Thursday, September 19, 2013

My house (finally)

I am finally going to post about my new house. I have teased my (avid, I'm sure) readers with snippints here and there, but this is going to be a full fledged (band-with stealing because of all the pictures) post about my new home in the Dominican Republic. Also, because I don't want to make you wait until the end, I will put the customary "I live on my own now so COME VISIT ME" sentence right here in the beginning. Get ready. You will see some of the beginnings of my creative (read: money saving) ways I have already ghetto-rigged my house for ease of use.

I should probably tell you the story of how I got my house. I was living with my host family and I had already come back fro 3 Month IST. Most everyone at IST had already found their home and were just doing the "Get Security to My Campo ASAP so I can move into my new home" dance, and I was doing the "Oh, I should probably look for a house" dance. I decided to walk my street and find a house. I think I've already told the story about how my doña tried to sneak me into a different house, so I won't get into that too deep. By the time I was over walking and the sun was high I had made it to my friends house. She offered me coffee and good wishes then I took off again. When I didn't find anything and doubled back she was sitting at the future colmado with the father of her children and he said I could move into this old motorcycle repair shop. He knew the guy who owned it and said he would get me a meeting for Friday. He came to buscar me at my house that Friday and I had a meeting and the guy said I was going to pay 1000 pesos a month (US$25) and they wanted to know how much I could pay up front. They wanted the first two years, but I said I couldn't do that. I could do 7 months now and 5 in a week and they said that would be fine. I'm going to say now, paying the rent early was so that they could use the money to build the inside of my house. They had to build a bathroom  and a dividing wall. Before my house was a big open box with super secure doors and windows. I paid, they built, security came, and now I live here.

I'll be starting with the outside of my house. I've used the picture with Antonio in it because I actually took a shot of the entire house and the picture he took with me cuts out part of my house, which I did not want to do. If you look to the left you will see the funeria. I have never seen anyone go in or out of that building and people have definitly died in this town since I've been here, so I kind of believe it belonged to someone who doesn't use it any more. Like my house.

This is the colmado that will open the weekend I move in. They will play loud music for the entire weekend that i can hear from my house and it will make me almost regret moving, but after the first weekend the music will soften and become a nice background sound to my life. It's also nice that I can buy rice without putting my shoes on and refresco when I have company without much effort. 

My backyard looks like a jungle, but I am already starting work on a vegetable garden. If nothing else I will learn to succeed or fail at growing my own food in this country. I've also included a picture of my wonderful landlord who rebuilt the back door to be "mas fuerte". It is still the weakest point in my house because it is made of wood and held together by a lot of rusty nails, but it is in the back and super fuerte so I'm okay with it. 

Okay. Moving inwards I didn't have very many options. I have two big spaces and a bathroom. It's funny, I always pictured putting my bedroom in the front rom and everything else in the back, but all of the Dominicans were right. People are going to stop by and they are going to use the front and I need my private space in the back. 

When you walk in my house you will see pictures and maps on all of the walls. A bike in the corner, a yoga mat in the middle of the room and a kitchen set up to the left. I still haven't bought any chairs and am living with the one my neighbor has let me borrow until I buy some of my own, but it works. I shuffle the one chair around and actually used the yoga mat to play a game of cards with the neighbor girl during a rain storm, so it was nice. I want to get a table and our chairs, but for now, whatever, I have this. 

In my kitchen you will find the stove I bought, the gas take I use, the fridge, the water filter, and the start of my ghetto-rigged home. I wanted to contain my cutlery and keep bugs and dust out, so i used scissors to do a quick chop on a bottle I had and viola, a container. My neighbor thinks it's top notch and wants a "lesson" on how I made it, but that would really just be a lesson in how to cut a line in a bottle. I also use the Peace Corps given water filter. Everyone says I should just by water, because it isn't super expensive, but I think filtering my water will get me one extra trip to someplace cool while I'm in this country, so I am sticking with carrying a bucket of water to the filter every other day instead of paying some dude to bring me a jug. It's actually a lot faster too, and I can filter water in the middle of the night if I run out. Also, my neighbors think I'm awesome when I bring "agua frio" to lunch, because they often haven't had the time or money to buy a botellon of water. 

