Americans on the Move

When I first moved into my house in cohousing I proudly announced it on my social media accounts.  One friend offended me. He said “oh, you Americans, you always move” Or something like that. I was like – I”m not a typical American.  I`m moving to cohousing which is so counter culture to our consumer culture.  I was fuming.  But he ended up being right, I moved right out. It’s easy to just come and go. He’s from Italy and when I first met him he asked me how long it takes to buy a car in the US. I replied one day. He said it takes weeks there – he was helping a friend buy a used car.  So, maybe houses are the same.

That particular community wasn’t what I wanted in my life so I moved out. Super easy. Now a few other families are moving too. Already bought other houses and hope to rent out or sell their cohousing houses. So, if it doesn’t work, you can move. But it is an expensive lesson. That’s why I try to shout from the rooftops – rent first. Once you’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of that community, then you can make the commitment and buy.  We are Amercians on the move.

As I went to write this I now see more sides of the story. I found the old posts and will share them now.

BRUNO:Vivi con la classica filosofia americana di cambiare spesso casa: ottimo! Ti faccio tanti

Auguri )

(translation: You live with the classic American philosophy of changing home often: great! Congrats

ME: (I didn’t even try to write in Italian, it translates for me over there and I only learned to talk it) So, they never move houses in Italy? I lived in the other house for 15 years – that’s long for America, I suppose. This house is smaller since my boys are growing up and moving out – well, one has. Plus, this is un-american and living with a small community where we work with democracy and have a common house and common areas together and actually intentionally know our neighbors.. It is called Co-housing and it is from Denmark. Tell (our mutual Danish friend) to come live here and to be my neighbor! And there is always room for Italians to see how us typical and untypical Americans live. You can visit on your way to the Grand Canyon! (his bucket list trip)

BRUNO:  avevo sentito parlare di co-alloggi. Ma funzioneranno?.. Sono simili agli esperimenti di comune degli anni sessanta?..

(Translation:I had heard about co-housing. But will they work?.. They are similar to the common experiments of the sixties?)

So, now I laugh. He was so right. Will it work? It’s like the communes. And he knows first hand. His town was overrun by hippies in the 60s and 70s from Northern Europe who started communes. Many left but some stayed behind long after the experiment failed. When I lived there some were shocked how far some had strayed and even built interior plumbing. They would still get together for parties.  It worked out great for us travelers since they welcomed us with open arms though I wasn’t a fan of the outdoor poop pit instead of the yuppy indoor toilets.

Cohousing promises not to be a commune but some of the same interpersonal problems exist. Living so close to others is hard.  Yes there is more privacy and freedom but you are very connected.

I hated proving Bruno right but off I went – moving again. And it didn’t work for me.  At least my house is now giving someone else joy like we enjoyed staying in the remains of those European communes.  Free lodging allowed us to stay a long time and make lifelong friends like Bruno.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in moving in and out of cohousing, privacy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Americans on the Move

  1. Flower says:

    I think he is right about Americans moving–at least if you read the statistics that realtors always bring up. I believe I’ve heard it repeatedly that families move every 5-7 years. I sometimes wonder if this is suggestive selling or maybe a version of repeat it enough and it becomes the truth. Then maybe some people will succumb to the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses or feeling that there is something wrong with them as if they are out-of-sync with the purported “norm”. Sometimes that morphs into the “bigger is better” mantra. Not everyone desires that.

    I get asked by intrusive people how long I’ve lived in my home, which frankly is none of their business. Guess what happens. I immediately see dollar signs rolling in their eyeballs as they start yapping about equity. Then of course what follows is their posturing themselves as an “expert” and what they think you should do, when I didn’t ask them for their idiotic opinions. Talk about manipulative and self-interest. The fact is most people realize that even if they were to move their equity would be eaten up in a new home. I wouldn’t mind a bit more space, but I don’t need a monster home nor can I afford a $2.5 million 1,000 sq ft. cottage in Carmel-by-the-Sea

    I do have a story about an adjuster who told me that he used to live in an old neighborhood like mine–you know miserable, horrible, soul-sucking suburbia. He moved to a new housing development with more space, but he eventually regretted the decision given the mortgage and the foreclosures that were happening, the economy and his employment situation. I’ve heard that more than a few times and about buyer’s remorse. He was looking to sell to alleviate that burden, but I don’t know what became of his situation or how it all worked out.

    I’m also a huge aficionado of indoor plumbing. I feel gratitude towards the inventors of useful modern amenities. I think there is a show about “useful” Americans called Dirty Jobs. I don’t have positive feelings towards hippies or communes, but that’s another story.

  2. CJ says:

    It’s funny you say that since one person at the cohousing pointed out that they were not some hippy when confronted on a behavior they were doing. I used to consider myself a hippie but now after learning more about communes and living in cohousing I think they were more just rebelling against the Vietnam War and weren’t as into peace and love and social justice as we thought. I now consider myself a free spirit.

    • Flower says:

      “It’s funny you say that since one person at the cohousing pointed out that they were not some hippy when confronted on a behavior they were doing.”

      I don’t know what they were doing, but I find it amusing that they became defensive when confronted about their hippie like behavior.

      It makes me think about seeing signs that say, “Hippies use the backdoor. NO exceptions”. The first time I saw one of those was on a home design site and I thought it was a joke–probably thought up by a disgruntled adult child of hippies. I had no idea of its origin. Then I saw one at an antique shop in a small mountain town.

      I read up on why communes fail and I do recall seeing that some people were not interested in working–they just wanted to party and take drugs. Other reasons were that people grew up and the economy. And yes, I think most people were avoiding the responsibilities of mainstream life even if they claim they were opposing the war. The people who I meet who are the most vocal about their opposition to society have always been users and takers. They want other people and their hard work and sacrifice to take care of them. When they rail against society and government–who do they think makes up government. In essence they want to exploit the hard work of taxpayers and one can look as taxpayers as a collective of human beings. As far as I’m concerned it’s like stealing from all of the hardworking people in this country. I know that’s a generality, but it is what I’ve experienced.

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