So, we’re homeless at the moment. Not living on the streets or anything. We’re in a guesthouse. But we only have it reserved through next Thursday night (Britt & Pam’s last night here) and, even if it’s available after that, it’s $25/room (we have 2) and not in our budget beyond that date.
Ideally, we’ll have an apartment/house to move into by then. Some moments I think this is probably pretty doable. Other times I think there’s no way on earth.
A few hours ago, I posted a pic on Instagram/Facebook of us sitting in a little coffee shop. We all look happy with our little drinks, but a few minutes after the pic was taken, we were writing pros and cons of the houses we’ve looked at so far (on napkins–so cliche, I know), and before I knew what was happening, I said, “I’m going outside,” and leaned up against a building and cried.
There was a little more to it than just the housing situation. There were a few plans made for the evening (while I was in the restroom) that sounded zero awesome, and I started feeling some things about some things (and people) that were also zero awesome, and yeah.
A few minutes later, Gabe came out to rescue me from myself and said, “Hey, about those plans for tonight. How about you don’t have to go? I’ll go with Britt and Pam and any of the girls who want to come, and you can be alone in our room and blog or read or whatever.”
Yes, please. Thank you. That’s where I am right now. (And between then and now we went to Tuol Sleng–the genocide museum. I might blog about that later.)
Oh, and while I was outside crying, I pulled out my phone and pretended to be very into it (so no one would ask me if I needed a tuk-tuk), and three or four people on Facebook had said, “Hey! Did you see Househunters International?? A family from Columbus, OH just moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia!”
We don’t know them (yet), but we have friends who know them. And I can’t even imagine the stress of looking for a place to live while everyone’s watching. And I haven’t seen the show and don’t want to make assumptions, but we’re looking at places to rent (not buy), and they cost anywhere from $200-$450/month, so maybe not the same. Or maybe?
So, let me fill you in a little on our housing situation. One of the first homes we went into during our last visit in 2011 was a beautiful new apartment on the 4th (?) floor. It was 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, and $400/month. We could totally do this, I thought. From that point on, we envisioned ourselves living in a small apartment overlooking the city.
Well, after living at Abbey Lane in community with everybody (including mostly people who don’t look like us), we thought, “Are we going to live in this beautiful African/Mexican/Nepali/Eritrean village in Ohio and then move to Cambodia and live in a gated apartment complex with a bunch of other white people?”
It just didn’t sit well in our hearts.
Yesterday, we looked at a house that’s being lived in for another week, then it’s up for rent. Perfect timing, eh? It’s a Khmer-style house with three bedrooms. It comes furnished. The furnishings aren’t what we’d pick, but you know what they say about beggars & choosers. There’s a big courtyard outside (all brick, no grass) and a wall around it with a big gate. It’s on a dead-end street with lots of Khmer neighbors. It’s not quite in the location we were thinking of living in, but it’s not far. The girls weren’t really feeling it. $450/month. With an intimidating catch. The landlord wants 6 months’ rent upfront.
Today our friend Melissa showed us some houses on her street. We’ve kind of fallen in love with her street. It’s a bunch of row houses four stories high. The first place we went through was pretty yucky (but it’s going to be cleaned/renovated). We would live on the first three floors, and they’re going to turn the top floor into 2 rooms to rent out. He’s asking $450/month, but Melissa (small and sweet in stature but big and powerful in negotiation) told him that was way too much. Also, it won’t be ready for at least a month-and-a-half.
Melissa’s landlord (a sweet lady) introduced us to a friend on the street who said she had 2 floors for rent (the 3rd & 4th floor above her 1st & 2nd floors). They were beautiful with brand new tile floors and new stairs. $350/month. With one little problem. The living area is on the 4th floor, which means they would build a teensy little, very high spiral metal staircase that we would climb climb climb every time we want to get into our house. $350/month.
The lady who would live below us in House #3 told Melissa in Khmer that, if we wanted, she would move all of her stuff onto the top 2 floors, and we could have the bottom 2. For just $250/month. But it’s pretty cramped and a little yucky and the stairs are so narrow and steep, and we have to duck to get up them. The bathrooms are teeny (a sink & toilet & the bathroom is your shower), and yeah, I just don’t know.
We have some other people willing to take us around, and we’re probably going to do that. I just feel overwhelmed.
I don’t want something too nice, but I don’t want something too not-nice. I don’t know exactly where we should live, and everybody (bless their sweet hearts) has his/her own opinion about certain areas of town. I don’t know what our budget is. Right now we’ve raised about 15% of our monthly support, so we should probably try to find something for about $35/month.
I also don’t want to spend all of our time with Britt & Pam searching for a place to live (although they said that’s fine with them).
And I don’t want to rush into anything. But we pretty much need to rush into something.
So, if you could just pray for wisdom and peace and unity among our fam and pray that we’d (mostly me) trust God has his hand in this, that would be AMAZING.