I always knew I would live the country life. I grew up briefly in the country mountains of New Mexico when I was very young, but then we moved to the big city of Albuquerque, so majority of my childhood was in the city. It was a beautiful childhood, but i longed for nature, I longed for the peace and quiet embodied in the miles of land. I knew I would end up in the country where in the world I settled down.
My husband and I moved to Hawaii three years ago for work. We moved to Ewa Beach, which everyone knows is the suburbia of Oahu. Cookie-cutter houses, landscaped sidewalks, close to stores, malls, the highway. It was a great three years living there and I am grateful for we owned our first home in Ewa however, we quickly realized we belonged on the North Shore.
We would drive almost every day off we had to the North Shore to be embraced in the aloha spirit and surrounded by surf vibes. The people are so different, so friendly, so welcoming. In Ewa, our next door neighbor once slipped us a note under our door complaining about how she "was retired and didn't to Hawaii to hear our dogs barking." Talk about rude! Well, on the North shore, everyone has dogs and the chickens & roosters are 10x louder and vocal then my two fur babies.
I remember the first day I arrived to our new house here on the North Shore, my neighbor, a local Hawaiian lady, came up to me to introduce herself and welcome my husband and I to the neighborhood. She gave me the 411 on each neighbor and offered her help anytime we needed it.. In Ewa, I would wake to my neighbors and they would stare like I was crazy.
My husband and I have a passion for surfing. I am just intermediate and he is way far advanced but our skill level doesn't matter. We long to be in the water, sitting on our boards, waiting for the perfect wave to roll in. Surfing is what keeps us here in Hawaii more than anything. It's such a peaceful and exhilarating experience.
In our Ewa home, we had three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two stories, carpet and tile, a tiny little yard, dishwasher, you name it, everything you want in a home right? Well I realized how we never went upstairs unless we were going to our bedroom to sleep. I spent money on nick-necks just to feel the space of the empty rooms and bathroom. Yeah, we thought about what if when we have kids, they could use that space, but our thoughts are with the presence, the now, because that's how we should live, here in the moment.
SO with all that being said, we found out we were hapai (pregnant) in February and it hit me like lightening, I wanted to raise our baby on the North Shore. I looked at homes for sale but everything was almost a million dollars for a shack. Well, I found the perfect "shack" for half of that and I called right away! I pitched the idea to my hubs and he wasn't totally sold with the size at first... 700 sq ft., 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, no garage, no dish washer, no microwave, out in the country with no Wal-Mart, Target around. We drove the >1hr drive from Ewa to see this little cottage during the open house. The neighborhood was different.. every house was different then the next, the electric lines were exposed, there was no perfectly maintained sidewalk. It was so different! We drove up to the house...or cottage should I say. We like to call it our "Surf Shack" even though it's bigger than an actual shack, just has a nice ring to it. :) So we drove up to a tiny dark green house, surrounded by a lush, tropical yard. The lanai overlooked the yard, the palm tree, the ginger plants and the mango tree. On the side of the house, an outdoor shower, every surfer/beach goers dream! It stood under the mango tree, hidden by neighbors. There was a hibiscus plant and plumeria flower bush along the path that led you to the back of the house, where another mango tree; tall and old, stood with ripe mangoes dangling from the branches waiting to be picked. You could hear the roosters yapping and occasionally they'd run into the yard looking for food.
We walked inside and greeted the realtor. She let us explore the tiny house and at first of course, we said to each other " oh my god, this is so small." The kitchen was just an area with the essentials, fridge, stove, shelves, sink. There wasn't really a " dining area". The living room was decently large and had huge windows looking out to the lanai and the outdoor shower/palm tree area. A breeze swept through the plantation style windows. It was a bit humid and that's when we realized there was no A/C!! No A/C, my husband had a shocked look on his face. That would be a huge compromise..
We walked to the one bathroom, decently sized for a small family. The " master" bedroom was perfect, light seeped through the windows and it overlooked the back yard so I felt like I was walking into a room outside. There was a big closet, enough for our clothes (we aren't a typical couple that needs a walk-in closet, I own more bikinis now than I do actual clothing. We then headed to the second bedroom which we thought would be the baby room, small but perfect. If family every came to visit, they would stay in that room. And that was it... that's all there was to the inside of the home. It was small but cozy. I could see myself living in that space.
To the side of the lanai, was the "washer/dryer" area. It was also an enclosed space where we could store beach items and of course, surfboards! It was perfect.
We took the information from the realtor and as we drove away, we talked about it. I was excited about it. I grew up in a two bedroom trailer with my family of 5 as a kid, so I was used to small spaces, so it was up to my husband. A few days went by and we talked about it more. This would be a HUGE downgrade and a huge change in our life especially now being pregnant. We would go from a 1,500 sq ft home to a 700 sq ft. home with no garage. My husband and I have always lived simple and have tried not to be materialistic and just enjoy nature more (Hawaii really brings that out in a person, enjoying nature and being submerged in nature more than being at home during a sunny day). When my husband said "let's put in an offer" my nerves ran high with fear but excitement. It was a risky move that we were excited to make.
We put in an offer and found out there were several more and realized there were some that were higher than ours. We stuck with ours because that's all we could afford. The couple selling the home, from the goodness of their hearts, chose us! We got the house! Several weeks later, moments of fear, stress, uncertainty, we closed on the house and are now living here. It has been a scary journey, I became too pregnant to help my husband move our stuff out of our previous home. We had to sell a lot of items that we did not have the space for nor need, but we are happy. It's peaceful waking up in our bedroom to the sound of the trees blowing, the feeling of the crisp breeze touching our skin, the roosters telling us to wake up already.
We are a minutes drive from the famous North Shore beaches and surf spots. Minutes away from my favorite beaches like Ehukai and Waimea bay. There's farmer markets near by where I can buy fresh, local produce. There's one grocery store that's closed on Sundays. There's more peace in our life than ever before. We have what we need and it's perfect. This is truly living in paradise!
Here's just a few snippets of our house, mostly the outside. :)