Eight years ago I and my partner started a snarky little blog about the trials and tribulations of pursuing the good life on a pauper’s budget. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us the high life is “an exciting way of living in which rich and successful people enjoy themselves by spending a lot of time and money in fashionable places.” We knew we sure weren’t living the high life… but we were lusting after it. We wanted to be the type of people who visited fashionable places and did fashionable things. On the cheap.
Since that time, we’ve both had some amazing adventures. For about a year we chronicled food, wine, art, politics and fashion in Washington, DC. Then, in 2009, we decided to move to Italy, where we spent six months learning Italian and running around the countryside consuming Italian food and wine. (Our blog followed us.) After Italy came Argentina, where I learned Spanish and wrote about South American wines. Then I moved to Hawaii, where I started a wine club and expanded my cooking skills (sadly, I didn’t chronicle this part!). About every two years, I would revive the blog to record a brief one-month adventure. In October 2012 I took a month off to travel through China, and in October 2014 I took a 1000-kilometer bike trip down the west coast of France.
It was never intended to reach a huge audience. Instead, it forces me to reflect a bit on my life and whatever I am doing, and hopefully offers some enjoyment for others. So today, October 1, 2016, I officially inaugurate a new High Life adventure… the Total Kitchen Renovation. In April I bought a one bedroom condo in Alexandria… my first real estate purchase, ever. I had to wait ten years between the time I could first qualify for a loan (2006) and the time when the market and my job and my bank account all aligned again. (Obviously, I’m glad I didn’t buy in 2006. Why? Because I bought my place here for the same price the owner paid in 2006. Ouch.)
Every few days, I’ll post pictures and analysis and freak-outs as I transform the small 8×10 kitchen of my one bedroom apartment into the kitchen of my dreams. (And don’t kid yourself– this is EVERY BIT as scary as taking a Chinese night bus!)
I’m really, really not a rich person who can afford this. I spent about half my savings on the down payment for this place… and now I’m potentially spending the OTHER half on the renovations. I’m petrified. There’s so much to learn and so many things that can go wrong. But, I’m also a talented and passionate cook who has just turned 40 and is SICK and TIRED of making do with underpowered tools in poorly-designed spaces. A real kitchen isn’t just my dream, it’s my workspace for the future– a place to create art, for the rest of my life. And so, I have to do it. I have to dive in, and chronicle my thoughts and fears and experiences along the way.
Because, after all, the alternative is to live a normal life. And you know how I feel about that.