Thursday, January 08, 2009

Here, there, everywhere: choices

Two places I am familiar with are part of my choice process. The first is beautiful New Hampshire or neighboring Vermont.This is a rural area with more trees than people. It is beautiful in the summer, fall and spring. In the winter it is isolated, frozen and cold. Blizzards happen and take out the electricity for weeks. New Hampshire is a poor state with inadequate (to my taste) libraries, little public transportation, and few health care options for the elderly. On the other hand there are a lot of artists and writers who live here. It's just that there are miles and miles of driving between artists. There are few stores which means I spend less money. That includes however, thrift stores where I bought the majority of my clothes on Cape Cod. I live in a very rural area at the moment, but there are some interesting larger towns such as Brattleboro which has a lot of arts and music things going on. Brattleboro though is almost out of my price range to own either a condo or house. However there are some houses on land of their own in the more rural areas that are in my price range. That is the major big plus about this area: possibly I could own my own home on private land.

This is beautiful Cape Cod, where I lived for 30 years. I didn't know I loved it here till I left for a year! The pluses are: I could buy a small, bottom level condo in a town here. There is great beauty, the ocean, friends of many years, lots of artists and writers, film festivals, galleries, wonderful bookstores and numerous health food stores, many therapeutic massage people and hands on healers of all sorts, including my herbal practitioner. Many opportunities to take classes and workshops including arts and yoga. A fabulous library system. Lots of agencies who tend to the elderly (something to take into consideration now that I am 63). Tons of thrift stores with gorgeous often new clothes to purchase for pennies. The negatives are: living is expensive. Food costs more as it must come "over the bridge." I cannot afford a house of my own with land. There is no public transportation should I ever be unable to drive. Hurricanes occasionally arrive causing destruction.

A third option that has arisen is to purchase a friend's house in North Dakota. She now owns a second house in town and lives there and so wants to sell this smaller house. I have never been to ND. The house for sale is cute and reasonably priced. Like NH, North Dakota is isolated, has cold and snowy winters and is a "poor" state with, I am assuming, not a great library system (in this town anyway). I am not sure about the services for the elderly. Nor the access to artists, workshops and classes, yoga, alternative health practitioners, thrift stores etc. My friend loves living in this town and is trying to start an artists retreat there.

Of course there is also the rest of the USA and world to consider. I am not sure if I am brave enough to explore these larger options re: places to live. Although I am encouraged by other bloggers stories of how they found new places and moved there and are very happy. I also have two dependents to consider: Miss Emily and Bibbitty.

Plus, if I want to place all my things in my storage unit, and board my cats, I could travel. I have been invited by one blogger to visit her home. These are a few things on my radar screen at the moment. Thanks for listening. Love, Suki

Do any of you, dear readers, have stories of finding a new place to live? How were you brave enough to do it! How did it work out? What were your first steps?


Annie said...

Oh, Suki, this is very exciting and scary too. I vote for Cape Cod, it sounds wonderful. I moved to Taos 13 years ago after visiting one time. I knew no one and had no money or job. However, with a little help from my mom, I moved here and after a bit of a rough start I have done just fine. Everything works out. Now I am thinking of a move to the Oregon coast :-). Follow your heart and you can't go wrong.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I live in my fairytale cottage, but only after agreeing to move without ever setting foot in the place. I trusted God and my husband, though I was NOT happy to be moving from my rose-covered cottage near the coast.

I encourage you to choose "quality" over all else -- life should be enjoyed more than owned. Cape Cod has all the pros except for "size." Choose what will nurture your spirit most. Maybe living near your brother will provide that nurture . . . maybe near the sea . . . possibly in a vast land like ND? (ND wouldn't be my choice . . . I have relatives in the SD/ND lands -- too much scope and not enough nourishment for me).

How exciting to step onto a new path. Where will it lead? New sights? Familiar embraces? Excitement? Travel? Cozy root-growth? You have so many choices!!!! I hope you can have a bit of this, some of that, a trip here, an ocean breeze there . . . but most of all PEACE.

