After four weeks of fruitless househunting our faith and plans are challenged when we see yet another house that we don’t like or that doesn’t suit our criteria. It almost feels impossible at times.
We had big hopes for a house in La Penne that we saw last Tuesday. Teis found the add and it looked like a fairytale…somewhere over the rainbow. And it was somewhere over the rainbow. It was placed in the beginning of the Alpes 1-2 hours drive from Nice. After going up, up, up through mountain roads you drove down into a green valley where a different landscape suddenly appeared. Soft, green hills backdropped by the majestic mountains. The small road to the house was planted with platan trees. Big shadowy platan trees pouring sun spots all over the road. We parked on the grass next to one of the trees and reached the house that seemed smaller and more cozy than on the pictures. A 17th century old manor house, once the annex of a castle with prison cells in the cellar, since a big Italian family house and now a château owned by two Dutch couples, renting it out for holidays and weddings. It was in three storeys, some of it not to well renovated, but not the worst we’ve seen. It had all the rooms we need, a big terrain, a beautiful view over the mountains and the charm that only old buildings have. There were work to do, but also possibilities of going ahead with it as it was. We imagined a beautiful terrasse placed a small walk from the house. The dew in the grass on an early morning, when guests walk across the terrain to start the day with yoga watching the clouds lifting from the surrounding mountains. Taking a swim in the morning light overlooking the sheeps grassing the valley in a morning mist before breakfast and Autumn dinners in front of the fireplace with mushrooms we found the same day. So many dreams and ideas could come to life at this place. And it truly did have all the nature and quiet we dreamt of. But. Of course there is a but. The road to get there. And the roads to go anywhere from there, were steep mountainside roads. Even though Teis did the driving, and he’s good at driving, my heart jumped when I looked down the crazy heights to my right. The small and very charming villages literally hung on the cliffside. We didn’t pass any supermarkets on our way in or out of that area and we could barely find a place to eat. It was just too far off from anything. We might succeed in getting people to come there and have a good time and in that way our worklife could be good. But for us to live there having to drive over mountains to get to anything my stomach ached by the mere thought.
It was a tough day. Dreams were cast away and our hopes were down for a while. We’ve seen so many places and they never come out perfect. But as always hardship has it’s lessons. I know now where my limit goes in means of civilisation versus nature’s isolation. It’s really pretty for a visit, but living there, I just couldn’t see myself in it. Having to drive an hour to reach the supermarket or maybe one of the kids’ friends or leisure activity. It occurred to me that life is so much more than where you live. It’s also the transportation between all the things you do everyday. And what I really loved about Copenhagen and Vesterbro, where we lived, was that we could walk to everything. All Aya’s friends lived around us, you could find anything within a walk’s or a bike’s distance. It really is something worth treasuring in daily life. And I did. I loved walking to kindergarten and to school with the kids. I also look forward to driving them or seeing them get on a schoolbus, when we settle here. Everything has it’s time. Now I know that the traffic and the ugly shops and malls that sometimes irritate me here in Fayence or especially when getting closer to Nice or the Riviera has it’s upsides despite the lack of aesthetics. It was good to feel nature’s beauty and isolation and come to deeply appreciate the bustling side of life.
We’re back in business again. We’ve changed our perspective and the idea of having a big place with enough outside space for people to stay for a longer time, enjoy the view and spend time with activities or just relaxing to the idea of a smaller place where the food might play a bigger role. If we’re placed more centrally there’s a good chance that Teis can draw customers from the area to come and eat at his table d’hôte. And maybe in time he will be able to offer both lunch and dinner or start a restaurant. Who knows. We still need around 6 guest rooms to be able to have a stable economy. At least that’s what we’re calculating at now. There is also the possibility of me getting a job. I have to look into that. It has always been a possibility but I keep coming back to the original thought of Teis and I working together, starting the B&B and having time with the kids in the beginning at least. But maybe when it’s up and working it would be nice to have other possibilities. After all it’s not my dream job to be a cleaning lady, whereas Teis dreams of cooking food all day long. It would feel more secure to be placed within reach of a highway and cities where I could find work. It all opens possibilities. The challenge is to find a house we like and that is big enough for a B&B in this area. Last time we found a house we liked and who had the possibilities of development we need, we discovered that on the other side of the road there was a cow’s shed smelling pretty farmlike most days. Not to good a combination with B&B.
I thought we would be able to find some compromises, but it’s really not that easy. You don’t want to buy something and throw a lot of money in it, if deep down you don’t like it yourself. We have to be patient and keep searching, keep working, keep our minds open. Hopefully it will all fall into place, but we don’t have much control over it. We try to take it one day at a time and stay open. There are no quick fix in this and we really can’t make any big decisions at this point. It’s waiting time.