Back in November, we bought a house. It was a bit unexpected and surreal in the way that things seem to go sometimes. We had just sold our house in Missouri and weren't seriously looking for a home in South Carolina. We told ourselves over and over that we didn't want to rush into anything because the year prior had its fair share of unplanned surprises and upheavals. As in, we hadn't planned to put our house in Missouri on the market and were content enough in our rental in South Carolina. But as things go, circumstances involving weather and timing caused some unplanned obstacles to arise that created stress and a burden we hadn't planned for. So on the market it went. And let me tell you, trying to sell a home when you live out of state is a whole kind of difficulty we did not anticipate. Within the first week, someone tried to steal our riding lawn mower that we had left there and over the next few months, our shed with an abundance of tools and other items was broken into multiple times. Several offers and contracts fell through and we would get our hopes up only to have them dashed again and again. But finally, the stars aligned and we got it under contract and through the myriad of hoops necessary to get the damn thing sold.
While all this was going on, I would peruse the Zillow Real Estate app on a daily basis. Mostly it was out of curiosity and to see what the market trends in our area were but I came across a house one day that literally made my heart squeeze and I remember thinking if the pictures were any indication, I knew we'd love the place. But then a few months later, it went off the market. I was extremely disappointed but Chris kept telling me that we didn't need to get ahead of ourselves anyway. We were thick in the middle of navigating offers and contracts so I tried to put that particular house out of my mind. I'm sure you can guess how well that went.
A few weeks before our house in Missouri was to close, I got a notification that the house I had been looking at was back on the market and I kept trying not to get too hopeful. A few months before, on the suggestion of a dear, dear friend, I sat down and wrote down everything I wanted in a home. I got still and visualized exactly what would make us feel at home. Now you must understand - I make a big distinction between the words house and home. The last few years of our life, with all its changes and moves, the places we lived in were simply houses. They didn't feel like home and I often didn't feel settled. I was restless and ready to be home. I felt kind of goofy doing the exercise but did it because I trusted my friend and knew the power of visualization from experience. I made an extremely specific list and then gave it over to the Universe and let it go with a prayer.
The weekend after we closed on our house in Missouri, I contacted the owner of the home I had fallen in love with over photos and we set up an appointment. I had this rising sense of joy and excitement I couldn't explain and Chris and I kept trying to temper it. We walked around for three days telling one another not to get too excited. But the moment we turned into the drive, I knew I was done. It felt like home.
We drove back in a kind of quiet fog because I think we both knew how badly we wanted to live in that house, to be in that place. But no one likes being set up for disappointment so to compensate, we acted extremely nonchalant about it. "If it works, it works. If not, there will be other houses on the market," we said over and over. We went back the next weekend for a more thorough walk-through and to walk the property lines. That afternoon we made an offer. And a day later, the homeowner rejected it. Weirdly, I wasn't that upset. Chris and I had already agreed to stick to our offer and I just had this gut feeling that things would work out. A week later, the homeowner accepted our offer.
I cannot tell you the joy we felt. It still blows my mind to think about the way things worked out and how it came together. How every time I pull into our drive, I feel at home. I feel peace. I feel a contentment and calm I was so desperately seeking.
We are tucked in on the side of a mountain, surrounded by tall trees, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and two creeks. We have apple trees that produced so many apples that it was hard to keep up. We have peach trees and a small barn and most days I sit on our porch swing and watch the colors fade over the mountains as the sun sets. We built a fence for the dogs and have been clearing brush. There are still many things I want to do to the inside of the house, but I am taking a slow and patient approach so that I buy things with intention and fill it with things that bring us joy. I let Simon out a few nights ago and stood on the porch, arms on the railing, looking at the stars, and listened for several minutes to a screech owl not far away. And my heart swelled and I was humbled and grateful that this is home.