Friday, February 21, 2014

My new house

Okay. I finally decided to write the post about my new house. Be aware, it is picture heavy. In theory this will be a nice comparison of my old house to my new house.

Edited from here to * I should first mention how I came about living in this house. My old house took me walking down the street on a super hot day looking at every house that looked empty and asking every random person in the street if they knew of any openings. Eventually, after a 3 mile walk, I found my house. The decision to move into this house was much easier. The house is rented by the organization that requested me, Project Esperanza. The house will sometimes have volunteers staying in it and I thought it would be nice to live with people who are working for the same organization and I thought it would be a nice way to get to know some new people from around the world America. There are other options similar to this in Muñoz, but for now I like living with other people when they are here. The Doñ of the house is also really helpful, so that is exactly like my old house. Dudes here really do like being helpful with house stuff. 

I’ll start with the structure. My old house was originally a motorcycle repair shop and my new house was originally a house. My old house had giant metal doors and windows and my new house has wooden doors and a lot of bars. My old house was a big cube that was frequently dark. My new house has multiple rooms and wonderful windows surrounded by gallerias with a roof I can get to easily and sit on comfortably. I loved my old house. I love my new house. 

As you can tell from the photos below I have a lot of space in the front. I was also gifted with an awesome room mate seen in the picture to the side. She is reading there, but if you look closely you will see her computer there. She and I both have Internet bandwidth sticks and the garage is where we hideout for a good signal when the sun is just too hot to go onto the roof. 

Next we have the roof access point. It looks like a lot of metal, and that is probably because there is a lot of metal. We have to go through two gates to get to the roof, but I am not complaining. We have a roof. A safe roof. A roof that has an actual staircase up to it. I love the roof. I cherish the roof. I don't like it when cat's poop on my roof.
The roof. It's hot in the middle of the day, which is why I've started hanging my clothes here instead of on the back patio. If you look toward the back that is the water tank. It's called a tinaqua and I don't know how to spell tinaka... It holds 300 gallons I believe. It runs out sometimes which sucks. They work because the pressure in the line forces the water up and into the tank. That way we don't need electricity to have water. It's pretty great having this roof and all the perks that come with it.
When you enter the house from the front you enter into the living space. Michelle and I typically have the two tables facing the window as if they were our two work desks, but this week we have volunteers staying with us so we set the tables up so they could eat and we would all have more room to play spades. You know how I work!

When you walk into the front door and into the living space there will be a hallway on the right. That hallway contains the two bedrooms on either end and the bathroom in the middle. This is the view in my room. Notice the mass of mosquito nets. Safety first! Also notice my gym shoes on the bed. That was a bit of post P90X mess. I tend to pile things on the end of my bed sometimes. Only sometimes.
My closet in my new house is so much better. Some of you may remember that I had a armoire full of termites holding all of my things in my last house. This house has an actual closet with actual door and an actual bar to hang things. I bought so many hangers, because I wanted to get my crap up. I also hung two shoe racks on the inside of the closet to have more space. I left 1/2 of the closet empty just in case volunteers wanted to use it. Judging by experience though, they tend to live out of their suitcases and I may wind up shifting some of my things over.

You can also see my helmets above. I do use mine if you were curious and I have an extra that my room mate and other visitors can use if they want to. I actually use my helmet mostly when I visit a friend in the capital though, so for the most part it is sitting right next to my suitcase.

This is where I should have a picture of the bathroom, but apparently it didn't upload. I'll forget to do it later, so it will likely remain a mystery. It's really nice though. Tile everywhere. I gave Michelle the 2 liter bottle I was using to store my cutlery in my old house and it now houses her teeth cleaning supplies. I should make one for myself, because my stuff is sitting in a cup all exposed to the elements. Picture this though, an actual sink in the bathroom. My old house didn't have a sink anywhere, so to have a sink in the bathroom it luxurious. We also have a hot water heater which I will show you later. As of this writing though, it isn't really working and that is something that I can't be bothered to mind. I still bucket shower and I like that just fine. I think for the sake of the volunteers though we are going to look into getting it fixed.