As you round the corner you will see pictures from my little people back home and the muñecas they gave me so as to not forget them. If you look down you will see the original back door hoisted up by rocks and covered in books. In the picture it is also covered in clutter because I was still organizing my house and that was a lie because I literally just took the picture. The rocks serve a purpose though. Maybe this is another ghetto thing. I have concrete floors and the way I clean is I basically dump water on my floor and then send it out the house. The rocks are so I can get a bunch of water up in that area without covering the wooden door and paper books with water. Also, I wasn't sure about water entering my house yet and I wanted a bit of height. Notice Harry Potter in the background there. Yeah, I've already read 1-4 in country in the past 2 weeks. I should really leave my house more. 

So this is my bed, and you can kind of see my wardrobe. This actually was while I was still unpacking everything because the suitcase is there on the floor. I have a fan. I bought it. It was (kind of) expensive. It broke the third time I used it. I probably did something wrong with the luz or something, but whatever, I don't miss it. Now I have it as a decoration. If my friend (Lobo) ever visits I can claim I have a fan, but it doesn't do anything. My house is typically cold at night though, so it doesn't really matter if it works or not. In the day time fans don't really seem to do much anyway. 

This is recent. I took this picture this morning. It looks like my normal life. I have a book on my bed (The Princess Bride, thank you Courtney (The blonde in the picture on top of my blog)), I have my socks drying on top of my mosquiterra, I have pictures of my sister and show racks holding odds and ends and bathroom what nots. 

In my bathroom, today is a water day. I get water every other day, so the sound of water filling my tank will be heard all day. I have a toilet. I bought that toilet with 4 months rent thank you very much. I don't think I ever thought I'd be buying a toilet, but there wasn't one and then I paid a dude and then there was one, so I bought it. The tank is usually half empty by the time water day hits, but I don't like reaching in that far and actually hurt my arm one reaching in a weird way, so I appreciate water days. I don't drink this water straight though, I carry it ot the filter in my one bucket and drink it later. I think I can say the water is fine in the filter after going about two weeks on it now. 

My best "invention". Notice all that open space in the bathroom adn the water tank. Well sometimes the water can really shoot out of the spout and I didn't want wet TP, so I cut another bottle and made this little TP holder. I have to use a bit off of a new roll for it to fit, but after that I pull the cardboard roll out, pll fromthe middle, and have a handy little holder here. 
I have also ghetto rigged some plastic. Both of my mattress parts came in big sheets of plastic and I didn't want to throw it away. i had to make use of it some how. The first thing I did was make a cover for my water container, because I don't want to have a skeeter breeding ground, and next I avoided buying a curtain by cutting and making my own. The water shot out as far as my bed the first day and sometimes it sputters so i needed a cover, no to mention if I EVER have a guest, they will probably want privacy in the bathroom. Living alone I haven't had that issue, but one day.. maybe... if you visit my house... 

And finally, the best place in my house... I have this ghetto rigged desk I set up outside when I want internet. The umbrella is there for when the droplet of rain want to hit my computer in the morning. That's my one chair and a suitcase I brought from America along with the bottom part of the packaging from my mini-fridge. Working together to have the most ghetto house in the DR. 

There you have it. My home. Now, come visit me! My computer has 5% charge, so I had better turn it off and wait for the luz to come back! I miss you. 


  1. I see mutzilla made the wall. Sweet inventions. What purifier do u use? So hot water for showers?

  2. I heat my water when I take a shower, and it's funny, because I heat one pan and fill the bucket with regular water and add the pan, so I have one full bucket, and sometimes I feel guilty because I heated water and when I finish my shower I still have half a bucket of warm water. How did I get so concise at showering?

  3. That's really cool, I like all your little things you've put together to make it homey and functional!