Friday, January 13, 2012

Our new home

A comfortable home is going to be key for our family in Ethiopia. I have a feeling we will be spending most of our time together in our home and if we venture out it will be to the rare playground or school function. Possibly playdates and dinner parties at other family’s homes. Our home is our sanctuary here.
We arrived at an off time in January. Not many homes were available because not many families were coming and going. It could have gone one of two ways. We receive the last crummy house that is a last resort to assign a family of five; or they locate something more appropriate for us and we end up with a palace. Luckily the later was the case.
It’s a three story, 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom, palatial home. The bottom floor is an open floor plan with double front doors into a huge entry way, formal living room, dinning room with built in china cabinets and a large functional kitchen. There is a den and powder room on the first floor as well. The second floor is a perfect set-up for the kids. Addie and Bella share one of the three bedrooms, the largest bedroom on this floor is the playroom and the third bedroom willbe a spare until Ashlynn is ready to move to her own space. On the second floor is a cozy family room where the TV is. The third floor is entirely the master suite with a large bathroom and immense walk in closet. Off the master suite is a sitting area that we’ve turned into the nursery. It’s a nice compromise. Ashlynn is in her own space but I don’t have to walk up and down two flights of stairs all night to nurse her.
There are balconies on the second and third floor. Large enough to put lounge chairs and have meals. We’ve been issued patio furniture with an umbrella for the second floor balcony because it’s huge enough to entertain outside. The windows in the home are worth mentioning. They are floor to ceiling and open for a nice breeze during the day. My favorite part of the home is the lovely garden we have out front on either side of the home within the walled compound. There is grass and flowering bushes and roses that climb the walls! I’ve been eyeing this gorgeous yellow roses as it’s bloomed each day. IT givesme a bit of The Secret Garden vibe. I’m in love! I’m also in love with the decorative moldings in the home. There i
s recessed track lighting in living room and master bedroom circling the rooms’ perimeters. Chandeliers hang in the formal living room, dinning room and the master bedroom. If I was a jerk like most the picky Americans on HGTV’s House Hunters, I’d say the chandelier in the master bedroom is “not really my style”. But I’m not because seriously, there is a chandelier in my master bedroom. I had a blanket hanging over the window in our bedroom in Virginia ghetto style to keep the light out when Ashlynn napped. I’m moving up people!
The view outside the windows is also worth mentioning. We look out onto the road and grassy fields. There is a fair amount of car traffic during the day. Possibly more foot traffic including shepherds herding their flocks of sheep, goats, and ox to and from pastures. I really love watching the Ethiopian school children walk home from school in flocks too. The younger kids get out early, while the teenagers come down the road in packs later in the day. At night we hear hyenas in the fields which makes all the dogs bark. The moon shines big and bright every night but not before a spectacular pink and orange sunset every evening.
There are some things about this house/compound that could fall into the not-so-awesome or interesting category depending on how optimistic I am at that moment. We have an “out-building”, I guess you could call it, where the laundry room is as well as a huge pantry to house our consumables. Right now the pantry has an ant/bug problem which is bad news for food storage. We are going to get that fixed before the shipment arrives. There is an empty room where our housekeeper could live and another storage closet where I see our Christmas decorations going. The day and night guards have a room and restroom. In the back of the house there is a creepy alley looking corridor where our water tanks are as well as a clothesline.
The entire compound is walled complete with barbed wire. The gate is always locked and guarded. Every window/sliding door has an outer layer of iron grates. The bathrooms have those gross stinky third world drains with leaking sewer gas. Screw water drainage, we tape those stinky holes up! There is one decent shower in the entire house and it’s not in the master bathroom. The master bathroom has a crummy Chinese shower that spurts hot water for a few seconds then switches back to freezing cold for a few seconds over and over until I’m fed up and hardly clean.
We have a water distiller in the kitchen that dispenses our clean drinking and cooking water. The water we bathe with or wash dishes with is not suitable for consumption. Giving a girls their bath in brown tinged water is a big wake up call. Justin and I are Nazis about not letting the girls put their hands or toys in their mouths while in the bath.
Ugh! Florescent lights...need I say more.
Besides the annoyance of having water deliveries for the tanks outside and the screech and grind of the pumps shooting the water up pipes to the second and third floors things are going well in the house. With a few more voltage converters we should be in business.
Across the street is a squatters village/shanty town. It’s not entirely awesome that we smell the smoke from their fires on the cooler mornings and evenings. It seems like a petty complaint when I’m sitting on the second floor balcony of our African palace. Now I really am a jerk American.I have a few before pictures of the house I took week one. It’s fun to see how the home evolves as the air freight and HHE shipments arrive.


Bfiles said...

really beautiful home. I look forward to seeing it with all your things! How is the internet there? I had heard it was terrible (in fact that was why my husband refused to bid it high in A100), but you are posting....

Daniela Swider said...

I am am impressed. Sure there are things that are not perfect but overall the house seems pretty spacious and nice. Hope you resolve the bug problem quick and get your stuff soon.

Elyse said...

What a house Sara!! Sure, there are some bad things about it, but the space the girls will have to run around and play is the best part!
Gosh we miss you guys! I am hoping the next two years fly by and Ashlynn will be calling for Joe Joe as we take the kids to Daily Scoop!

Terry said...

You will make it your home in no time.

Selena said...

I love the ambiance of your home Sara. It's simple yet classy. Your kitchen is great too. The wooden furniture is warm and very welcoming.

Selena Manchester

Drew Andrews said...

Such a cozy looking home! Big space for the kids to play around. I could tell that you're a great cook; your kitchen is really nice! I am certain that your stuff are now organized and the whole house is looking fabulous. I wonder what it's like to live in a house like that in Ethiopia. Cheers!

Drew Andrews