I’ve been told by many seasoned officers that this is the worst housing pool in the FS, which leads me to believe that we’ve REALLY lucked out. This is not to say that our place is without issues, lest you all think we are living like dictators and oil tycoons. But as I’ve said before, I am electing to not focus on mystery sewer gases emitted with every flush or brown water sputtering from the taps or the nightclub neighbor’s bumps, beats, grinds, howls and brawls until 5am…No, siree! I choose, instead, to focus on the positive.
Both Snakes and I are people who seek beauty in castoffs, so much faith in and hope for the underdog: from the Detroit house rehab (purchased for pocket change off the demo list) to our commitment to taking in strays. One of the first times we hung out, we’d spent the afternoon shredding cabbage on his grandfather’s ancient kraut board in preparation for our first batch of sauerkraut. Afterward, as we sat on his back deck sharing a beer, I looked out over the overgrown and littered landscape of his alley way and collapsing garage and said, in all sincerity, “This is so romantic.” That may be the moment I was bitten by the love bug. But enough about that.
Our current place, which is about 3 blocks from the embassy has spacious rooms and a generous dose of glorious natural light. We have a small front yard (where my seedlings are thriving!!) and driveway with a tiled in courtyard. Although I’ve been using the back area to air out rugs and make minty sun tea, this space is primarily designated for our guards. There is a mini “kitchen” (basically just a sink with running water) and a little half bath. As I’ve said before, most people here don’t have water or electricity in their homes.
One enters the house through a screened in area, where we hope to put a little patio table and chairs, into the kitchen. A generous amount of cabinet and countertop space makes cooking and baking together a pleasure. The tiled walls are peppered with odd little cornucopia motifs. I will attempt to camouflage these with framed 4×6 photos of various markets we’ve visited. And of course, I will make some new curtains once my machine arrives to swap out with the unremarkable little dingy-s currently doing no favors.
I was hesitant to post pictures before our things arrive. It all seems so sterile and drab. I am so glad that I followed the advice of fellow FSOs and packed some pictures and favorite little doodads. Perhaps a little ambitious, considering I’ll have an infant to care for, but I’d love to post some “after” shots once I return from the preg-evac and get things in order. In any event, off the left side of the dining room is our living room.
The french doors open to the aforementioned screened in entry way and I’ve since opened the white shutters, to let in more light. Again, I plan to make some type of sheer for these and would love to replace the big light-sucking brown drapes with something more interesting, but my ambition has been known to overstep its boundaries. It’s just that everything is so brown, bulky and boxy!! Living in such an otherwise challenging environment, I find myself craving color and texture.
Just a quick side-note: Being pregnant, my sense of smell rivals that of the Mississippi mud hound, Banjo. It wasn’t before months of deliberation that I finally purchased this fancy candle. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around paying so much for a candle as a Diptyque fetches. I mean, talk about money to burn, right? Wrong. This is one of the best purchases I’ve made in the past year. Not only does the fresh and soothing scent fill the entire room with a very gentle perfume while lit, but it lingers for close to a day after. This is coming from a girl who is VERY sensitive and even averse to perfumes. It’s absolutely divine. The french really know what’s up when it comes to this kind of stuff. I look forward to trying each and every flavor. Okay- maybe I’ll get a little somethin for that gratuitous product placement….anyway…
Upstairs are 3 bedrooms and two full baths. We’ve never each had our “own” bathroom! Such a luxury! The master bedroom has a little screened in porch off the front that with some elbow grease revealed a beautiful green marble tiled floor. I have BIG plans for this area. I imagine madrugada* nursings and afternoon naps out here in big cushy chairs. I’ve ordered an all-weather rug from Martha and may need to use my layette shipment for a comfy chair or two. The second set of doors leads through a VERY bright little room that will become my sewing room (!!!) and into “my” bathroom.
Banjo and I have been working hard on the nursery…
*madrugada: an Angolan word for the wee hours of the night, generally like 12a-6a. aka: neighborhood night club hours.