I was still in high school when I came to Moab for the first time. Spring break of my Junior year. Until I arrived, I knew nothing of the sleepy town; only a little bit about the climbing that drew me to the area. I drank the water, got red dirt under my fingernails, and my skin was covered in sand. After that first visit, the smell of sagebrush and blooming Russian olive still lingers in my nostrils. I drove west again that summer and became like so many others: completely captured by the landscape.
I moved to Moab at the end of 2013 and haven’t looked back.
Unlike so many people in this town, my story has been a pretty fortunate one. Aside from my first year in town, when the house I was subletting a room in burned down, I have always had stable housing with good landlords. I rented a room in a house full of color and life – always full of people but never crowded. In six years, I only moved once. And over the course of those years, I became more and more certain that Moab is my forever home. I heard about Community Rebuilds my first year in town. Moab is full of amazing people, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits. The internship program / sustainable building program created by Community Rebuilds contributes significantly to that list. I wasn’t in town long before I met a slew of wonderful folks who originally came to Moab as part of the Community Rebuilds team.
About the time I began considering buying a house in Moab, a good friend and previous housemate was starting to build her house with Community Rebuilds. Unsure if it would amount to anything, I put in my application. Over the next couple of years I watched as the cost of houses and properties continued to rise. I spent months working 80 hour work weeks between two jobs, with no days off. I was reaching for something that seemed increasingly impossible. The more time I spent trying to save up enough for a down payment, the more expensive property became.
When I got the phone call from Rikki, now the Executive Director, I was working out of town on weekends and in Moab on weekdays. I had been doing this for nearly two months and was reaching my breaking point.
I cried. It didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t.
The same time the build started, I found full-time work in Moab that suits me and allows me to spend more time immersed in my community. I have a place here now. Moab being home is more than just a feeling, but a reality.
Community Rebuilds did so much more for me than provide a means for me to stay in the place I love. They have created a platform for education that helped guide me through the whole process of homeownership and building, but that also helped me feel more capable in life and learning. To be part of building my house has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As an adult, I have not put myself in that position of learning: to be so laughably novice at something, and then to feel so supported in growth is a rare experience. I couldn’t say enough good things about the support network created by the staff and CR team. I feel continuously inspired by my time with them and the skills I gained in the process.
Moab is my heart-place. I love the way the sunrise and sunset shine new light on this place. Every hour gives a new perspective to the vastness, and each year I spend here gives me a greater appreciation for this place and the community of people who call it home. I am so grateful to be a part of the Community Rebuilds program, as a homeowner and as a forever learner.