Je ne sais quoi

Home – the introvert’s paradise. I am a textbook “I ” type with an inherent need to re-charge my battery after most social interactions. There are only a few people in this world who don’t drain me. I don’t say that to be hateful, but honest; part of who I am involves naturally maintaining walls or layers until I get to a certain point with a person, and maintaining said barriers is exhausting, although subconscious. I can deeply love and respect you, and you might still, to some degree, drain my energy reserves.

Understandably, some of the comments in previous blogs may have made it seem like my life outside of travel, adventure, and day-dreaming is challenging. Well, I mean, it can be, but that doesn’t mean it is unfortunate. Find me a teacher in the world who can genuinely say that every day is simple. Find me a teacher who doesn’t occasionally stare off into space during their conference instead of achieving certain tasks. Find me a teacher who has never fallen into a rut. If you find this person, well, I just don’t trust them because they are a lying liar (I don’t even need my intuition for that assessment).

Now add being an introvert, with 180 students constantly begging for your attention, calling your name (or just “Hey, Miss”). Sometimes, it’s too much. Sometimes, it’s fantastic. Sometimes, I break through walls and move kids forward in this world. Sometimes, they hug me when they see I’m having a rough day. Sometimes, I hug them when they are having a rough day. Sometimes, I realize the impact I make on students, and I remember why I chose my profession. Sometimes, I realize that no matter how hard I try, I won’t make an impact, and I cry.

One thing is consistent: I need a safe place to rest when I return home each day. Consequently, I’ve worked fastidiously to create the coziest environment.

I’m not going to show each room or space, rather I’m going to provide you a lens into my world at home, a glimpse into my secretive spaces, my cozy caverns, the specific places in this world that bring me sanctuary and recharge my battery.

My husband and I purchased our home together a little over a year ago. When looking for a home, I wanted a home with character near (not on) a lake. I grew up in a lakeside neighborhood in a very unique, upside-down home – my very own tree house. I loved being upstairs, looking out into the trees at the wildlife. I reveled in being outside, smelling the lake, hearing the boats in the distance. I expressed these sentiments to my husband, and every time we went down memory lane, he saw how happy and inspired I felt when back in that environment.

Keeping these desires in mind, he is actually the one who found the house whilst perusing the internet, bringing me to the first thing I love about my home:

1. it is a treehouse near the lake

The living space is very open, and it is upstairs. There are windows everywhere, and I’m constantly watching nature. No matter where you are upstairs, there is a window with trees outside. I, and my cats, thoroughly enjoy living in the trees. This is nostalgic for me, while still modern. The house is not set up exactly like my childhood home, but it is reminiscent of it; it’s also not in the same geographical area which allows it to feel like a new era, rather than the past. One thing is for sure: our home is unique and has a certain je ne sais quoi.

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2. The patio

Every day, I spend at least an hour on my patio. I leave electronics inside, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, take in the scenery, and read a book. I tend to do this right when I get home from work, and it quickly restores some of my energy. It’s so quiet outside; the only sounds are the birds, the squirrels, the boats. There is always a nice, soft breeze. I quiet myself and get lost in the words on the pages. Occasionally, I stop to appreciate the beauty, and I’m always able to remind myself to appreciate my life, even after rough days. My husband enjoys the patio for a different reason; most nights, he takes his telescope out and observes the celestial world after I’ve gone to sleep. This place brings us each our own brand of peace.

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3. The thunderstorm corner

This corner is not in constant use. It’s kind of a random, extra space in our home that we made into a cozy nook. Occasionally, one of us will sit here for a bit, read, play the guitar. (I keep a stash of Calvin and Hobbes collections over here for a quick existential crisis.) The times when you can find me here curled up in a blanket are during thunderstorms. There are windows surrounding all sides, creating an ambience where you can sit and appreciate the drops of rain, the thunder. The world darkens, the green of the trees deepens, and it is a true introvert’s dream.

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4. The conversation corner

My childhood was very busy – we were constantly on the move to this practice or that practice. We didn’t really eat at home. In my adulthood, it has been important for me to sit at the table (almost) every night, eat a nice home-cooked meal, and talk with my husband. We share something positive that happened during our day and make a point to connect. We have an interesting situation because we both teach in the same school. While some people might not like that much “togetherness,” it works for us. We get to eat lunch together and finish the day with dinner together as well. Taking these moments throughout the day to sit down and talk keeps us close. He is one of the rare people who energizes me.

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5. The relaxation room

This is where I spend most of my time. Here I sit, typing these thoughts from the comfort of the red couch. My husband and I have our movie nights in the green chair. I curl up in the papasan with a good book. My cats observe us from their condos. In the winter, we sit by the fireplace with a glass of wine. We practice our amateur piano playing skills together in the corner. The piano is the newest addition, and it’s sentimental to me because it belonged to my great grandmother. It traveled through the generations from my great grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, and now to me. Four generations of women, but I am the second person to play it, ironically. I’ve always wanted this in my home, and I love not only the aesthetic of it, but the way it feels when music flows from my fingertips. This room is where I spend most of my waking hours when I’m home; it’s the most comfortable space for me in the world, quite honestly.

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6. The cavern

Although this space seems bright and open, when the curtains close, it turns into the perfect, cavernous hideaway. All bedrooms are below the living space, and it’s always cooler and much darker. There is a patio off of the bedroom, so if I need to escape the confines, I can, but, honestly, I prefer to close myself off from the world in this room; it’s my sanctuary when I really feel reclusive.

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7. The neighborhood

Before, I mentioned my desire was a lakeside neighborhood, and we found one that was the perfect fit. It has a lovely lake, a golf course, trails to walk, and a wonderful pool. We have designed our life at home to feel like a getaway, to be comfortable and inviting, to dissolve the stress of the day when we pull into the neighborhood. It’s the port in which I plug myself in for renewal and strength – the cave in which I crawl for comfort – the realm for rest; it’s home.

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In the book “A Field Guide to Getting Lost,” it says,

Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul…No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay…We have not much language to appreciate this phase of decay, this withdrawal… Nor of the violence of the metamorphosis, which is often spoken of as though it were as graceful as a flower blooming

Some days, I feel like a tired caterpillar, retreating to my cocoon to decay and transform, emerging from the other side a vibrant butterfly.

One Comment Add yours

  1. laurencarnathan says:

    You HAVE created such a cozy space! I love that you’ve created a way for you to recharge and prepare your heart and soul for the next day.

    Liked by 1 person

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