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March 29, 2010

So, the forces of the universe converge and I re-connect with an old friend from New Zealand. We haven’t seen each other in 20 years but we make a point to get together when I’m visiting. We spent a fantastic day with his family on a little ‘tiki tour’ around Picton. I am blessed and grateful for their hospitality and warmth.

The art is integrated into the trees and stone.

They load us into a boat and take us to Lochmara Lodge, Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre.

Art Walk at Lochmara Lodge

 This place is so cool! Only accessible by boat, there is a hotel, spa, bar, restaurant, artist in residence program and educational programs.  I love how it combines community and giving back in a sustainable way. The food and drinks were great and a wander through the forest filled with whimsical Punga People and mosaic sofas was a balm to the soul.  I would like to spend a week there and hope to visit again next time I’m in New Zealand.

It brings to mind a dream I’ve always had. You know, the ‘when I win the lottery’ dream?  It started about 12 years ago.  I found myself single, again, financially challenged, again, and longing for a sense of community and home, not a rental house but a home.  I knew a lot of women struggling with the same sort of things. Really great women working as artists, actors, writers, environmentalists, and social welfare activists who just couldn’t get ahead.  Please understand here and now that I am in no way saying that a single woman can’t be financially abundant I’m just saying I know a lot of women who’ve chosen to work in areas that don’t come with big salaries.  So I’m walking along and there is this beautiful little 4 story apartment building  with bright bay windows.  It’s dark green and used to have a small neighbourhood grocery on the ground floor.  There is a great plot for a garden and the neighbourhood is peaceful and welcoming. It’s for sale.

This sofa had one of the best views on the island.

I imagined buying the building and creating a jump-start community house.  I’d leave the ground floor as a group space for work-shopping, parties, painting, potting, playing or potluck.  Everyone who lived in the building would only live there for a maximum of 5 years. During that time rent would be miniscule, maybe $500/month.  That on its own, 5 years in a clean, safe, bright building at cheap rent is a good place to get a jump-start but, what if, at the end of the 5 years, each resident got a move out rebate? The rebate could be anything, even 50% of rent paid. (500/month x 60 months x 50% = $15000)  A large enough lump sum could really help someone to invest in some property, invest in their education or travel for their art or cause.  Or maybe it’s a rent-to-own situation.  A no interest way to a stable home while still doing something you love (and not having to come up with a down payment),

But all the financial stuff aside, it would be a group of like-minded people living in a supportive environment without living in each others back pocket. It would be community, a family of sorts, for those without the traditional family model. Someone to call, to pick up kleenex when you are sick with a cold. Someone to borrow a cup of sugar from (I recently ran out while baking, seriously). Or someone who would notice if you hadn’t left your apartment for 3 days and come check on you.

This was my simple little dream but after seeing Lochmara Lodge I began to think about the possibilities for expanding my dream. I could install solar panels and an organic garden.  Maybe the space downstairs is a gallery or a free performance space.  Maybe I don’t need a building but just some land with converted cargo containers.  Maybe each resident leaves a legacy….

Anything is possible right? 

In the meantime I’ll daydream, ponder, and refine my vision….and maybe buy a lottery ticket or too.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Janet permalink
    March 31, 2010 8:08 pm

    Hopes and dreams are essential to happiness. Thanks for sharing your beautiful dream Kim! I hope it comes true for you.

    The art in the forest is magical! I wish I could experience it in person. What a fantastic place!

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