• Helen Jean Wils

The Universe Always Falls in Love with a Stubborn Heart


"Magic happens with you do not give up, even though you want to. The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart."


Three years ago Danny and I closed on our home in Avalon of the Carolinas. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the courage it took to get to that point and all the fortitude and insight we've gained since that very day.


One night, I just came out and said to Danny, "Let's move to North Carolina." He was game.


We decided to leave Long Island for several reasons...


First, we had a small, old home that was in need of many updates we couldn't afford to make. Our taxes were nearly $10,000/year and our mortgage payment was ridiculous, partly due to PMI. We rented the converted, separate garage, which helped pay the bills, but when a second cesspool we had no idea about overflowed into it, we were up Sh*t's Creek...literally.


Second, I was pregnant with Corina at this time and the stress of it all made my already sleepless nights even more so. I was finding it hard to navigate working as a teacher and meeting everyone's needs. I wondered how I could remain a dedicated educator and take the best possible care of TWO children.


Third was the environment and atmosphere of Long Island. Do not get me wrong, Long Island is filled with natural beauty, many wonderful people, and lots to do; however, it is also highly congested, fast-paced, and materialistic. In short, it didn't suit me.


Once the wheels were in motion, we called our real estate agent and began the process of decluttering and staging our home for market. We researched schools and neighborhoods and a job for Danny. We accepted an offer (that left us with plenty of money to make a proper down payment on a house), ordered a POD, had a baby, and hit the road July 4th weekend, 2018.


We were lucky to stay with my aunt and uncle in St. James while the home we'd chosen in Avalon was being completed. Unfortunately, my plan to be a stay-at-home mom was thwarted when Danny's job didn't turn out as planned. With haste, I accepted a teaching job in Wilmington to secure a mortgage. Just a couple days after we closed, we evacuated for Hurricane Florence. We did not sustain any damage, but the worry was great and our desire to get back home put us in harm's way. We now know the danger of flooding, too.


Midway through the year, I transferred to Shallotte Middle School to be closer to home. By this point, Danny had the job of the century - working as a plasterer for TV and film in Wilmington. Sometimes it felt like we never saw one another and our time with the kids was too brief, but we were building a bright and beautiful future and kept our eyes on the prize. We were blessed that Daphne was doing well in Kindergarten and that Corina had the best nanny in the whole wide world. By the time summer rolled around, Danny was employed on a TV show in Savannah, GA - yet another curveball! We joined him down there for a few weeks and by the time he came back home, we'd decided that I really could be a stay-at-home mom.


That lasted exactly two weeks before I signed up for real estate classes. In the meanwhile, we were approaching one year in our home and I was working with D.R. Horton on our warranty requests. The bubbles on the floor in the photo above? Yeah, I didn't notice them when we did our final walkthrough ahead of closing. Long story short, we had our floors replaced and some drywall repaired. I know what to look for now. You live, you learn.


On the morning of very first day of real estate school, I suffered a miscarriage. It also happened to be our wedding anniversary. If anything could have stopped me in my tracks before I got started, it was this. But I put on a brave face, despite my sadness and pain, and showed up. A couple of people in that room would go on to become friends I am grateful to have.


Right after course "graduation", I took and passed my exams and affiliated with RE/MAX Southern Coast. I quickly listed and sold my aunt's condo in St. James, the one I stayed in years ago when I first got the idea of moving South, and I was on my way.


Two hurricanes and one baby later, we're three-year-residents of Avalon. The neighbors and friends we've met are like family - a support system I've only ever read about in books or watched on the big screen. None of this was easy, but it was worth it. I know each of us has a story about how we got here and I'd love to hear every single one...

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