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Finding balance

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February 28, 2024
 

Sunday September 3 - Brøttum

 

As so often on the episodes of the Dutch series Droomhuis Gezocht, the participants end up living in a different place than the three proposed houses. Unfortunately, the same thing happened to us. What happened?

Two weeks after the inspector checked the house, the report was finished. Tor forwarded it to us by email and wrote in thick block letters "THE REPORT IS NOT CORRECT, HOUSE VALUATION TOO LOW. We also see his reply to the inspector who gets the full scoop. The cabin is valued at €110,000, less than half what Tor has in his mind. Understandably, he is disappointed. Unfortunately, he also loses realism with this and refuses to lower his price. Meanwhile, we have had our own conversations with the municipality. It is not allowed to live in a cabin in Lillehammer. The procedure to change that takes a long time, is expensive and the outcome is uncertain, said the municipality official. It are too many red flags that make us decide to drop the cabin.

Our focus shifted to the yellow house with the beautiful view. The owner made us an offer to buy the house with a small piece of land around it. He wants €80,000 for it. We did our own math and consulted acquaintances. The house is a total renovation where only the outer walls and foundation can remain. A road even needs to be built to the house. Especially on the latter we snapped. The little path, an old cart track, is just what we like, but it is too steep to get up to the house, and that is a condition of the municipality to live there. Moreover, we are extra interested in the large piece of land, but the owner only wants to sell a small plot around the house. We know that he is a typical Norwegian farmer for whom every tree is expressed in euros and not in natural value. We already know what he will do with all the forest around the house. The yellow house also falls off. We are back at start, disappointed, full of doubt.
In a week, Pete and Trine will return home and we will be without a house. We don't know where we will live this winter.

 

Doubt and stress

When Pete and Trine return, we will leave for a month to Røros to prepare for our next adventure. We want to spend a few months next summer trekking through Norway with reindeer. We want to use them as pack animals and travel around as nomads, just like the Sami people used to do. In Røros live the southern Sami families and there we want to make the first contacts. We rent a mountain hut for a month and buy some time to find a place for the winter. Every day we look on the housing websites for rental houses, but our stomachs shrink at the idea of paying so much money to live in a city. That is not why we want to live in Norway. Time is slowly ticking by, we can't find anything that makes us a bit happy.

Four days before we travel back from Røros, we still don't have a place. The past few weeks have been stressful, fraught with doubt and emotions. We are not at our best and cannot enjoy our month in Røros. Doubt and uncertainty prevail.
'We will never let this happen again,' Olivier curses a few times.
We try a last resort, a Facebook post. We have already posted a few times in a local group last year and don't really want to send another message about our search.
'There they are again,' Zoë hears people say.
Zoë writes a message telling what we are looking for this winter. A simple place, it may even be without water, as long as it is not in the city. Ten minutes later we already get a response. A woman sends a link of a cabin she rents out. It looks cozy, simple and in the forest. We call her immediately and ten minutes later it is arranged. Whew! We have a place. A few weeks of stress falls off our shoulders. Saved by the bell!

Our new home is a lot further from Lillehammer. Cycling to town is impossible, but we see it as a good test. Maybe we will like living a little further away. In the search for our dream home, we will always have to drop one of our criteria. The perfect picture may exist, but does it have to be perfect right now? Is it also fine to have an in-between place where we feel comfortable? A place where we can live, feel at home, unwind, and then slowly look forward to that perfect dream place.

 

Searching for balance

For Olivier's new work, we don't need the city at all. He will work most of the time from home and then an internet connection is the most important thing. On November 1, his first working day begins. The office is in Sandvika, a full three hours' journey from our home. Going to the office once or twice a month is more than enough. The first five weeks begin with training. Every day Olivier sits in a Teams Meetings from 9 to 4, five days a week.
"What have I done!" wonders Olivier aloud.
Zoë, too, gets frustrated. Where is our freedom? The adventurous life we want together? Our joint projects?
The new work disturbs our balance and we have to get used to that, and above all find a new balance in it.

Our new house is certainly not to blame. It is an idyllic spot where Zoe is happy from the very first moment. The red house is cozy, situated in the middle of the forest with a short walk to the house. Water we have to get from the neighbor and the toilet is a little outhouse in the forest. When Olivier closes his laptop, he heads into the woods to look for wood. Zoë goes on daily mushroom trips. Life is simple, just the way we like it. The distance to the city may be longer, but nature starts at the front door. Zoe is already secretly dreaming of more. ...

 

Olivier's has an 80% contract which actually starts after the 5 weeks of training. From that moment, more time becomes available for "us," for "WeLeaf". We stick to the higher goal of this permanent job: getting a loan to buy our own place. The road to a dream does not run straight. It involves sacrifices and detours to then get back on the right path. This sacrifice is great, but it gives Olivier peace of mind. A steady income and the possibility of buying a house now outweighs the uncertainty. Does this bring us a step closer to our dream?

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