A few months ago after a crazy time searching in the booming Ottawa real estate market, my partner and I bought our first home together. Thinking back, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt “at home” where I lived and I can honestly say I’m thriving with that feeling.
My parents divorced after elementary school and I spent my teen years living out of a suitcase between my parent’s houses. Sadly the last time I can remember feeling at home was before they separated. My parents did their best to allow me to design my bedrooms and make them my own spaces, but to be honest it’s tough to feel at home when your family is in pieces and you’re in the midst of the rebuilding process.
In university I couldn’t wait to move out and get settled in my new life on my own. I thought on my own I would feel more stability but funny enough I ended up moving to a new place every year of university. After many moves I realized this feeling of instability in where I lived really made me develop a self-reliance and independence at a young age and I am forever grateful for that.
Half way through university I met my best friend and I knew he would be in my life somehow whether it was just friends or a partner, I’m truthfully glad it’s the latter.
The first couple years of our relationship we spent getting to know each other and growing as a couple and as individuals. Once we felt ready we took the big step and moved in together. We lived in a little one bedroom apartment for two years and it was a very good test of our relationship. If you want to know if you can make it with someone, live in a small space together, you will learn a lot.
We chose a cheaper apartment so we could ultimately save to buy a place as we knew this was the direction we wanted to take our lives. When we decided we were ready we found a real estate agent who was excited to work with first-time buyers and got pre-approved for a mortgage we were comfortable having. We knew we did not want to be house poor, as travel and leisure is something we enjoy together and still wanted this to be a big part of our lives.
I can honestly say the house buying process was not an easy one or as “romantic” as I thought it would be. We made many offers and missed out in a few bidding wars until we found the right place. These situations really put me in a funk of feeling like it would never work out for us. I had to keep telling myself it would be when it was meant to be.
One day when we were just about ready to give up, we found our place. We submitted an offer and the paperwork came back “accepted”, we were elated. Then move-in day finally came. The paperwork and legal stuff was complete and we could walk in and truly call this place our home. We painted, did the floors, and moved our furniture in. One night once we were all moved in we were sitting on the couch and I turned to Brad and said “can you believe we own this place?”.
Moving into our first home is like a breath of fresh air for us. It’s an amazing step in our relationship. We can finally settle in and really make this place our own. For the first time in a long time I feel a sense of stability, that sense of home. Working in a stressful career it is so nice to have a sanctuary to come home to and a partner who supports me.
On the other hand what I’ve realized through this whole process that it’s not about where you live that makes a home. It’s about finding that “home” within yourself and with the people around you. Even when things get tough knowing I have stability in myself and in my relationships, “home” can be anywhere I want it to be.
It’s just like the quote says… “home is a feeling, not a place”.