I’m sitting alone on a pier over Donner Lake. Exhale … I think I can finally breathe. The weight of the last few weeks has been sitting heavy on my chest, but as I look around at this beautiful home of mine, I know I will be okay.
In my last reporter’s note, Who Says You Can’t Go Home?, I reflected on my childhood and noted how difficult it is for those of us who grew up here to be able to live here now as adults. I shared that my partner and I were searching for new housing in the area. That journey has since come to a close, but it wasn’t easy.
As I sit here by the lake looking at a view so perfect it could be a painting, I reflect on what home is. Is it a person? Is it a place? Is it a town or community? Is it a routine? A certain smell? A state of comfort? Maybe it’s none of these things, or maybe it’s all of them.
When we searched for a new home, none of the available houses in our budget were remotely similar to the living situation that we had grown used to. After living together just the two of us, we would have to learn to adjust our lifestyle and share our household with roommates.
One night after viewing a house that I knew wouldn’t be a good fit, I felt defeated. I felt that I was either going to end up in a situation that I wasn’t comfortable in, or I was going to have to move out of the area. I sat on the steps of my old apartment with tears in my eyes. I told my boyfriend that I didn’t know if we would be able to find a house to call home in Tahoe. He motioned the space between the two of us and said, “but this is our home.” He meant the two of us, together. He was right.
We prevailed in our search and eventually found a place. We moved from our Carnelian Bay apartment to a log house in Truckee with roommates. Home feels much different now and the change has been difficult to adjust to. Coming from a girl who moved from Tahoe to New York City to Europe to Hawaii and then back to Tahoe, somehow moving from the North Shore to Truckee felt like the farthest distance.
But, as I look out at the lake, now Donner instead of Tahoe, I recognize how much I have to be grateful for. I feel my sense of anxiety morph into eagerness to explore this new home. I feel love and appreciation for this mountain life that I get to live. Home is Tahoe and home is Truckee. Home is the people and places that nourish my heart and soul.
In this special housing edition of Moonshine Ink, we report on the ongoing housing crisis and how organizations are working to resolve related issues so those who live here can continue to call this place home.