When I was eight years old, my best friends had a pond in which we’d canoe during the Texan summers.
Their home was beautiful, with many corners I loved. But it was the willow trees beside the water that captured me. Sometime during those summers, a dream tucked itself in my heart—someday, I’d like to live in a place where willow trees tickle the water.
I never lived in the countryside after we left Texas.
Vini and I moved into our first apartment in downtown Abbotsford—walking distance from everything and an hour’s drive to Granville Market in Vancouver. We went there for a date once, and I paused in front of the willow trees beside the creek, their leaves brushing the lawn as a breeze ribboned through its branches and fanned a dormant flame in my heart.
We tried to sell our apartment and buy a house four times during our five years of marriage. I’ve reduced months of trepidation, hope, and humiliating disappointment into one sentence. Each time we gathered stacks of paperwork, painstakingly prepared our apartment for showings, and sat in front of bankers who told us we didn’t have what it takes to break into British Columbia’s impossible real estate market.
We traveled to the interior of BC in -22ºC temperatures, seeing if that’s where we were meant to be. A deal on our apartment fell through just before removing subjects. We let go of so many places that seemed perfect.
In the summers, we drove to our hikes in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, and another desire wrapped around my heart. Land stretched off the busy road and into the foothills of the Coast Mountains. Wouldn’t it be snug to live in a house tucked into those trees? Like the Biblical Sarah, I’d laugh to myself.
In September 2021, our apartment listing was up for five days before there was an accepted offer. Weeks of finalizing paperwork and limbo stretched ahead. What if the deal fell through? Again?
And what about us? Townhouses were being sold sight-unseen for tens of thousands of dollars over asking price. The few houses in our price range were downtown, tattered, and still going for hundreds of thousands over asking.
The acreage we dreamed of for our future? Oh, laughable.
At this point, we were looking at houses ‘just for fun’ with no real hopes.
One afternoon, we loaded into our realtor’s truck to see four places. The last one was 1.2 acres in a neighborhood off the road we took to our hikes—a tiny house, greenhouses, gardens, bees, chickens, views of the mountains, the sound of the river rushing by somewhere down the street.
It was beautiful. It was in our price range. But we knew the deal. Prices meant nothing. A house we saw that afternoon was in our price range but was holding offers. Once it started accepting offers, nine flooded in. It was sold for $101,000 over asking with no subjects (no inspection and regardless of condition).
This beautiful, perfect place? It’d be snatched in no time. Our apartment sale wasn’t even finalized yet! Just forget it.
We couldn’t. Once subjects were removed on the sale of our apartment, we made an offer. And worse—under asking price. We grit our teeth and waited. Nothing.
The offer was valid until 11 pm, and we stayed up past our bedtime waiting. Even if it was a rejection, at least we’d know, right? 11:05 and nothing.
The next morning, our realtor called. “Well,” I laughed, “I guess no answer means ‘no’, right?”
“What? They counter-offered,” he said. “The papers just came in after my bedtime.”
The following weeks were roller coasters. We countered their counter, they accepted, financing was approved, then denied, then accepted, then denied… which way would the die fall?
The owner gave us a tour of the property. We left, and the realtor called to say that after the tour, the seller was rethinking leaving.
But the miracle happened before—and it happened in me.
I knew God was leading this process. But the three weeks between our first offer and subject removal were a test of faith. Could I still have peace regardless of the outcome?
The tranquility that pervaded my soul was the real miracle. I’m an anxious person, agitated by nature. But I just knew. I told Vini that I had the same deep-in-my-gut-knowing feeling I had had about him when I was thirteen. That no matter what happened in the in-between, in the end, what was meant to be would.
There was a lot of “in-between” this time, and it isn’t over yet. Financing has been approved. Subjects have been removed. We signed the papers at the lawyer’s yesterday, and the deal closes on Monday. But we’re not actually in the house yet.
We’ve experienced our share of anxiety and tension during this time. But peace has reigned. And that has been the biggest marvel of all—the acceptance that if it isn’t this place, it’ll be something better.