel comfortable in the city. The other concern was the size of the high school and the student to teacher ratio. Sean will be starting high school next year, and he expressed the preference for attending a smaller school.
And of course, we are trying to change our lifestyle. To me, the city townhouse represented more of the same for our current situation – more conveniences and opportunities to spend money.
So the third choice was a simple home 30-minutes outside Charlottesville. On four acres, surrounded by woods, within a nice neighborhood in Nelson County. The rent was a little more than we wanted, but we were able to negotiate a lower rate with the owners.
It will be a change for us to be certain. We are spoiled here in our large townhouse, with central heat and air-conditioning. Everything we need is a short 5 minute drive from us – post office, library, grocery, theaters, chain restaurants, big box stores, malls…
But I am looking forward to stepping out of our comfort zone and having new experiences and new challenges. Simple things like cutting wood for a fire to heat our home. Finding ways to stay cool with no central air. Having to sort and carry our own trash away, instead of putting it on the curb and having it taken away for us. Planning errands to keep our trips into town at a minimum.
This home represents a step away from where we are. To me, downsizing our life is more than just moving into a smaller space – it is also about living closer to nature – experiencing and not taking for granted the necessities of life. I am ready to embrace these changes, including the “inconveniences and discomforts”.
Some day we will feel these to be our new normal.
Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
~ Elise Boulding