Because Asheville

There’s an expression some of my friends around here have been using recently – “Because Asheville.”

I like it because, in only two words, it explains what is completely unexplainable about life in our town.

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 Like the unexpected magical randomness of walking down an alley and finding a scattering of yellow flower petals next to a door that says “Imagine Inventing Yellow.”

Or, discovering a mini galaxy hovering over a collection of antique bottles in the window of an old building

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in a dark alley.

There are many happenings and serendipitous occurrences I could give you to illuminate the meaning of “because Asheville.”

Here’s one closer to the heart –

It’s likely I would not have met Tom had I not purchased the house I am currently living in, the house I affectionately call “casa mia” –

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– just because it’s mine – even though I am living in Appalachia and there is nothing even remotely Italian about the house (or me, for that matter.) I just like the way it sounds.

I would not have met Tom because I would not have met Jo, a German rugby-playing architect turned landscape gardener for the Methodist missionaries who works across the street from casa mia.

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And I would not have bought casa mia

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had it not been for yoga.

Ten years ago, the kids and I picked our first home in Asheville for its views –

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a little ranch house, perched on an acre of hillside

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overlooking a lake, a bird sanctuary, and the mountains.

Much as I loved it, after the kids had graduated and loved on, I decided I wanted to move closer into town. I soon found – and lost my heart to – an old Dutch barn style house in a funky little neighborhood, just blocks from downtown.

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The realtors told me I couldn’t buy it because a contingent contract was not permitted. But I was in love and already living there, at least in my head.

I began stalking the house.

I detoured all of my trips into town so I could drive past it and gaze at it longingly. It was so charming, I worried, surely it would sell before I could unload my current house in an uncertain real estate market.

Several days after I first saw the house, I walked into my local yoga studio. Ninety minutes later, lying on my mat in a post-Ashtanga state of savasana, a thought came into my somewhat blissed out head.

The heck with the realtors, I thought happily –

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why not just knock on the door and ask the owners if I could buy their house? At the time, it seemed like an entirely rational idea.

Within moments, I was on their front door-step, disheveled, sweaty and still wearing yoga clothes. I told them I was passionately in love with their house and felt inexplicably drawn to live there. And then I offered them their asking price.

The owners – a heavily tattooed Frenchman and his American wife – said okay.

As simply as that.

But, of course, it wasn’t that simple.

I arranged to pay them monthly not to sell it to anyone else while my realtor and I energetically worked to sell my house up by the lake. Seventy-two showings and seven months later – two years ago this week –  there we were, sitting at the settlement table.

And then, an hour later, the little Dutch barn house was mine.

The next spring, while working in the front yard, I met Jo – the German rugby-playing architect and landscape gardener.

Who introduced me to Tom.

Because Asheville.

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Author: kristin fellows

Kristin Fellows is a street photographer & travel writer, based in Asheville, North Carolina. Kristin’s adventures in the past several years have taken her to Iceland to hike volcanoes and photograph puffins; to Barcelona, Mexico, Addis Ababa, and New Orleans for street photography; and most recently, to Athens for a big fat Greek wedding, and to Helsinki to get beaten with frozen birch branches in its oldest public sauna. She is also a documentary film consultant and has worked on more than 200 hours of public television films & productions. Her photograph, “Skywalker,” was chosen as a National Geographic Photo of the Day in 2015. Kristin is working on her first book, The Red Moon Letters – a non-fiction, dual-narrative thriller set in Ethiopia during the time of the Haile Selassie. Educated in both London and the US, Kristin also has a cherished diploma from the Icelandic Elf School (Álfaskólinn.) Kristin is the niece of the late New York Times foreign correspondent, Lawrence Fellows. Follow Kristin on Instagram @ kristinfellowsphotography

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