Prayers for you, my friend. : D

Mary said...

you have some wonderful and interesting choices to make. so hear's my one question....what is your goal in finding a home? once you know that fully in your heart you'll know where to go....

one other thought...making decisions while grieving may not be your best moment....i know this one first hand. sometimes we don't realize how much we are grieving and how much our vision can be skewed. good luck with all this!

Mary said...

that should have been 'here's' not 'hears'...i do pretend to be somewhat literate ;-)

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Right on target! I'd take it to the next level. Seriously, contact Chamber of Commerce, subscribe to local newspaper, contact Real Estate people with clear inquiries, be prepared for a one night over to talk with shopkeepers, coffeehouses,art league all focused on this Brattleboro.Knowing the snow needs to melt before the whole picture is clear. Maybe a town in Mass. like Brattleboro but near Cape Cod and your friends. Stick to your list and even refine it a bit...what you don't want etc. I would suggest to surprice yourself and pick a state that has your values...North Carolina...cities surrounding the triangle of Research Park....Durham, Raliegh and Chapel Hill or Ashville? or a great University town in Wisconsin. No decision has to be made but a serious inquiry will guide you to what you really want. (I believe) I agree with Mary, this moving is in and around your grieving so don't rush decisions but looking, planning cant't hurt and might lift your spirits. This kind of search reminds me of the phase in art making when one gathers materials. It can be very interesting! Let me know!

sukipoet said...

Hi annie. You were so brave moving to Taos after that one visit. How exciting you are contemplating another move back home! It sure is a beautiful place.

Debbie Thanks for sharing your story of moving sight unseen. That's a good idea to choose quality over ownership. That is part of the debate I go through. Do I opt for a house but in an area I'm not that crazy about.

There are almost tooo many choices. Thanks for your thoughts.

Kim said...

Wow Suki, you have a lot on your plate there. I cannot say I have had experience in just picking a place and going with it. I have always been told by someone or some organization where I would be living (and as you know that has happened a lot). For me, I am not sure if I could make a choice when I had not visited some area before and spent time there, but I can imagine it could work out great.

I have never been to Cape Cod, but I can imagine it would be excellent living. I have spent some time in Vermont and think if I wanted to stay in the northeast, I would choose there to be sure. I have been through ND in the winter and visited SD. It would be very different for you there and the winters and summers on the prairie can be amazingly extreme. I cannot address what life would be like for an artist in ND.

You know I adore travel, but remember in the end you need a place to return.

You have talked a lot about missing the Cape and that seems very meaningful. You know Vermont well, too. Oh there are so many choices. I agree that following your heart is the right thing. The decision you make will be the right one.

Thank you, Suki, for sharing your journey with us.

sukipoet said...

Mary thanks for your thoughts that I should not rush into anything. My goal is for one not to have to move every year at the whim of a landlord. Also, to have a pleasant place for my cats. And myself of course. There are other goals but i may do them in another post.

Exactly Blue Sky. I am gathering materials. Of course I have done this half a dozen times in the past ten or more years and never made a move at all until I had to leave the 217 County road rental. Brattleboro is quite close and in some ways I am quite familiar with the town. And in fact a few yrs back did contact a realtor and looked etc. The only negative is the cold and rather high prices. At any rate, right now I receive emails from realtors on the Cape and also in this area including Bratt although no new updates on this area availabilities recently. Thank for all your detailed ideas though, very helpful.

Cynthia said...

Suki, I think you want to move to Cape Cod and its a good decision. Who cares if you live in a condo? It's comfortable and has less upkeep, which means more time for your art. Plus plenty of stimulation from your circle of friends and the surrounding community. See, you sold me.
I have made major moves but as I get older, I'm thinking I should be practical. Not that I don't appreciate adventure, it's just that I want to be independent and not ask for too many favors. As you know, I'm in Puerto Rico now and another big move would involve a lot of adjustment. Someday maybe...It seems as if your second choice is Vermont though you don't give details, however, Vermont is beautiful and has interesting people. Your talking yourself out of New Hampshire and North you probably don't want to go there. (Just reading between the lines, Suki, I wrong?)

sukipoet said...