The last room in the hall is Michelle's room and the other room for volunteers. This is usually all I see of it. I don't spend any time here. I could hang out with Michelle in there maybe, but really, we'd rather be on the roof or in the garage, or at the beach.

The kitchen. I love the kitchen. I took this awkward photo so it would house all the elements I wanted to talk about. First, cabinets. Actual cabinets. What is this world I am living in? Cabinets are so exciting. I don't think I ever would have this much excitement over cabinets, but yeah, I love them. If you look on the very top shelf where that pink thing is, that is one place where I store my food. The pink container is an airtight container where I store my dry goods. I keep soy milk powder, oat flour, and oatmeal in there at all times. The popcorn, lentils, and saltines are housed in my cabinet along with all of my spices and other pantry type food items.

A little lower we can see my stove. It is the one to the right and it is the same one I had at my last house. I bought it for that house and it has served Michelle and I well here. I heat up water for my bath here and don't worry one bit about wasting gas. I also cook here. This is where I made a recipe for banana pancakes and learned how to make fried chicken. The other stove is the one my Project Partner bought for the house. It's bigger, but mine serves me just fine.

To the far left you can see an actual sink. What a luxury. Also a window. The fridge in the picture is mine. The volunteers and the cook use it too, but it's mine and it has also served me well since living on my own in this country. It has a little freezer in it and the almost constant electricity at my site means I can use it to make ice. Drawers... did you see that I have drawers. This is the life. Really.

Moving on through the house this is the view out to the back patio. It is really nice and also iron barred in. You were able to see some of this when I showed you how I am doing laundry in my new home. I like the back porch, and I think we would spend more time out here if it weren't for the mosquitos. I think there is just more room for standing water in this area, so they are worse out here. This is also where I tend to exercise. The neighbor kids watch me do that from their windows, but whatever. Everybody needs something to entertain them right?

This is my typical exercise area. I use the yoga mat a lot, and the box is where I will set my computer if I am following some type or exercise video.

The beds are also where we have room for more volunteers if were were to have a full house.

Some of us know that I don't particularly love cats, but I acquired these when Courtney was here. It is nice to have something living around the house, so we feed them. The one on the right is named "Primary Cat", because it was the first cat we procured. The second is named "Secondary Cat", because he showed up after we started feeding primary cat every now and then. I believe they may belong to the neighbors, but we like them around enough to let them be on the porch and give them a little something every now and then.

Secondary cat likes to run into the house and be mischievous. That is just his style, while primary cat pretty much just lounges around. We kind of live the same life.

There is a water spicket out back. I used to come out here to do laundry, but I found a better spout in the front that allowed me to attach the hose. Now I sit on the porch, sip tea, watch shows and plunge away at my laundry.

The rumored water heater. There is a switch in the bathroom that turns it on. The landlord Papito has been fixing it almost every other day this past week, because it will work for one hot shower and then stop heating. Judging by the rust and the need to fix it after one shower, I'd say it is probably time for another one, but I'm fine heating my water on the stove.

 My thing is hot showers. I told myself I wouldn't live in a place that didn't allow for some kind of hot shower in some way, be it heating water in the sun, on a stove, or with an actual water heater. Since I have access to boil hot water here I am happy.

The space in the back where we sometimes dry things. The sun doesn't hit this place as much as it hits the roof though, so I left this mess behind and went upstairs.

The other side. That is an area where I sometimes get to watch old dudes shower. I should probably remember this as the highlight of my Peace Corps service.

So there you have it my new house. As you can see it is way better than my old house. In ways it is also better that the studio apartment I had before  I left for Peace Corps. I have more than one room, which is a plus. I have a room mate, which is a big plus. I have roof access, which is a plus. I have a neighbor that sings "Happy Birthday" to a baby every day, and how can that not be a plus! 

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