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27 May 2007

goodbye green kitchen

goodbye green kitchen

This kitchen. Oh, this green kitchen.

This is the house in which I lived alone for three years. When I first walked into this lovely apartment, the upper floor of a home at the top of Queen Anne, I knew that I wanted to say yes to it within five minutes. Truly, it was when I walked into the kitchen. I spotted the sunlight, the skylights emblazoning their shape on the warm tile floor, and I knew this was home. "I'll take it," I told the landlord. And then I looked at the rest of the house.

As soon as I moved in, this place felt like home. I never felt like I was renting. I just inhabited this space. I graded essays as I sat by the living room window. Instead of marking papers with blue pen, I looked out at the Olympic mountains stretching to the sky. I slept alone. I usually slept well, but there was an absence in the bed with me. After two years of being in Seattle, I finally left New York.

This is the home in which I lay in pain, for months on end, after my car accident. The night my sciatica pain flared in electric bolts and fire flashes down my leg, I had to crawl from the bedroom to the bathroom, just to seek some respite in the hot bath. It didn't help, and it took me twenty minutes to crawl back to the bedroom.

The year afterward, I lay on the living room couch in throbbing pain. Every afternoon, I needed long naps after eating handfuls of soft bread. For months on end, I suffered, not knowing from where that pain emanated. When I found it was from eating gluten, I said yes to my new life. Every word, and every photograph, that appears on this website through today, has been crafted in this kitchen. Every bite of food I have cooked, every baked good I invented, every recipe I tested — they were all created in this kitchen.

And more importantly, for the last year, this has been my home with the Chef. This is the home in which we have made love, made the most memorable meals of my life, and made our lives together. A year ago this weekend, I asked him to move in with me, spontaneously. That question on Memorial Day 2006 was inspired by a frisee salad with a warm vinaigrette. And this year, on Memorial Day, we will move into our new home, the first house we have chosen together. He is going to make the salad again, for us.

Many of you have asked about the new house. I will save the full story for another piece. After all, that place will be the new home of this blog, and soon we will all feel familiar in its patches of light. I will say this, however: we are renting. The Chef and the writer? We can’t afford to buy a home. Yet. But the new home we are renting? It feels like a gift. It came through a friend, and we have been eager for weeks to live in its spaces. It is a small house, a cottage from the 1930s. There are hardwood floors, plenty of windows, a fireplace. Perhaps best of all — an enormous back yard. Gnarled apple trees, graceful pears, a wooden shed that is destined for chickens. Blueberry bushes, a raspberry patch, and grape vines straggling their way toward the sky. And a treehouse. We have a treehouse.

Along with all these gifts, one more. Our landlord, a dear man, is a master gardener here in Seattle, and he is going to mow the lawn and weed the garden as part of the rent. He is also going to help us start a vegetable garden, planted just outside the kitchen door.

We are going to start growing our own food.

And the kitchen in the new home? Enormous. New appliances. The brown tile floor gleams in the afternoon sunlight. We cannot wait to stand in front of the stove, dancing together, in our new home.

So we don’t feel sad, on the evening of our move. We are excited. Here we are, seven weeks before our wedding, starting our married life together in our new home. We have chosen each other, and we have chosen this home.

But before we say hello, we have to say goodbye.

There has been a spontaneous sharing around the internet: people sharing the insides of their refrigerators. I’ve been waiting until now to share ours, until just before we leave. Of course, the inside of the refrigerator looks quite different now. Mostly, it’s empty. But I thought this would be the best way to bid farewell to this kitchen. To share all its bounty.

inside the refrigerator

(Click on the photo to go to my flickr account and see the photograph with notes, plus others.)

Wherever we go, we are bringing the people we love.

on the refrigerator door II


And so, this home of mine, and then ours, will be empty tomorrow. After the cleaning on Tuesday, it will revert back to a rental, a white space into which someone else will dream her life.

Goodbye, green kitchen. Thank you.

24 Comments:

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Tea said...

Here's to many amazing new memories yet to be made in the new home!

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

I am sure that you and the Chef will have the new house feeling like home in no time. No matter what, it is always hard to move from a place with great(and not so great) memories because it is a part of who we are. I bring you virtual bread, salt and wine (tied with fresh sprigs of oregano, sage and rosemary) and best wishes in yur new home!

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger astillac said...

Hurrah for change!

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Eh... Not so much said...

Awww! I remember moving from my apartment into my house with Then-Boyfriend/Now-Hubby. Goodbye, little apartment! Can't wait to see new pictures of your new home!

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger ilingc said...

What lovely memories and what a beautiful kitchen! I'm sure whatever your new home may look like you'll both make it into a place as warm as this. After all, as they say, home is where the heart is :)

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Congrats on the new place. Funny how the places we live are etched in our memories. You never really leave a place you love, but leave a bit of your heart there. Can't wait to hear and see more of your new home. As a master gardener myself, I think any place where you can have a garden and grow things is important.

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

It's always a little sad to leave the old life behind. I can't wait to read what new and wonderous things happend to you and your Chef in your home. Best wishes for health, love, happiness and adventure in your new abode.

