There's no way around it- paying my mortgage each month isn't easy. We live a paycheck-to-paycheck existence and it's stressful. But I just can't bring myself to sell the house and move somewhere cheaper. I LOVE Seattle, this neighborhood, the people on my block. Maybe someday it won't be such a struggle but in the meantime I'll find a way to make it work because this is such an ideal place to be, for both of us.
While I knew that this was a very diverse area, a recent article affirmed that my zip code is actually the most diverse in the entire country! During the adoption process I never had to worry about raising a black child in an all-white environment. In the larger neighborhood, whites are the minority. Plus, Seattle is a very liberal city and I never feel like we stand out. It isn't unusual to see families with two dads or children whose skintone doesn't match their parents. And while general diversity is wonderful, even more important to us is that there is also a very large Ethiopian community in Seattle. Within walking distance of our house, there are 3 Ethiopian restaurants. We eat at the closest one almost weekly and Isa will actually ask for injera if allowed to choose a restaurant for dinner. (Well, sometimes she chooses pizza, but it's pretty evenly split!) It's something small but it helps make " 'Opia" part of her normal routine.
The Ethiopian community in Seattle is a wonderful resource. Everytime we attend a community event, we are welcomed with open arms and Isa, of course, charms the pants off everyone. One organization holds bimonthly gatherings for families that include cultural presentations and dance lessons. I believe they have Amharic lessons for older children as well. Because these events are always scheduled smack in the middle of naptime, we had yet to get to one. Yesterday Isa went down really early for her nap, so I decided to wake her in time to join in. It was a blast! Isa found another 3 year old to run around and dance with.
Our block is amazing as well. The first weekend I had my house, my dad and I were painting when we heard a knock at the door. It was the neighbors bringing over freshly baked cookies (still warm) to say welcome to the neighborhood. I had no idea that people did that nowadays! Every summer there's a big block party and pre-Isa I would join neighbors to sit on their front porch in the evenings drinking and talking. We have a lovely old library, tiny cinema, a dozen or so restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines (Mexican, Caribbean, BBQ, Italian, Thai, etc), a Farmers' Market in warmer months. I've said numerous times that when we need a bigger house, I'd rather find a way to add onto this house than move.
Last Sunday was gorgeous and warm. I was reminded again why I love this neighborhood. The school playground down the block from us was swarming with families playing in the sunshine. When we got back from playing, the neighbors were out front having a picnic and Isa decided to insert herself into the fun. Gracie brought out her facepainting kit and while I went into our house to fix dinner, Isa sat next door being turned into a clown. Here is the result of Gracie's handiwork on her mother and Isa:
So, somehow I will find a way to keep paying the mortgage. Because it really is worth it.