Tag Archives: moving back to California

Putting the Urban Back in My Homesteading

Yesterday we officially announced that we’re moving back to California.  The decision to do this came just two months after getting our home loan modified.  It seems amazing that we could work so hard to keep our house, to stay in this town, and then decide to walk away from it, but we’ve  been miserable here.  For a long time we wouldn’t let ourselves even consider moving back to California because it seemed impossible.  We can’t sell our house and we’re broke as shit and jobs are hard to find anywhere so we chose to make the best of what we had going on here.  Hence our great efforts to keep our home.

However, our morale has been extremely low.  The company Philip works for doesn’t pay him industry standard wages for the work he does and raises have been thin on the ground.  We thought we couldn’t afford to move but it turns out we can’t actually afford to stay either.  The job opportunities in this town are few and are mostly retail or office related with poor pay and little chance for advancement.  (Unless you’re a tattoo artist – there are TONS of opportunities for tattoo artists all over the state of Oregon.)  Jobs in Portland aren’t particularly plentiful in his field either.

I haven’t been this depressed since I was a teen and for the first time in at least ten years the thought of dying started coming back to me as a viable alternative to continuing to live in a town I hate, broke, with a very thin support system and I eat a lot of cheese and drink way too much beer to cope and so I get fatter and fatter which makes the cycle of depression that much more vicious.

It finally became obvious that if I don’t move, I will die in reality just as I’ve been slowly dying inside.  So we decided to figure out a way to move back to Santa Rosa.  If I have to be broke I would like to do it where I have a strong network of friends and family for support.

Yesterday Philip gave notice to his bosses and is going to go to Santa Rosa ahead of us to get a job (he’s been looking for two months but it’s hard to get interviews when potential employers see that you’re out of state).  Luckily I can do my job anywhere.  On July 1st we will move into a house my aunt owns with my mom in Santa Rosa and we’ll be renters for the first time in 12 years.  I’m totally okay with that.  The house has a good sized yard but most of it is in shade so there won’t be a lot of vegetable gardening there.

I will be able to do some gardening at my father in law’s 2 1/2 acre property within easy scootering distance of our house.  He has always been generous about letting me run wild in his orchard of old apples and dig holes and plant things so I will get to do some food growing – it just won’t be on my own property and I’m okay with that too.

This is partly why I chose not to start our dairy free cooking challenge until August.  Starting a whole new way of cooking in the middle of a cross-state move (which we will do ourselves since we can’t afford movers) seemed like a bad idea.

I’m so excited to get out of this place, to move back to a city where most people I know don’t own guns, or if they do, they aren’t cultishly excited about having them.  I’m excited to move back to a place where I’m not insulted constantly and called a child abuser for sending my kid to public school.  I’m so happy to be moving to a place where people mostly share the same liberal ideals as I have and when they have different ones can discuss it without calling Obama “Hitler”.  I’m so excited to get away from all the small mindedness.

I’ve learned a lot about myself living here and the main one is that I’m not a small town gal, I’m a city girl.  A literal urban homesteader and in that sense I’m going to more than ever be embracing the idea of homesteading on a city scale, using other people’s property to garden, foraging where I can – like how I used to pick blackberries in an abandoned parking lot and also next to the coroner’s office.  I’m returning to where my whole urban homesteading adventure began, and it feels good.