 
At 8:15 PM, Blogger Jen said...

I cannot wait to see the pictures of this garden come harvest time. :) Dearest, I hope you are not tired of hearing how thrilled I am for you, because you're about to hear it again. I'm so thrilled for you.

 
At 9:31 PM, Blogger Samantha said...

That is a nice green. Your new house sounds nice, though.

 
At 6:06 AM, Blogger MasGrandeQueJesus said...

Saying goodbye to a home is always a difficult thing to do. We're leaving our home of 3+ years as well, and even though ours has been full of headaches and the move is long overdue, it's hard to say goodbye. I know though, that the good times live in our memories, not the physical space, and that we'll carry them with us on our new adventures in our new home. I hope that you and The Chef carry your love, and your fond memories with you to your new home and your new adventures. It sounds wonderful.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Tanaya said...

This is my first comment here and it seems so stalkerish, BUT.... what is the rent?

I need a small apartment and your soon to be old one seems perfect!

Moveing from Chcago to Seattle in the upcoming weeks and I barely know where to start...

p.s. CONGRATS and good luck on the move. May your new home be filled with peace, happiness, and love.

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Shauna - you are so cool !!! I had a great time in Kauai ... and I look forward to catching up with you via your blog when the move is complete ! i know how much work it is ... so take your time. We'll all be here eagerly awaiting news of your new home !!

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jodi said...

Hi Shauna,
Moving into a new home with the chef is a delight. I'm so happy for you both. The additional gifting of the gardner and grass cutter is priceless. When you forget the green kitchen - and good or bad, you will - you will know that you are where you belong again. I lived in a lovely 2 bedroom apartment for 15 years, my Donald and I raised our 5 kids there, we loved there, we thought we'd never forget there, but when we moved to our new home, I felt at home the very first night. Those patches of sunlight will make themselves known in short order. You and the Chef will settle in for the next chapter. Best wishes. By the time you get this, you will have cleaned the apartment and said "goodbye green kitchen". Bittersweet I'm sure, but so worth the change.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Soul Kitten said...

Congrats, kiddos -- this green kitchen has inspired me as well. Your new home sounds lovely -- have you ever read SARK? She has a little cottage too, and she takes long naps there. I've always longed to live in SARK'S Cottage.

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Thank you, everyone. I am bedraggled and tired, sweaty and exultant. At the moment, I am in the green kitchen once again, taking a break from the last moving and the cleaning. (Ay, cleaning a house you no longer live in is exhausting work!)

Your well wishes mean the world to both of us. As Astillac said, Hurrah for change! Writing this piece was a way of fully letting go. Once I had published it, I wanted to leave. Now!

The new house is glorious. We slept there last night, our hands (bruised from moving, little nicks on all the fingers) held together all night long. When we woke up this morning, we could not believe our luck. It already felt like home.

There will be many, many stories and photographs from the home. This one has always been "the apartment" in my mind. The new one? It is already "the home."

We are both happy that you will all be there, at least virtually.

p.s. Tanaya, email me. It is not rented yet. You might have the green kitchen....

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger Seattle Tall Poppy said...

Ah miss Shauna. We've had many lovely times in that kitchen (that hasn't always been green!). I'm looking forward to many more nights of rowsing laughter in the new home.... xoxo....

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Ali & Evan said...

Thank you for including us during this very exciting time. I will never forget when we moved to our home. We moved out of our apartment, sold everything we owned, and packed what was left into backpacks and went around the world. We were in Egypt when we bought our home; we had only seen photographs of the space over the internet. We had no idea what color the kitchen was, what the kitchen floor was made of, what the master bedroom looked like, what sorts of flowers grew outside. But mircaulously, when we reutned to to the U.S. and unlocked our front door for the first time we suddnely did feel "home."
I am excited to see/read about your new adventures in your new kitchen and home. Congratulations!
P.S. Kitchen color: Terra Rosa, Kitchen Floor: Black&white checkered tiles, Master BEdroom: His and Her's closets, Plants: Ornamental grasses,birds of paradise, and palms

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Homemade tomato paste??? Hope that one is in the book!

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger nicole said...

I know how it is to leave a place that holds so many memories and meals cooked - but it is also good to move on to bigger and better things. Congrats!

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Best wishes on your new home, and here's to many more years of making sweet memories and delicious gluten free delights!

Karen
glutenfreefoodreviews.com

 
At 4:07 AM, Blogger Catherine said...

Good luck with the move, it's such an exciting change.

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger bookbabie said...

Oh good luck with the move and your first nest built together:)

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Marie Zoleen- said...

That was a really nice kitchen, when I saw it on food network it reminded me of the old house I lived in, that green was the color of our computer room. There are always lots of memories in kitchens!

 
At 2:27 AM, Blogger Joan said...

i also live alone. my place is all white. my kitchen and most of my stuff are all white. i love to cook in my kitchen and keep it very dainty after the cooking marathon. i also sleep well in my place. i know one day i will leave that place and i already know how it feels...

 

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