Home Is Where My Heart Is
This little yellow house has been through a lot. It was in the summer of 2010 and I was driving back and forth from Hollywood to west LA to find a place for us to rent. I had told my friends,
" I want to find a little yellow cottage with hardwood floors and white walls. And maybe a fireplace and a brick wall..."
It took me a couple of months to find it. I had been looking around the Venice Canals, Main Street and all over Santa Monica and nothing was just right. I really wanted a stand-alone, a place where we could stay for a while, with good light and energy.
By the end of August I almost gave up on searching and just did one last check-in on Craigslist. I saw a post with one little image of a patio and something looking like a yellow house. It said "Tucked away cottage with lush garden," hardwood floors... I knew it was going to be mine. It had to. I emailed the realtor right away and drove over to Santa Monica for the open house first thing the next morning. The place was so crowded. All applications were gone. I think I spent 10 seconds inside the house before deciding. I'm going to get this house.
I talked to the realtor and explained to him that my boyfriend and I had been looking for a cottage for a long time and that we were super interested and from Sweden. He told me the family that own the property was German and that the landlord was outside the house in the garden. I walked up to the landlord, shook his hand and tried to get out the few German words I knew. He told me he loved Sweden, and we had a nice little chat.
The next morning I got a call from the realtor. He told me the house was mine if I wanted it. I had to act fast since there were a lot of people waiting to move in, but the landlord had said he really would like to rent it to us. My boyfriend was recording at that time and had not even seen the house. I called him up and we decided to do it. The location was perfect in the edge of NoMa (Right of Montana Ave) on 7th Street, just a few blocks from the ocean. The house had an attic for storage, so that was perfect for all our music equipment.
Since we had no credit history or even Social Security numbers we had to put down a larger deposit, It was a little stressful especially with rent being so high in Los Angeles but we managed to figure it out.
Just 3 months after moving in, we went home to Sweden for Christmas. Little did we know when packing 5 hours before our flights that it was going to be 9 months before we could come back.
Visa issues are never fun, but we managed to get through that struggle. I was not going to let go of this house. This house was my home away from home. Something I had been searching for a long time.
Many of you who know me know my doors are always open. I have always loved and been thankful when someone has let me stay at their house while traveling. I would not want someone not to be able to experience Los Angeles due to how expensive hotels are. I thought if I open my doors, maybe someone will do the same to me when I need that. My house is your house.
Now looking back on all the little step-by-step renovations I have made, this house is finally starting to look like a home. Walls have been painted, floors sanded (they used to be orange) and the place is always changing from one day to another. Frames get moved around, furniture painted. It's definitetly alive.
I have made so many friends and bonded with a lot of magical people over this dining table. I did not own a car back then and really wanted a rustic wood table. I knew there was a hardware store a few miles away from my house so I managed to tape all the parts to my bike. Big planks of wood... I walked alongside Lincoln pushing the wood on my bike.
The first years after coming back from the unexpectedly long visit to Sweden was really hard on me. My boyfriend had his work permit, but I was not allowed to work on my Visa. I had so much creativity and passion but could not express it. At least not in the way I wanted. With no money to do fun stuff, I had to be creative with what I had. This house was my canvas. I was not really able to enjoy the beach because I had no ease and I felt guilty for not working. I took the time to learn new skills like advanced sewing, photography, graphic design, upholstery, videography etc… as well as helping my friends with their kids. I did not want to give up. Finally in 2015 we got Green Cards. I had this little origami bird that I had made and put inside a little cage. It was my symbol to keep on going. I was the bird inside the cage.
I used to say:
"THIS IS ME, THE BIRD IN THE CAGE. BUT I’M GOING TO BE HAPPY CAUSE I'M A BIRD IN A CAGE HANGING IN PARADISE. I CAN SEE THROUGH AND ABSORB. THE CAGE HAS A DOOR AND ALL DOORS EVENTUALLY OPEN. I'M NOT BELOW GROUND IN A DARK DUNGEON, I'M A BIRD IN A CAGE READY TO FLY WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT."
That cage and that bird now hang by my window, the door is open and the bird is free.
I don't know if I would had been able to get through those years without The Little Yellow House. I made sourdough bread from scratch, I got to take care of people and host. Give love to others, keep my doors open. The light inside was beautiful. There were days when I was alone and just looked at the wall, but most of the time I was able to pick myself up. With my boyfriend touring and traveling, it was not as lonely as it could have been because I had friends that were visiting from every corner of the world. Energy tends to stick around in places, and the reason everyone loves the energy in this house is because this house is everyone’s.
Now looking back on the past 8 years in this house, I am certain that
The best things are the most unexpected, when you trust your gut and let go, things have a way of just falling into place.
My life took a very unexpected turn last August. The rug was pulled out under my feet. Something I trusted and believed in was taken away from me without any notice. My trust, my love, my beliefs... After losing a lot of things I decided to never lose myself. Me. I will never let myself down ever again. I will never let go of who I am. I Am Feeling Free.
My biggest obstacle has always been fear. Fear of failure. But also the fact that I have compromised too much. I tried to make others happy but forgot to check in with myself and make sure that I was doing all right. So now, moving forward, I will let go of fear. Everything always works out in the end.
" SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN BURIED BUT YOU HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN PLANTED".