Since I strongly expect all participants to get a fine bottle of Romanian wine, I hereby participate* and share this monumental post with you – my beloved readers.
Memories of the good old times
When I read MrWs post – and the corresponding question: “how would your perfect community look?”– my first thought was of a lovely spring day in Stockholm, a few years ago…
That day, I went to a client dinner in an excellent restaurant called Djuret. It was a laid back evening with nice people, fantastic food and interesting conversations.
I especially enjoyed the company of Johan, a Swede in his early 50s. He had this calm nature and a fine sense of humor. A bit of a Swedish stereotype.
After a few drinks, Johan shared his story about a community he had lived in, when his kids were still young. At the time, Johan and his wife had decided to move to a farm outside Stockholm together with some likeminded friends. These were all city folks and most of them had kids. They all shared a desire to let their inner Hippie go wild. If I recall correctly, it was a small farm with some houses and a bunch of animals.
A decision with consequences
Why do I still remember Johan so well?
I couldn’t stop laughing that night. It was one of the best stories I have heard in my life – maybe only matched by my Croatian mate Zoran’s colonoscopy experience involving a flexible tube and a pretty hot nurse. But that is a story for another day…
In Johan’s community the kids loved to play with the farm animals. And there were plenty of them, including a few very cute piglets who had a great life – getting fatter and fatter – until eventually a decision had to be taken.
What to do with the pigs?
Well, after all, farm animals serve a purpose. As cute as these pigs were, they were also destined to provide food to the community. Hence the families decided to slaughter the pigs – starting with two of them.
Now this could be slightly traumatic for the kids. Therefore, the mothers left the farm with the kids and went for a daytrip. It was down to the guys to get the job done.
It‘s all about execution
Remember, these were all city boys. They had never killed such an animal before. However, they did have some hunting rifles available at the farm. They just had to figure out a way of doing it.
So they sat down at a table. Over a bottle of Whiskey they developed their masterplan, how to kill those pigs most efficiently.
By the time the bottle was finished, a clear plan of action had crystalized.
They wanted to avoid a situation that one of the pigs gets too nervous while the other one gets shot. Therefore, they decided to kill both pigs simultaneously.
How to do it?
Put some food in the middle. Wait until both pigs put their heads down to eat it. Approach from the back… count to three… Boom!
Shot in the head – both at the same time.
Well, a few things they didn’t consider.
- Shooting simultaneously can be a challenge.
- Pigs usually don’t just fall over dead when you shoot them in the head – especially when the shooter is a boozed amateur.
- Injured, those pigs go absolutely wild!
Well, to cut a long story short, the pigs eventually died a slow death while the ambulance took care of the boys.
The morning after our dinner, I woke up and immediately remembered Johan’s story. It got me thinking.
How cool would it be to move with your friends and their kids to a farm and live together in a community?
It must be so much fun. You spend a lot of your time together. The kids can play. They will grow up with a variety of farm animals and get a sense for nature that I never developed – having lived in larger cities for all my life.
Quite tempting, I must admit.
Would it really make me happier though?
Well, I am not so sure.
As a starter, I don’t know likeminded people in my area, who would be up for it. So I would first need to find new friends to pull this adventure off. But even if I found a bunch of nice people who would join, I am not sure it would be the right setup for me.
I really enjoy living within biking distance of my work place, so I can cycle to work every day. I don’t want to move too far out of the city.
More importantly, I also enjoy my privacy. Socializing is all fun and good. But I also need my own space when I feel like it. I am not sure a very close community would be right for me.
The perfect mix
The more I think about my perfect community, the more I realize that I may have already found it.
There is a pretty strong community feeling in my direct neighborhood. Our home is reasonably close (10km) to my work but the area still has a rural character. We live in a terraced house with a little courtyard in front and a communal park behind our small garden in the back. The kids play together almost every day and the parents join in with a beer after work or even a spontaneous barbecue if the weather allows.
It is a good mix between privacy and social life, whatever I prefer at the moment.
Yes, I can say that I am already very happy and content with the place we currently live.
I found my perfect community… for the time being.
That last bit is the important part. Our current environment works well for us at this point in time – or better – at this stage in our lives. When living circumstances change, our perfect community will also need to adapt.
Once we become financially independent, in around eight years or so, it is our intention to move closer to our families. We will not be tied to my working location anymore. Proximity to our families is something we currently miss.
We will likely move either to Bremen or Berlin, areas where we still have our families and plenty of close friends. These parts of Germany are also more affordable.
Heiermann and Groschen will be around 10 years of age by then. The new perfect community will therefore need to take into account schooling and a child friendly environment.
Once the two eventually move out, Frau Finanzglück and I will likely reduce our living space and move into a smaller flat in a trendy and central neighborhood.
Or maybe we will prefer to share a house with one or both of our kids.
Or share a community with friends.
Or spend a few years travelling abroad.
Keep it like Johan
It will depend on what is most important for us when we get there. I cannot yet define my perfect future community. It will be subject to change, as we develop.
Life comes in stages. What works well now – with little kids and a day-job – will be very different from my life as a financially independent, with no kids left in the household.
Johan left the community after a few years. I didn’t ask why. My assumption is that it was just not the right environment any longer for him and his family. They seem to have had a fantastic time until they found a new perfect community and moved on.
I guess I will keep it like Johan.
* You hereby witness two world premieres in one post! My first participation in a blog carnival and my first post in English. Hooray!