York Times on how you can be happy with what you have...
"WHEN Suchitra Van and Nette Gaastra sent out invitations for their
October, 2005, wedding, they wrote on them "No gifts." What they meant
was: no toasters, no blenders, no coffeepots.
What they wanted instead was money to transform the 435-square-foot
apartment in Greenwich Village they had just bought for $296,000. They
planned to turn it into a one-bedroom from a studio.
They received $26,000 in gifts, including $22,000 from Ms. Gaastra's
father, Piet Gaastra, an architect in Hoorn, the Netherlands. "He saw
our struggle," said Ms. Gaastra, who is 30, and works for the Abelson
Company, a Manhattan graphic design company.
Mr. Van's mother, Champa Van, a cook and baby sitter who lives in
Queens, and his father, Sumatimohan, an artist who goes by one name
and lives in Manhattan, are divorced. "So my father gave us $300, and
my mother gave us another $300," said Mr. Van, who is 42, and has his
own design firm, Van Studio, on the Lower East Side.
Between the gifts and their own savings of $15,000, they were able to
renovate the apartment and finish it early last year, just in time for
the arrival of their son, Sebbe, who is now 1. Although the apartment
has only one window, which is in the living room, it is a surprisingly
airy, serene place."
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