i had begun to immerse myself in sustainable living before moving overseas. we sold everything we didn't take on the plane with us. i was ready to embrace a more minimalist life. while living in london, we decided to start eating vegetarian at home (we would eat what was prepared for us when we were invited elsewhere). we joined a csa (community supported agriculture). i tried (unsuccessfully) to grow some food…i think we harvested 2 or 3 tomatoes. :)
moving back to the states, i was ready to take on more in the way of sustainability. i wanted to do all of the things that urban living made possible. we spent weekends trolling downtown neighborhoods and real-estate websites for a small home. but…my husband's job was in the suburbs. living downtown would be more expensive and also make his commute a long one. our church would just be another long commute on sundays, and we wouldn't live in the same community as our soon to be friends there.
i was also extremely attracted to farm life. growing our own food and having some left over to feed our community sounds idyllic. we spent weekends touring the countryside searching for places with for sale signs. expense, commute, and proximity again became issues. neither farm nor urban living looked like the best option for us.
so, here we are in the suburbs…in the land of strip malls and big box stores. the sprawl extends for miles and miles. our first visit here had me in tears over the endless strip malls stretching from city to city. it was shockingly unfamiliar (we lived in a smaller town in new mexico for 3 years before our move to london). i'd realigned my values and this immense consumerist wonderland was overwhelming. i just didn't know if i could stand it.
but, yeah. almost five years have passed and we are aware of many blessings offered in where God positioned us. my husband bikes to and from work most days now. we have a vegetable garden that takes advantage of the suburban lot we live on. we choose to frequent a farmer's market, credit union, library, whole foods, ice cream shops, coffee shops, music store, and post office…all quite close to home. jo works and attends college close to home. we just choose to stay local for the most part. it cuts down on milage and emissions.
sustainability in the suburbs may not be quite as recognized as that in the city or on the farm, but i do think that it is a workable goal. our suburb is the right place for our family right now, and i intend to share how we strive for an ever shrinking footprint from right where we are.