Friday, June 8, 2007

House vs. Home

When these terms became interchangeable, I don't know, but it irritates me. A house is a structure in which a home may be established by the people who occupy it. Late in 1999, my husband and I purchased a condo in a ritzy building in an upscale neighborhood here in DC. It really wasn't our style, but the olympic-size pool and other amenities blinded me (but not my husband) to the stodgy, snooty people who lived there. The population was largely older, wealthy, white people. To give you an idea of what this meant, condo rules disallowed cooking odors escaping into the halls or through an open window. Befriending the doorman, I also learned that residents complained when, walking down a hall, they detected the sound of someones TV or music. If only I'd listened to the little voice in my head that kept shouting "don't do it, it isn't for you!" before and after we closed. Walking away from the lawyer's office, spouse was totally disheartened and angry that we went through with it. My churning gut made voicing hopefulness reeeeeeally hard. But my core optimist was determined to make it work. After all, buying a place was a good investment, right? We moved in two days after Christmas and moved out three days later. Thankfully the rent on our apartment was paid through the month, so we moved back into our home. Everyone we knew, including our realtors were shocked because the condo was bigger and so nice -- according to them. We were relieved to the point of tears to get back into the home we'd had for 9 years. Despite the exotic, unrecognizable cooking odors that occasionally seep into our apartment, the toddler down the hall who screams at all hours, college students giggling and yakking on their way back from classes and parties, we're home here. Residents actually talk with each other, sometimes with heavy accents because they work at World Bank or Pan American Health Organization, both in the neighborhood. The diversity of our neighbors is what keeps life interesting. That and we can watch the July 4th fireworks from our balcony! Ahh home sweet home. . . . .

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