September 8, 2014
Yes, We Move About Once a Year...
Since we moved to downtown Encarnación (as opposed to a mile or so up the road), we have lived in a tiny apartment in a medium-sized building. It afforded us an eency weency balcony, where we strung a couple of ropes and hung about 3/4 a load of clothes. The rest were hung around the house. It felt a little dungeon-like, with only three windows in the whole place, something that also led to tons of black mold growing in the walls, on the furniture, on the books, on the clothes--well, you get it.
We had a miniature kitchen, big enough to turn around in but not much else. We squeezed a table for four in the living room area, just beside the love seat that was the official school room. The girls shared a bedroom that might be mistaken as a walk-in closet in some of America's finest mobile homes. But we could walk to English class and The Bridge, as well as the grocery store, the hardware store, the bakery, and the meat store, so we were thrilled to cut back on gas costs and live so close to everything--especially considering how many months of the past year our car spent in the mechanic's shop.
Day-to-day operations of Casa Hagerman weren't too smooth, though. Everyday at homeschool time, the apartment had to be rearranged to make room to sit and put books out. Then when I needed to cook for The Bridge (generally an hour or so after school started), more shuffling to access the kitchen and, hopefully, counter space. You'd laugh if you could see all the times I did it without a counter, holding the mixing bowl in one hand while I measured ingredients and poured with the other.
And might I remind you that the girls are teenagers now. Yep, at 15 and 17, they have their own collections of beauty supplies, favorite clothes, and various souvenirs they've held onto through the moves. Did I mention that they are polar opposites in terms of music taste, organization, and sleep schedules? You can only imagine the stress that cramming these two and all their junk in that glorified closet every day and night caused. I won't even tell you how crazy it got when we'd entertain guests.
Knowing that our rental contract on the mini apartment was due to expire, we began praying for more space months ago. We scoured the internet advertisements, the realty listings, and the streets. It seems that this city is on a bubble (is that how'd they say that in English?) right now, due to the new river beach and increases in summer tourism. So prices are at a premium, and those people with 3-bedroom apartments know they are sitting on a gold mine. There were comments floating around that we'd never find what we were asking for in the price range we had to work with, but we just kept praying.
I'm thrilled to report to you that one week ago, we moved into what I can only describe as a house on the second floor. It's a huge apartment above the home of a little grandma, so we have much more privacy. It has two small balconies on the street front, plus a huge back balcony out back with a roof and enough room to hang several loads of clothes and still sit out there to enjoy the fresh air.
Each girl has her own bedroom, and each bedroom is twice the size of the one they were sharing. The kitchen is spacious, and I've already found places for the appliances and ingredients we use for The Bridge, as well as counter space to make it all happen. A wide hallway means we can take the paperwork, books, and suitcases out of our bedroom, and windows on every side make the place so bright that we hardly use the lights during the day.
Once we get our car back from the mechanic (please continue praying for that--it doesn't seem it will be anytime soon), it will have a gated parking area. We are sharing one bathroom but it is big enough to have an area for a shower, rather than the whole bathroom BEING the shower, as in the past. And we're still close to everything. In fact, we are one block closer to English classes and The Bridge, and only one block away now from two different grocery stores.
So as I type this, everyone is in a different spot working, and the dog is trying out all the different spots he can flop around. And now when I say, "Come see us!" I'm much more excited about that possibility, knowing we have space for you.
I know God didn't promise us a huge house. I know there are missionaries living in huts or worse. I know we could have survived in that mini-apartment. But He answered this prayer and found us a place that fit ALL we'd asked Him for, and I'm so thankful for what that means to my family. I sent out a prayer request when we first found the place and were negotiating with the owner, who wasn't too thrilled that we have a big dog, and many of you were sweet to respond that you were praying. THANK YOU!