Wednesday, May 31, 2006Making a Home
Currently we are living with my husband's family. We have just moved across the country and are in the process of renovating our new house. In the meantime we have a bedroom to ourselves here. My husband gets up early every morning and goes to work all day. He comes home a tired man, to his little room, our own private space in the house. As he doesn't have his house-"castle" to walk into every night and only has this little room, I try to make it as much a home as possible. I have drying roses on the walls, books stacked inside of a sideways wooden crate, laundry set into shelves and his shirts hanging from a rack...and I try to keep the bed made and the laundry sorted and folded so that we don't go insane. -It may be a small space, but we've made a little home here. Although it's pretty cramped at times, it's a cozy, peaceful little place where we keep the windows open to let in the smell of the fir trees and so that we can hear the rain and the wind coming through the Columbia River gorge at night as we fall asleep.
I recall when I was 18, still living with my family, and we had to live in our basement for a whole winter. We'd had a fire in our just-built house on our 55 acres of land, leaving the whole house black and smoke-damaged, with a gaping hole in the side of the kitchen. We all lived in a basement room together, sleeping on camping pads in our sleeping bags on the sides of the walls. We had to collect our dirty pots and pans and other dishes into a large plastic tote, then carry the tote through the black house to the kitchen sink to wash them. We moved a little electric stove into the room we shared, as well as a table and some chairs, and borrowed clothes and other necessities from friends. -Sometimes that winter we nearly went crazy with cabin fever, when we could see every speck of dust on the cement floor, when we were sick of the stinky morning smell after a night of forgetting to open the windows... It was hard. -Yet we made a really cozy home there, making paper snowflakes for the windows, putting candles on the walls and on the table, keeping clothes and books organized on pieced-together shelving. Outside the window we could see our snowy fieldsglistening on the moon-lit nights, and my brother and I would stay up late over cups of tea, studying and reading by candlelight while the others were snoring in their corners. We even had 2 dinner parties with about 15 extra people over for dinner! Oddly enough, some of my favorite memories of living on my family's land are from that winter.
When my husband and I were first married, it took us over 5 months to finish the construction projects around our apartment. We lived in our living room for the whole duration of the work, stumbling over paint cans lying around the house, cooking in an empty kitchen with no countertops...I'm sure many of you have had times like that in your own lives.
Whatever project we are amidst or whatever our living circumstances are, we can make a home out of barely anything, making a castle for our family just by keeping it cozy and clean. Through these odd circumstances, more memories are being made. Even now when I smell smoke on an old book that was with me that winter, it is pleasant to me!
~Sia writes from Vancouver, WA