Cynthia, I think I can make Cape Cod sound so good because I lived there for 30 years and know all the good things, which I havent discovered yet up here in NH as i have only been here a year and I am slow and shy. Vermont is nice, at least that town I mentioned which is also near Eastern Mass another interesting place. But actually I dont see all that much difference between Vt and NH landscape wise. And weather wise. You may be right, however I also feel I am just thinking and contemplating right now and have to do more reality testing. Thanks, Cynthia.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Maybe you ought to pick a point in the middle of where you are so you would be close to you son and cape cod so you can get to visit more often.
Right now home prices are down and it is a buyers market. So you might be able to get something repossed cheap. We moved to Oregon because my Dad wanted to move here to retire. And I was fed up living in a small condo with close neighbors. Dad died before we had a chance to buy something here. It just so happened we had made a trip here and met up with a Friends sister who hooked us up with a reator and the rest is history. Both of our places in CA were in escrow when he died so we had no options but to move. We just couldnt aford CA to retire in. And we are happy with our choice. But having friends helped alot.

Mim said...

Brattleboro is wonderful, but to me the ocean is therapeutic, invigorating, relaxing, and brings a peace to my soul that I simply can't get elsewhere. ND has no ocean but is supposed to be beautiful - and remote and cold.

Aside from ocean or mountains - I think that community is the most important - which community are you most comfortable with.

Teri C said...

You are really doing a great job on pros and cons Suki. I have never even been to Cape Cod but it sounds perfect to me. I can say this, Dakota would not even be on my list of consideration!

Best of everything to make the right decision. Do you ever just get a feeling and know it is the right thing to do? I usually go with my heart.

patti said...

Very exciting plans Suki. I love the sound of Cape Cod mostly because of community which is so important, the infra-structure you speak of and simply because you love it there so much.

It may be expensive, but there are always ways to save money and when you are happy in yourself, this comes easily.

You may be surprised after further research that you can afford something better, something that fits you exactly. Begin imagining this new place in detail - see yourself receiving the keys from the realtor and saying thankyou!

studio lolo said...

Dear Suki,
I'm feeling you need to be back on the Cape with Emily and Bibbity. Settle in for a while and then have an old friend look in on your cats while you travel. They'll be in the comfort of your home and friends, and you'll have peace of mind and a sense of place again.
Look at me acting as if I know you and telling you what you should do! I apologize, really. I just see you back on the Cape again because you bring it up often. I also love the Cape and can see your reasons why you'd consider going back.
My husband and I moved out here to Calif fifteen years ago because he felt like he had "done Rhode Island." (That's where he's from and where we lived for 5 years.) I gave up my friends and my art connections and a good job. We struggled for the first 5 years out here. It was really hard. Now he's miserable and depressed because he misses Rhode island and wants to be back there more than anything. Once again I'll be leaving good friends, I've already closed my studio, and now I'll have to give up my business and work for close to minimum wage again when we go back. And now I'm 55, not 40. And jobs are scarce. He's a reporter and newspapers are a dying business. Besides, I don't think he could keep up the pace anymore, not with a daily. He currently works for a produce publication and it's all fluff/PR and he works from home.
What I'm getting at is I know I'll be facing a big struggle again myself, but I honestly think it will all work out somehow. Old friends will welcome us both back with open arms. I can get a job at any vet I walk into. (I've already called a few and sent my resume.) But part of me is so afraid that "home" will feel so foreign to me after all these years. And the weather...ugh.
So I guess that's why I'm so focused on your situation. I feel the same pull in different directions. And I'm certainly thinking of my cat and dog in every decision I make, yet deep down I'm a bit nervous too. I guess we both just have to have faith that things will fall into place and that our eyes will remain wide open so no opportunity goes by.
~peace and hugs~

Jude said...

