Monday, July 30, 2018

Moving from ‘The Morgue’ to Manson

‘Change is the only constant in life.’
-- Heraclitus

Was it only last July that we turned our lives upside down by deciding to sell our U.S. home and live full-time in Greece?

Was it only last year that I showed you photos of our ‘summer of slogging’ and made jokes about living out of that corrugated metal storage unit we’d rented in the Seattle suburb?

Filling up the Storage Unit - July 2017

One Year Later. . .

The Stone House on the Hill - far right
Settled in to our Stone House on the Hill in Greece’s Peloponnese, we are comfortably adjusting to and enjoying expat life. That is, with the one exception I told you about last week:
being homeless’ in America.

Having no address to call our own, coupled with ‘living out of the storage’ unit (as I had quipped last summer) wasn’t working. That fact became real clear after our visit in the Northwest last January.

We got rid of one temporary address during that visit. Our friend's graciously loaned us another. Our visits to the storage unit were bleak. Seeing our life’s accumulations – the stuff special enough to have kept -- stuffed into stack and piles, boxes and bags was nothing short of depressing.  We began calling it ‘the morgue’. It made us feel dead. We knew it was time to regroup.

Time for change -

‘And suddenly you know;
It’s time to start something new
and trust in the magic of beginnings.
  -- Meister Eckhart

So for the past few months, while I’ve been telling you of the wonders of Greece, we have been conducting a long distance search for a ‘seasonal home’ back in the States. (We would have once called it a ‘second home’ or ‘vacation home’ but the industry jargon has changed over the years.)

With no immediate plans to give up full-time residency in Greece, we needed a place for our belongings and a place to stay when we go back to visit. Someday perhaps it would serve as a full-time home when health, age, or immigration rules (or a combination of them) prompts us to leave Greece.

In keeping with our downsizing philosophy, we set out to buy a condo in the same Seattle suburb we’d left last year. Unfortunately for us, it is the suburb that continues to make headlines as being one of the hottest (high prices and selling quickly) housing markets in the nation.

With condo’s selling within five days of listing, we picked up our pace. If a ‘possible place’ came across the screen, we’d contact good friends back there, asking them to drop what they were doing to race out and see it. They’d report back and with the time differences, we’d have about 48 hours in which to make an offer. We went for two and lost out. The market was limited and the list prices the baseline for a bidding war.

The process got real tedious. It was time to expand the search:

Our old home was Kirkland, just north of Bellevue, a Seattle suburb
We opted to stay within Washington State boundaries. And in a quirky turn of events we came across a place we’d looked at and liked last summer. Back then the owner wasn’t ready to sell and we weren’t ready to buy.

Now she wanted to sell. We were ready to buy.

New adventures. . .of sorts!

We're heading to Manson, Washington, an unincorporated town in Central Washington nestled on the shores of Lake Chelan.

Manson and Wapato Point on Washington's Lake Chelan
The 55-mile long, glacier-fed lake has long been a popular tourist destination and the photo above shows the portion of Lake Chelan where Manson is located. For those who know the area, that is Wapato Point jutting down (towards the bottom of the photo).

A portion of Lake Chelan from the town of Chelan - Cascade Mountain range
The house will be new beginning for The Scribe and a return to his roots for The Scout (after a many-decades absence), as Manson is eight miles from Chelan where he was born and raised.

A portion of Lake Chelan from The Butte
The hillsides surrounding the lake were once carpeted with apple orchards, however, as the Washington State wine industry has exploded, many of those orchards have been replaced with vineyards – acres and acres of vineyards.

PicMonkey Collage
Manson Washington - apple orchards and vineyards

The vineyards have given rise to wineries, and the wineries have opened tasting rooms. New seasonal festivals related to the wine industry now fill tourism event calendars for this part of Central Washington.

Benson Vineyards - Chelan Washington
Our new U.S. base will be about four hours drive from our former home in the Seattle suburbs.

The similarities are many between our Greek and new U.S. home. In many ways it will be village life, as it is village life here. The main thoroughfares are two-lane roads. Agriculture and tourism blend to keep the areas vibrant. Much like our Agios Nikolaos, Manson village has a few restaurants, a grocery store, and bars. It does have a post office.

Wenatchee, like Kalamata is here, will be the hub for major shopping, health care and each city has a regional airport. Both are about an hour's drive away.

