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“Homeless” in Kansas

We moved out of our house on Friday and a lovely family with 2 young kids has moved in.

We could not have asked for a better situation, truly.  I am so grateful.  A family who lives in Japan is visiting Kansas until August of next year, which is when I plan to return with our children.  They do not want to purchase furniture or equip a home in Kansas and I do not want to pay to store all of our stuff.  Leaving the home furnished was a win-win.  The fact that they are such nice people is the icing on the cake.

We found them via a post on Nextdoor.  Someone knew someone who knew someone who we also happen to know and trust.  Small world.  The local, personal connection and perfect timing were not lost on me.  I see this as divine intervention and confirmation that the trip will be blessed!  Also, the mortgage will be covered, which is a huge financial help.

The new family is putting bunk beds in one bedroom and making a playroom in another bedroom.  They will rearrange furniture, stock food in the fridge, lounge in the hammock, cook burgers on the grill, and play in the yard.  They will settle in and make our home theirs.  It warms my heart to see a young family there enjoying the space.

Yet it hurts to say goodbye, and it puts us in a spot.  We are now Homeless.

We purchased our home 8 years ago from the bank.  It had been vacant for 9 months and was in need of some love.  We have poured blood, sweat, tears, and money into it.  The more we have cleaned, repaired, painted, planted, updated, and improved the space, the more emotionally invested we have become in our house-turned-home.

Someone else lives there now.  We must accept that and let it go.

So what now?  Where will we live?  I have spent countless hours trying to figure this out.

Furnished Corporate housing?  Unaffordable.

Hotels?  No kitchen.

Extended stay type hotels with kitchenettes?  Expensive and not much room for a family of 4 with 2 pets.

We have friends who have offered to house us, but one has asthma and can’t accept the dogs.  Another friend lives too far from the kids’ schools.  Another runs an in-home daycare and while she was generous to offer, we would be in the way.

We found an Airbnb in a suburban basement and thought we were good to go, but she double booked and we got bumped.

I had no idea it would be so complicated to find a place to live for 4 weeks before our move to Spain.

Thankfully, Daughter # 2 found another Airbnb near Stilwell.  It is a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom historic country cottage.  The antiques are super cute and the rural location is close to a highway, so we can get where we need to go.  Our daughters are delighted to see horses grazing in the front yard and around the perimeter of the property.  It is another world and as fall sets in, the changing leaves will be beautiful.

The Airbnb will be home for me and the girls for one month. Gonzalo will be here with us until October 12 when he leaves for Spain.  Then I will fly solo with the kids and pets for 3 weeks until we join him.  He will be tasked with finding housing for us in Valencia while staying with friends in Castellón de la Plana.

Our kids refuse to accept that the Airbnb or any place other than our house in Olathe is “home”.  I am more curious by nature and have struggled to be planted there.  I long for mountains and sea, for a year-round growing season and easier access to other continents.  Kansas City has been an uneasy fit for me in that regard.  However, it is only a 3 ½ hour drive to visit my family and is a very friendly, affordable, livable city with a wide range of neighborhoods and lifestyle options.

So where is home?  Is it “where the heart is” or where we ourselves make it so?  Some people are deeply rooted and grounded in a particular region or climate.  The desert or mountains or lake is their home.  Others may prefer tropical, continental or cooler climates.  Home may be where they grew up or where their family is.  For some, that means an urban environment.  Others prefer small towns or life in the country. Growing numbers of travel bloggers are choosing a more nomadic lifestyle.  Some cultures favor a more communal lifestyle with multiple generations sharing a home.  Others live in small, independent apartments.  We have a single-family suburban home.  Our neighbors, friends, and the kids’ schools provide a sense of community.

Leaving my home has me thinking more about what home means, what makes a home, and if the zip code (location) matters.  It does, of course, because where and how we live matters.  However, our preferences are all very personal and subjective.  Anything goes and to each his own.  The beauty is that we can choose.

However, this modern luxury of mobility and choice comes with its sorrows.  Uprooting and feeling homeless for a season is unsettling at an emotional, heart level.  We will be far away from a community of people we know and love.  As a family, we are in transition.  While we will find “housing” along the way, it will not be the same as “home”.

We will be living in or near Valencia, Spain for 9 months.  This will provide a home base for our travels.  With kids and pets, this seems like a better fit for us.  I do not want to live out of suitcases and burn up a lot of time figuring out the logistics of getting to and from new places all the time.  The nomadic lifestyle is definitely not for me.

My hope is that we can find housing that is: 1) in a location and environment that is pleasing for us, 2) can be furnished and arranged in a functional, comfortable and attractive manner, and 3) will allow us to connect with a supportive, local community of people who will become friends.

If our housing provides us with that, we will embrace it as our home, if only for a season.



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