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Back From New Year’s Retreat

January 4th, 2010 by Alison · No Comments · home & garden, money, simplicity

Thor and I returned yesterday from our annual New Year’s retreat, which we take together  each year, just the two of us, to go into our deep inner lives and look at our intentions for 2010. This year we stayed in the wonderfully historic and old-timey  Hood River Hotel, where we were blessed with a good view of the Columbia Gorge, which I think of as Oregon’s answer to the Grand Canyon.

A lot of our intentions are to continue things we’ve been doing, but with more creativity and excellence, such as our jobs (Thor works in renewable energy and I work in transportation options). Another example of this is tutoring Mahamudi to become fluent in reading (Mahamudi is our 13 year old friend from Somalia).

The big new thing for Ali and Thor in 2010 is that after lots of discussion we plan to buy and move into a somewhat larger home, while staying in our  Mount Tabor neighborhood, and rent out our current home. I initially resisted this idea since I’m a big believer that small is beautiful, small is sustainable, I love simplicity, plus moving is a big pain and Americans do way too much of it, la la la la.

Here is why I’ve come around: a somewhat (not wildly larger) home will enable us to practice more community. While we’ve had a number of house guests since I moved in in 2003, they are seriously cramped in the room that holds both our desks plus all of Thor’s clothes. Two bathrooms instead of the current single bathroom will feel more hospitable to them, and the second bathroom will also facilitate our having an ongoing housemate. The housemate’s monthly rent (we’ll charge $500/month including utilities, a switch from our historic work-for-rent housemate situation) will mean our overall expenses will go up only slightly.

The other reason is that we think it’s good to invest in real estate, not just in stocks, for our eventual retirement, or financial independence, as we usually call it. Stocks are volatile, and I personally don’t see the capitalist system as it’s configured, that they are founded on, to be stable or sustainable. more soon.

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