For years we lived outside of a small town, in a small canyon in a cozy yurt and RV. Our three small children had their grandparents a holler away and we had tea almost every afternoon with my mom. We picked our fruit from the endless trees my dad had planted when I was a child, and played outside all the time. I rearranged the yurt and RV constantly, trying to find a comfort of home and a sense of calm space. The yurt and RV were extreme opposites; the round wood and canvas room verses a rectangular plastic box. It would frustrate me to no end, but the mountains around us made it hard to want to move.
When our youngest was three we realized our need for a more cohesive space and packed up our things to moved into town. It took about a year and a half before we were truly settled in a wonderful home. The home was everything I could have wanted, it was the dream I’d had for so many years—a run down gem on a half acre with so much potential I had to hold in my squeals of delight. That was a sweet time, willing our home to life, daydreaming of the next project, and loving that house like a baby. It was my baby; I still tell people that house was my baby. If you were there you would understand why.
During that patch of life we held a small homeschool program with a dear, dear friend of ours. It was “school house in the woods” like with the big boys (older brothers) outside learning at the long table while I sat inside with the middle size girls sewing, knitting and learning cursive. The littlest ones would spend their morning doing outdoor games or nature projects with my husband. Then we would swap and the littles would come to me and the middles would go out to the table and the big boys would play basketball or some capture the flag like game with my husband. It sounds dreamy to me when I write about it, and there certainly was a lot of dreamy aspects—the charm factor always took my breath away—but the day to day, even if it was part time, wore patients thin and we realized after two years we were complete in our adventure.
It was that next summer that we almost became involved in a restaurant endeavor. A project that, although had roots to our family in a way no other restaurant could, would have been such a commitment the idea now makes me exhale a sigh of relief. It could have been amazing, and I don’t believe it would have gone sour, but the up hill battle it would have taken to get there was little shy of needing and army. With that prospect looming over our heads we decided to head north and visit our friends and a town we had planned on moving to for over ten years. It had always been a back of the mind thought, a conversation we would have and then leave, re-kindle and then drop. We drove for two days and arrived at dusk to play Frisbee in the park with our friends. As we progressed up the I5 the pine trees began to make their presence and the curves of the Oregon highway felt like we were heading home. (Interlude: we did live in oregon for a very short spell eleven years before).
Our trip was wonderful; picnics at parks and time with amazing friends. We returned home with mixed feelings but a definite weight of intention on the side of moving. For the sake of it, I googled schools and found one that to me was a perfect fit. After a phone call to the office I learned they had room for all three kids. This was remarkable as charter schools are always jam-packed and waitlists can take forever. To me this was the sign and we rallied our selves to be ready to move.
Only weeks later we were packed, squeezed and piled into our cars. We drove north again, but this time knowing a new home was waiting for us. It was a shock to us all, the extremeness of the turn around, the rush to be ready, the heaviness of leaving family and friends behind. I would think often of how pioneers must have felt, leaving their homes to go to unknown territory, probably to never see their family or friends again. It made me feel better; I knew it was only a few tanks of gas and a gruesome amount of hours for us to be home, hugging my mom or my dad and smelling that mountain sage air.
Portland is a fabulous city. We found a culture that we are at least remotely in tune with. Of course anywhere and everywhere has its reality, but we feel a sense of home we have been yearning for and struggled to locate.
Since being here massive amounts of forward motion have me exhilarated. I have managed—probably mostly due to my children finally being of an age where I can find time—able to refine and finish numerous children’s books I had made years before, started our own food business, which has been my desire since I was a wee lass, and the kids are in a school I genuinely love.
I feel settled, minus feeling squeezed for a need for more yard, and happy to be here.
Wasabi Honey Bee has been a project I have kept for years. It is part journal, part letter to friends, part connection to the world. I hope to keep it as a window and continue to log bits and pieces of what’s happening.
Thanks for reading!