Last Thursday the Tiny House of Marloes came to Alkmaar! After two years of investing blood, sweat and tears, with most of the time going one step forward and two steps back, deliberating and navigating between all parties involved, we finally got there. We were absolutely thrilled! Sadly enough, that same day came with bitter news: the lawyer of the municipality called to inform me that the Waterboard Noorderkwartier had filed a request for immediate suspension of the environmental permit…
Last Wednesday we received the signed loan agreement for the land and the environmental permit. We had counted on this so the arrival of Marloes’ house had already been planned. But it wasn’t absolutely certain until I had the permit in my hands, so after that I could inform everyone. The municipality told me they would inform the Waterboard, like they would normally do when granting the permit. Still I called them right after I got the permit to tell them a new house would arrive the next day. It seemed like a decent thing to do. I expected them to object to the new permit, but not that they would request a temporary provision, and certainly not this fast. Not after the nice talk I had with the Environment and Space Advisor from the Waterboard. Afterwards they have let me know they didn’t see any other option and felt very bad for me. I appreciate that, but that doesn’t really help.
If the judge decides in favor of the Waterboard, the permit will be canceled and we will have to leave instantly – although I hope we will be granted some time to organize a move. If the judge rules in favor of the municipality, the objections procedure will take place as planned. That means we can stay a while longer, waiting for the ruling of the objections committee. I hope I’m saying this correctly, this is how I understand it. It also means that Marja’s house can’t come to the plot as was planned for the second week of April. So now she needs to figure out how to store her Tiny House for the time being when it’s ready in April, while she is temporarily living in a vacation house – having already sold her old house.
How did I feel when I got the news? Defeat. Surprise. Disbelief. Sadness. Anger. Followed by: of course, it has always been this way, why should this time be any different? Sometimes I feel like a puppy on a short leash. Again and again I start running filled with happiness and enthusiasm only to be reined in violently by my owner. I cried. Not even for me, but for Marloes. It has been such a massive undertaking for her, and she’s nowhere near finished. If the judge rules in favor of the Waterboard, it means we both have to leave the terrain. Although it would be a hassle for me too and I really don’t want to leave – and want so badly to have a beautiful Tiny House pilot project here – I’ll be fine in the end. But for Marloes it would be devastating. She invested all her money in the design and build of her house and it’s all gone now. The house is mobile, but moving it costs a lot of money. And she probably will have a harder time than me finding a new place, because it’s not on wheels but has to be transported with a flatbed trailer. That’s a perfectly fine choice when you have to move every few years, but not every few weeks. Marloes has already terminated her rent starting from May 1st and she also can’t afford double expenses. It’s all very stressful for her and Marja. I didn’t want to tell Marloes on Thursday. Not on the same day her house would arrive here, that was meant to be a happy day. But unfortunately the court proceeding had already made the news:
So I had no other choice but to tell her. I didn’t want her to find out in another way that she might have to leave again so soon. They’re such great people, my (future) neighbors Marja, Marloes and Lan. They follow their hearts in spite of all uncertainties, standing up for their desire to live differently. You need to give up some things, you know, if you want to live in a Tiny House. The path of a Tiny House pioneer is not an easy one to walk and it takes a lot of effort. I respect them so much. Thankfully, in other places it doesn’t create so many problems as in Alkmaar.
Where do I stand right now? Well, what else can you do, we just have to wait and see. First we need to wait for a date for the hearing. I think I’ll just let it go and hand it over to God, the Universe, the powers that be or whatever you want to call it. I believe that everything happens for a reason. That doesn’t make it easier and it can really can piss you off at times, but I sincerely believe it. So this also has happened for a reason. I choose to have faith in a happy ending, even though I’m so tired of all of this.
My dear friend Monique van Orden came to see me on Thursday night after work, to lift up my spirits. ‘What fresh hell is this!’, she shouted. We had a good laugh together and all the stress came out. We talked about Andre Kuipers. I went to one of his lectures recently and I thinks he’s a brilliant public speaker with a great story. ‘Well,’ Monique said, ‘Andre Kuipers eat your heart out! Your story will be even better! I’m sure you asked for a life with a very good story before you started this life’. I had to laugh so hard about that. ‘I’ll have one life with a good story please, don’t care how hard it is!’ :P
Oh boy, what a story it is. Good thing I can laugh about it every now and then. For now, I’ll start to focus on the actual good stuff, like the online course that will be available next Friday. I’m very proud of this project, we’ve created a good e-learning experience. Koen is finishing up the videos at the moment and on Friday you can take the course! (Only available in Dutch at this moment). Please don’t be intimidated by our experiences here in Alkmaar, there are a lot of good Tiny House projects in the making, so those locations are on the way. The Tiny House movement is unstoppable!