In fifth grade I made a new friend who lived over in the next village. Our parents had sent us to a school forty minutes from where we lived, so we car pooled together (our parents took turns, that is). We both only lasted there for a year for different reasons, but we’ve been friends ever since. Most of the times I would go visit her since her parents owned this big old farm with buildings on all four sides, a big yard in the middle and a huge garden with a little stream running through it and ending in a pond. Several parts of the farm were modeled into apartments, her parents inhabiting a renovated old barn where the ceiling in the living room must have been thirty feet high. Every christmas, they went out and cut down an equally big christmas tree. Oh, and let’s not forget the ballet room they had installed for the kindergarden they ran there for a while. Dance parties galore! Some of the old stables, however, were still used as storage rooms for bicycles and other stuff, and we had a ball climbing on various attics and balancing over beams twenty feet above the ground.
The original idea her dad had was to create a community in the old farm buildings. Thirty years later, the whole thing is a big success and one of my favorite places to hang out in in summer. There is and always will be something that isn’t taken care of yet, but you experience a feeling of community among all nine parties living there these days. Most doors are always open, kids are playing in the yard and there is always someone there to watch them. It’s not a commune, everyone does their own thing, but there are several tables and chairs and benches throughout the yard that people come together at and a huge readiness to help each other out.
It’s been a couple of years now that I realized that this is what I want in life. Granted, the complex definitely doesn’t have to be as big, three or four parties maybe, and buildings like these don’t come as cheap as they used to. Sitting there under the big tree in the yard, feeling how much I actually wanted this, made me question my career choice once again. Whenever I question it – I am a freelance literary translator – it is for money reasons only. I am well aware that I cannot sit there with my hands in my lap, waiting for my dream to come to me. Fulfilling a dream like that does take money. Once back home, I immediately went online to search for jobs that I might actually feel comfortable working at for a longer period of time, but came up empty handed. All I really want to do is translate. I’ll probably give myself some time to try and manage maintaining a stable freelance job situation. We’ll see.