Surprise!! In another "covid pivot", we've decided to keep the adventure going! We've figured out how to stay in Tahoe and do distance learning here. We've committed to the the first quarter of the 2020 school year and we are hoping (if the logistics work well) that we can stay here in South Lake Tahoe until the holidays and return to in person learning in January.
We arrived in Tahoe in our RV at the end of July and immediately started looking at real estate. It's been a dream of ours for YEARS to have a place here of our own. After we "checked the box" of traveling for a summer in an RV, our love for Tahoe was made even more clear. Ironically (or perhaps not ironically) this was a dream we put a date. In January, we spoke it out loud to a friend and mentor that one of our 2020 goals was to buy a home in Tahoe for our family and friends to enjoy. And... then Covid and the world changed.
Instead of heading to Tahoe for the summer, we decided to RV road trip.
Our first thought - after living in such a small space for so long - was that we would get into a condo, but after looking at several condos and homes and getting into a CRAZY bidding war with what seemed like all of the Bay Area, we tied up a great 3 bedroom home in the neighborhood we have wanted to be in forever. We have the MOST GRACIOUS friends that invited us to stay at their property in our RV for what they probably thought was a weekend - that turned into a full month while we worked out all of the details.
Now... we are in our home and trying to find a rhythm. Heres the thing - all of us as parents are just doing the best we can with school. We find ourselves schooling via homeschool, distance, in person today - based on decisions made MONTHS ago with MONTHS AGO information, but for the Barretts, our thought process went like this...
We found out in July that our school (which we love) was offering a full distance learning option. Opting into this would allow us to retain our spots (its a charter school in our neighborhood) AND still have more adventure. This seemed like a great choice to allow our tribe to stay together, not have the stress of the unknown of what in person might mean, while also not have to create our own curriculum, etc etc. And ... when else could these Phoenix kids of ours experience fall? And, real talk? It doesn't take much for us to not want to go back to Phoenix in August. As I write this on September 4th, there is a heat advisory with a high of 114!!
So... I haven't shared too much publicly yet because the real estate market here (and everywhere, I'm told - especially in mountain towns) is bananas. It was a crazy stressful month, a crazy transaction, and we were holding it all very loosely in case it didn't work out. BUT - we've now closed on a home. We are all moved in (its a TIRED VRBO that came furnished) and we are working on plans to fix it up as a family project over the next few months.
Distance learning is still ROUGH, but I'm hoping now that we have 4 walls and a home of our own with the internet, that we will get a groove. Many of the kids' friends have gone back in person, which is VERY exciting for them. We hope to return in person in January. I should add that we aren't afraid to go back, we are just excited to try this new thing for a bit since we can. Both of our businesses allow us to work remote and with the convergence of school also being remote it gave us a great chance to ask ourselves - why not?
I think that's the great thing about Covid - SO MANY are asking great questions about their lives... what type of school works best for my kids and my family? Is my job what I really want to be doing? If I could live and work ANYWHERE, where would that be?
We LOVE our community in Phoenix and we miss them dearly, but I know that these next few months will fly by. We LOVE our community in Tahoe, as well, even though with covid and the demands of DL and work, we haven't seen many people. We ARE loving family time, we are creating new memories, and learning new things together. Is it perfect? Heck no. We are having some STRESSFUL moments over here. But, on balance - I pray its one of those moments we always look back on with joy. We are excited to be within a 2 hour driving distance of Tim's family and we are excited to be in the woods and on the lake for a few more magical months.
I told my kids... they need to get their work done, they need to pass school, and then they can really think of what they want to LEARN in this strange and unique season we find ourselves in. We're excited to fix up this house together, and if that's interesting to you all - I'm happy to blog it too.
I'm praying this will be a way to make the most of what this crazy season has to offer.
PS: Shout out to Scott and Debbie Douglass who took in these vagabonds with our FOUR kids and TWO dogs and just made us feel loved, welcomed, and supported for an ENTIRE month. I generally operate by the Ben Franklin 4 day rule on fish and houseguests, so even staying with someone that long was a stretch, but believe me when I tell you - the market is nuts. We couldn't have found a place to rent in the interim if we'd wanted to! We feel extremely fortunate to be here in this house now!