Re: Post Move-In
From: Ray & Lydia Ducharme (ducharm1cadvision.com)
Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 17:33:35 -0500
At 12:55 PM 5/10/98 -0500, MartyR707 wrote:
>Boy this is a pretty depressing list - especially for one who has worked hard
>for four years and still hasn't seen construction begin.  How bout some of you
>others posting some *positive* one-liners (or 2 or 3 liners for that matter!!)
>for those of us who could use the boost!!
>Marty Roberts
>Two Acre Wood, Sebastopol. CA

Marty,

I joined our cohousing group in October of last year so I don't have the
burnout that some longer term members might have...although I'm working on
it! :-) I'm sold on cohousing because of visits to Windsong, the group my
sister and her husband initiated in Langley, BC, Canada.  It was completed
in 1996. 

This is my impression of cohousing: 

People are very close.  I was in the common house playing bridge when one of
the girls needed someone to talk to.  She opened up to myself (the stranger)
and the three guys I was playing with.  I couldn't believe the level of
intimacy, trust and caring in this group.  (From men yet! :-)

When one of the senior residents was sick she received round the clock food
and care from other members.  Before she became ill she considered moving
out (because of the kids); after her experience she said she'd NEVER move out! 

There are common suppers every night.  I'm vegetarian and there is always a
good selection of both meat and non-meat dishes.  The meals are great and
its really nice not to have to cook every night! 

There is always something happening in the common house.  There are some
neat games that you can play with a lot of people.  We had about 15 people
per team. Everyone that walked in joined one team or the other.  We had a
blast!  There are always people to play "bridge", "scrabble" or other games
with. 

When I'm washing dishes in front of the window my sister's neighbors see me
and say hello.  Lots of times I'm lucky and score a hug.  I know that that's
not for everybody but if you like it you can have your fill. 

One couple was moving out to another town.  On the day that they were
packing to leave people came over to help.  Someone made lunch for everyone.
Dozens of others packed boxes and filled up the moving truck.  They weren't
prepared at all and received phenomenal help from the group.  I'm sure it
broke their hearts to leave. 

Sometimes people need to get away.  I was at a meeting in the common house
where a couple of people mentioned that they had kept to themselves for a
while because they had to "get away", but then said "I'm back!".  You can
get as much privacy as you need.  Others understand if you want to be alone
for a while.

Cohousing is for everyone.  Some people want to be in the thick of things
and surround themselves with people all the time.  Others (often the spouses
of the extroverts) want to be alone so they can read or regroup.  It works
great at Windsong...the spouse that needs their space gets it, while their
outgoing spouse gets their needs met. 

The kids love it at Windsong, there is always someone to play with.  My
sister tells her kids to leave their shoes outside if they are inside one of
the other homes.  Her kids go out early in the morning and are out playing
with other kids or have other kids over most of the time.  

Some of the members recently bought a hottub (I can't wait!).  They have
gathering "nodes" all over the place.  You can sit quietly with two or three
people, or go where there are more.  My sister takes more time getting to
and from the laundry room than actually doing her laundry. 

They have a trampoline (an issue that had to be worked through by residents)
and other great play structures for the kids.  The parents sit and relax
after dinner while the kids play together, it seems like heaven!

There are lots of impromptu parties.  Someone played some country tunes and
a line dance was on.  One girl knew how to dance and taught the rest of us.
It was so neat!  There were about 20 people dancing in 3 lines; people of
all ages dancing together!  

The members have had african drumming lessons, they've booked a whole
swimming pool, they had group meditations for peace (at New Year's), and
many other interesting ideas for activities that people can easily
participate in. 

My brother-in-law mentioned that if he had to do it over again he isn't sure
if he would although they love living in Windsong.  Both he and my sister
quit their jobs to work on cohousing.  I know it's a phenomenal amount of
work no matter how you go about it.  

But I love what I see over there and my whole attitude about "community" has
changed.  We lived in a 1800 square foot house (plus basement) with attached
garage.  Yuck, I've never felt so isolated.  Now community means everything
and I'm willing to put in the work!

Sorry this wasn't a one-liner!

Lydia
Wholelife Housing
Calgary, Canada

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