Living space

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As the construction of our house slowly progresses, so does my need  for living space.  In a month' time it will be two years since we started living with six people in a caravan of twenty-seven square metres.

The other day I saw a video on the internet of a chicken that had lived as a battery chicken for years and that was now given its “freedom” by the owner. 

It was a beautiful sight to see how the chicken first stretched its legs and then, one by one, its wings. 

All of a sudden I imagined how I would do that once I lived in my earth house. Of course in many ways one cannot compare these two situations.  Yet I am thinking how wonderful it will be when I can stretch myself standing next to my bed.  Right now I do this sitting on the edge of my bed, because when I stand, I touch the ceiling right away.  And again we will be able to pass one another without having to touch each other. Being able to open the fridge without having to wait until somebody leaves the bathroom.  I calculated that for each member of the family we have three square metres of living space.  In a little while this is going to be over fourteen square metres!  Life in such a confined space with so many people's saps in a way one's energy.  If only the annoyance that I can never enjoy an empty space on any give surface for longer than an hour.  Be it the kitchen sink, bed, floor or table, at any given time there will be something on it. As soon as the kids have come back from school, the kitchen sink is full with four lunch boxes, seven cups and three fruit bowls.  To be able to cook at all, first everything should be washed and cleared away from the kitchen sink of half a meter.  The beautiful weather right now makes a big difference, because it means that we can eat outside at the garden table and that the children may all have their own chair.   Inside all four of them sit on a little bench of not even one and a half metre wide, so each one has got a space of about 30 cm! Edion and I are sitting on dining room chairs at the other side of the table. Once I sit down, Edion can go sit, and getting up goes in the reverse order.  When the children are finished with their food and want to leave the table, they just slide from their seats to the floor and crawl under the table and our chairs until they are able to stand upright again in the living area.

Every time I am genuinely surprised how easy it is to lose things in such a small space. And the stress it creates to do the search.  Where, for example, are my summer clothes?  Under which bed or bench and in which plastic bag?  Apparently one needs space for searching for things as well.

But one big difference with the battery chicken is, beside the fact that we have chosen for this, is that we know that these living conditions will last only for a relatively short period of our lives and that soon it will be “better”.  Although the house is becoming more sparse as the completion is in sight, I console myself with the thought that a wind- and waterproof shell of eighty-seven square metres is always better than where we are living right now.

Until then we continue to build together until the last house is finished and we will drag each other through the difficult times.  That is the added value of this community.  Because society=living together and it only works if you take it literally according to Loesje's granddad.