Our new U.S. home, is walking distance to the village and to the lake. We’ll be surrounded by vineyards and wineries.How much better a location could we have found?!

Surrounded by wineries - a perfect location
Thanks to the internet and Skype, the purchase process, completed during the month of July, was carried out quite easily despite being 8,000 miles and 10-hours time difference away.

Our airline tickets back have been purchased, a moving company has been hired, we are synchronized to move ourselves out of ‘the morgue’ and to Manson this fall.  It took three months last summer to get us moved out of our old life and we’ve scheduled three weeks this fall to get us moved into the new.  I’m certain with all the offers of help we’ve received from friends and with a bit of that Chelan area wine – we’ll be able to pull it off.

Oh. . .did you want to see the house? Well, here it is:
Our new home in Manson
It’s one level (like they recommend for boomers) and its in a gated community – so will be a secure place to leave our belongings. Unlike our Stone House on the Hill in Greece, we have no water views, but we will be able to see a portion of the Washington Cascade Mountain range from our front deck:

Our front porch
So with the purchase ‘done and dusted’ last Wednesday evening (as our British friends would say), we toasted the fact that we have a US address again and that we can now get back to the business of enjoying Greece.

A toast to a new address
The Scout has been busy planning a Greek road trip for us, that involves some more Greek island hopping!  And they might be some islands that many of you’ve never heard of. . . I’ll tell you about them soon!

Thanks for being with us as we travel this ex pat world! Safe travels to you and yours ~

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend


  1. This looks like a lovely house and spot for your American home. Trust in the magic of beginnings! (love that quote)

    1. Isn't that just the best way to approach a new beginning?? Thanks for following along on this definite boomer adventure! xx

  2. Congratulations. I am amazed at the romance of your choices. A chasm of a difference from ours! I guess we made healthcare #1 among our criteria.

    1. Actually health considerations were high on our list. We are close to Seattle and all the major health centers there like Fred Hutch, Virginia Mason and Swedish. Wenatchee has a large medical center and even Chelan is building a new large state-of-the-art hospital. When compared to our volunteer operated, donation-purchased ambulance that serves us here in Greece, this home is in a medical mecca!

  3. WIshing you every happiness in you new home! It looks warm, cozy and just right!

    1. It is far more welcoming than that dark, dreary morgue of a storage unit - that's for sure!!

  4. That is lovely news and it looks like a gorgeous house and lovely views. Very cold looking area though!

    1. We both were born and raised in Eastern Washington so know the cold winters that exist there. That's why Greece remains our full-time home and Hawaii timeshare life our winter get-away and this one a 'seasonal' home! Thanks for stopping by Jan.

  5. Having lived in Tonasket and Wenatchee I know this area and like it much. Congrats on yet another house purchase.

    1. Thanks Gaelyn. I forgot that you were familiar with this area. It is beautiful and provides some wide open spaces still. I anticipate that when we do need to leave Greece and its spaciousness, we will need to see the sky, big long stretches of sky! Thanks for the comment!

  6. This was an interesting read. Thank you for sharing your journey. Most only dream of what you guys are doing! Congrats on finding your US residence. You’ve got some really gracious friends there, you know!

    1. We are blessed with fabulous friends on both sides of the pond! Our family is few and far between so friends really do make up our world and we don't take any of them for granted. Thanks much for your comment!!

  7. Yay! Congratulations! I'm loving having a home base again and now that we're settled in, it's time to start thinking about where to next, along with the absolute joy of our new grandbaby.

    I had to giggle about your single story home (for boomers) because as much as we wanted a single story home they are few and far between here on the east coast and so not only did we not buy a single story home, we bought a home that has two flights of stairs. If we're on the main floor, we either have to go up, or go down, to use the bathroom. Ha! Ha! But, we love the house.

    Congratulations again and happy moving! I have an inkling of exactly how you're feeling just about now. :) Well done!

    1. I was thinking of you two when I wrote this and knowing that you would understand. Actually all the condos we looked at did have one or more flights of stairs and in each case, those friends looking at them would note, "someday. . .you know" Well I have so many flights of stairs here that I am hoping not to need that flat house for many years to come. Hugs to you role-models! J.

