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
(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.