HerbiFaery and I were having a conversation about what an ideal world would look like for us. She mentioned Anne of Green Gables, a world where you run out of the house to your friend next door to share big news or other things. Immediately I was carried into what I pictured to be Anne's world. A house with a white porch, a beautiful meadow with blooming flowers, trees everywhere, and of course a blue sky. Because blue skies are what makes such a place even more lovely.
Amazing as it may sound, my life in Germany was not so much different from this picture. Granted, I looked more like a boy, but life in general was simple, mostly screen free, and I do remember lots of blue skies too. I lived in a small house, surrounded by a large yard. Bushes and trees framed this yard, and in the summer it was like living in a sunny spot surrounded by a forest, that kept the family in, and strangers out. We had apple, pear, and cherry trees, berry bushes, and a garden full of tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beans and peas. My grandparents lived in an apartment downstairs from us, and she planted a variety of flowers and roses. I vividly remember this garden being colorful for most of the year.
This house was situated in the middle of a small town of 800 people, where most people knew who I was, and (later that was quite annoying) were always aware of my whereabouts. In my town there was no such thing as a lost child ever. In the summer we left the house in the morning to play with our friends. And we returned at night for dinner. Sometimes we got in trouble, because we were late. But nobody was ever worried about anything happening to us. It was simply not an option.
My best friend lived three houses away from me. A quick phone call would have been 25 cents. So we never talked on the phone. If one of us wanted to play or needed anything we'd walk down the street and ask. My friend's mom pulled the shades down half way, when they weren't home. But most of the time they were home, and we'd play in her yard, or in her room, or we'd walk over to my house again. We were two little girls with not a care in the world. As far as we were concerned we lived in paradise.
Many years later my life has changed a lot. Raising my kids the way I was raised is unthinkable. I don't let them run off all day. They do get to play outside, but it's always in our fenced in well protected yard. As for myself, I have very much adjusted to this life, that is filled with little gadgets. I love my teensy weensy laptop, and the internet is my way of staying connected with my family in Germany. I send pictures, I write e-mails and blog posts, and I stay in touch with friends through Facebook and my blog.
I do sometimes wonder if it's right like this. I wonder if it's a good way for my kids to grow up this way. They love their Wii and DS and their computers. They don't get to run around town the way I did. Granted, we do live in a city of 84.000 right outside of Portland, rather than a small town in Germany. But mostly I'm happy with the way things are. I love the friends in my life. I love our community of homeschoolers. This is not to say that I couldn't get used to a new situation. I know I could. I still love the idea of living outside of the town on a large lot with lots of trees and a garden. Who knows what life will bring.