  8. Your new house looks perfect for people our age. Our "seasonal" house has lots of stairs, so not too well suited to growing old(er) in. I hope the move from the morgue doesn't prove too arduous.

    1. Hopefully moving from the 'morgue' won't be as deadly as downsizing was last summer! I suspect there will be more downsizing and discarding to come but it is amazing how a year away from it all lessens the emotional ties one has to 'things'.

  9. Hello, Your new home is pretty. I have been to Lake Chelan and to stay overnight at Stehekin. It is a beautiful area! I was wondering if you were near any of the wildfires in Greece, they looked dangerous. Happy August, enjoy your day and week ahead!

    1. I remember that you did visit there! And Stehekin is one of my all-time favorite mountain getaways. Thanks for asking about the Greek fires. They were close to Athens and we are about a 4.5 hours drive from there; located on the 'middle finger' of the Peloponnese. The fires were deadly and tragic. The death toll had hit 100 the last time I saw any reports. See you soon over at your blog!

  10. Wow, Jackie, the Bungalow (as we Brits call them) looks wonderful. And yes, you're quite right that 'boomers' need one level -- things can get worse! Sounds like the ideal spot to be. Good luck and enjoy. Best wishes to you both.

    1. Well, the practical side of us 'daydream chasers' came out and we realized that what will likely cause us to leave our Greek home will be an inability to handle the stairs. . .so the logical purchase would be a flat house. . .and the good thing about it, is that it seems so much bigger than it is by being on one level!

  11. Nice looking digs! Congratulations :-). It is a pain in the ass with the address thing back in the U.S and continues to be for us but there is so little left that it works. My husband says if we ever move back to the U.S, we can move into the rental property that is single family, but it's in Houston and l never want to live there again. I told him..never.. we either move to Rome and his family or Nigeria with mine :-)

    1. You nailed it with 'pain in the ass' and US address complications. How in this techno-based world we live in can physical addresses be so important?? I envy you your family destination choices, Rome or Nigeria sound like places that would appeal to our vagabond hearts. And I envy your family ties, we pretty much are without ties.

  12. This looks like the best of both worlds - a home in Greece and a place to stay in Washington wine country. You're going to have a wonderful time!

    1. Fingers crossed that we have found the best of both worlds! Thanks much for the visit, Karen!

  13. Your new house is so pretty. Boy, talk about living a full time in beautiful Greece and yet, having a beautiful home in the states.
    Oh, and there's no rhyme nor reason to making a wire wreath...just note in her pic that Carol used several strands of wire and twisted and turned to make it all look rustic...a big circle of wire formed into a heart and dried roses attached...not sure how she attached her flowers...mine, I just stuck the stems thru the wire...ones I had trouble with, I pulled out by trusty hot glue gun !! They are fun to make and you just put your spin on them.....when you get yours made, post about it with a pic so I can see....xoxo

    1. I was just reading your latest post and then popped over to Carol's to take a closer look at her heart. I will give it a try and post a photo for sure!!

  14. Another new beginning. The house you have purchased in the States looks beautiful. I wondered how long it would be before you had a foot in "both camps" again. The best of both worlds I think. Enjoy. And have a great weekend!

    1. It would definitely have been easier to pull up stakes at age 20-something with no ties, investments, retirement or health care to keep one tied to the homeland. . .that is for sure. Hopefully, a foot in two worlds, with one a much smaller one than before, will work! xx J.

  15. Congrats, Jackie! It looks like a spectacular place to live! Happy you will be able to enjoy those precious things you've put in storage. Again, you've made me think about the practicalities of expat life!

    1. Ex pat life is a good one but it just isn't as carefree as some would like to think it is. I'd still recommend it highly. . .never a dull or slow moment!!

  16. My how time flies, Jackie! Your seasonal home and location are wonderful and I imagine that being surrounded by vineyards and wineries might prove to be beneficial as well as remind you of your Greek ties. There are so many considerations to living as an expat that don't even begin to occur to you until you're off and well into the adventure. I empathized with your tale about the necessity of having a US address and thank my sister every time I write for letting us use hers as this is the only way we can keep US bank accounts, credit cards and investment accounts. It's absolutely nuts how difficult the regulations and bureaucracy have made what should be a simple choice. Your solution for enjoying the treasures you've collected is terrific and what a rich life awaits you as you enjoy the best of two continents!


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