I know nothing.... but reading you post, it jumped out at me.... you want to live in Cape Cod.

sukipoet said...

Cris, I agree that when moving to a new place it is easier if you have friends there to ease the transition. To be halfway between the Cape and my son would perhaps place me in Western Mass. There is no place in Eastern Mass that is appealing except maybe Boston. But not affordable. glad to hear you are happy with your choice. I wish kinda that I had someone else to chose with, ie a partner who would be living with me and easing the move somewhat. But I have to chose all alone. Actually I dont think I have ever chosen a place all by myself, always in relation to another. Thanks for sharing.

Mim, you are probably right to focus on community. Of course on the Cape i have the community that evolved for me over 30 years. I havent had time to build up a community here. I do think Brattleboro would jive with me, but I just again scanned their real estate options and nothing fits my pocketbook.

KIm How did i miss your comment? Thanks for all your reflections on moving. As I noted above, I have actually never chosen a place to move to all by myself with no other person taken into consideration. Unless you count my winter rental after 217 and between now at Mom's. It is hard to chose for oneself alone. But I think it will make me strong, just to make a choice, any choice and go with it and see what happens.

Kim one thing about a condo on Cape Cod is that I could do "home exchanges" in the summer and travel that way. I dont think to many people want to do home exchanges in NH or Vt though maybe they would in Brattleboro which was voted on of the best art towns a few years ago. thanks for sharing Kim, I know you have a lot of experience with moving, for sure. With all the disruption etc though I know too you have said you love to move.

sukipoet said...

Teri, good advice to go with my heart. ND would not be in my list of places either except my college friend S. lives there and has this cute little house for sale. Otherwise, it is out of my purview.

Patti, that is good advice to imagine the place, the realtor handing me the key. Included in that I will imagine a friend going with me when I sign the papers etc. I made offers about 15 years ago on severall houses but then I backed out. I need someone to help me not give in to my fear. there seem to be a lot of condos available on Cape Cod right now and not much available up here in NH and VT.

sukipoet said...

Laurel, thanks for relating a bit of what you are going through. Rhode Island! wow, that is territory I am somewhat familiar with. Have a friend in Newport. Yes, a big change from California for sure. At least you know people in the area and it will not be completely strange although I have to say every time I visit the Cape it seems to have changed greatly from my last visit sometimes only 6 months before. Sounds like the imminent move for you brings up so many things and losing friends and contacts is quite difficult (at least it would be for me).

I agree with what you say about grounding myself though by settling in somewhere before i travel and just having someone stop in to feed the cats etc which is always what I've done in the past. I have never put them in to board when i go away. Lots of food for thought Laurel. Thank you. And i send you prayers and blessings as you gear up for your move back east.

sukipoet said...

Hi Jude, well I wouldnt say you know nothing, as it sounds like you have moved a number of times yourself. I can always wax enthusiastic about Cape Cod. At least now that i am no longer there. It does have lots of assets, it is a smallish place with lots of country/nature feel to it and lots of artists and writers and creative types and also in place famous scientific types (Woods HOle). An interesting meld.

kj said...

i think one big factor is to place yourself around friends and activities. i don't hear a call for solitary isolation in your words. so it's a community you'll be choosing....

i also "feel" the most joy from your words about the cape. i certainly understand that! could you rent/stay with friends there for a season or two, travel abit too, and see how you feel?

blessings and faith to you suki. even though this is reason enough for knocking knees, it's also very exciting.


sukipoet said...

Thanks so much KJ. I probably wax enthusiastic about the Cape as I know so much about it and also it is sooo beautiful. I have spent the last 4 1/2 wandering around from rental to rental and then up here w/Mom with no fixed "home" and think I am wanting to take the plunge into committing to a "home." I have not done that and feel that is my "task." THEN I can maybe travel around etc etc. Thanks for your suggestions, sensings and kind words.