I was working at a small NGO which focused on humanitarian efforts abroad. It was what had brought me here in the first place. Many of the staff were volunteers, and the rest of us were paid a small stipend. I worked with some of the most interesting and caring people I've ever met. It's difficult, however, to build a house on an income about half of minimum wage.
Meantime, I was living in my aunt's basement. Which was wonderfully kind and generous of her, but--centipedes. And camel back crickets. And mold growing on my clean clothes hanging in the closet. And--oh, for a place of my own!
Friends helped me insulate, hang sheetrock, mud, sand, and paint. I couldn't afford proper flooring, so I painted the plywood decking and covered the living area with used carpet squares. My kitchen cabinets came from an old house being remodeled. When we cut them to fit, we discovered they were solid heart pine. Fridge, stove, washer, and dryer all came second (or third, or fourth) hand from various people remodeling or upgrading. Found an old armchair in the basement of a building where I worked; they considered it rubbish and let me have it. The upholstery was shot, but it had good bones and was wonderfully soft.
Before I came, I had wandered some. (All that searching for love, career, adventure, & romance.) Lived in Russia, then Kentucky, then Israel, then Texas. Along the way I acquired a sweet little grey kitten. I know now that she was a nebelung. At the time, I only knew she was the prettiest, smartest, dearest little thing I'd ever seen. She kept me company in my wandering. I would stroke her and promise that we'd find a place to put down roots, a place where she could be clean and warm and comfortable. That she wouldn't have to keep changing homes forever.
|My sweet Sihn cat.|
In my cabin, I left the original ceiling joists exposed. I made a loft over part of them, but the other part was kept open. My little grey cat danced across them as though they were solid flooring. In a fit of happiness and whimsy, I named the place Nimblecat, after her.
I also had two dogs, Kajsa (kysa) and Jasper. Kajsa was a German Shepherd, acquired from a cousin's sister's neighbor. I adopted her the first year I was in the basement. When she was three, she had a litter of half-chow puppies; Jasper was from that litter. Kajsa was everything you dream of in a dog. The kind books are written about. Brilliant, funny, loyal, curious, focused, intrepid, fearless. Jasper was a fierce-looking teddy bear.
|With my puppy, Kajsa.|
|Always ready for adventure.|
|With Jasper--always ready for a hug.|
I'll tell you now: it's still not finished.