Saturday, September 28, 2013

Where we live

We made it to our new locale. Now, let me show you around.

First stop: our apartment.

Walk the length of the pathway to our building. It is building 6.

Look up to the right and see our apartment from below. It is the one with the shutters open on the last floor. It is apartment 9.

We have wooden shutters and curtains on these windows. They are, however, rarely open as they lack screens. Without screens and with open windows we would be living with the flies and the bees. I would rather just live with the humans I came from the US with!

Yes, that is someone's blanket hanging from the balcony.
On any day you have an array of household object dangling from there.
Some days you might see a mattress or two, as well.
You have made it to the front door. Come on through the double glass doors.

You are now in the foyer which doubles up as a stroller/bike/car seat/toy garage. Some days I even leave the kids down there for a quick run up to the apartment. It can get very tiring very fast getting up to the apartment with an 18 pounder on your hip and a toddler trailing behind.
Walk up eight flights of stairs to the fourth floor. On the way there, notice how the staircase landings also serve as garages.  

Other landings serve as storage areas for discarded pieces of furniture waiting to be picked up. It might take weeks for these items to disappear but no one makes an issue out of it.

Finally, here we are. Come on in. We have a door bell if you care to press it or you can knock. If unlocked from the inside the door easily opens from both sides. As a matter of fact some neighbors leave it unlocked on purpose and just summon us in when we come knocking rather than opening it for us.
Here is our living space. We have an open floor plan combining the cooking, eating, living, working, and playing aspects of our daily lives. We are also using it as our temporary storage area while we look for a car (notice the car seats perched high between the two couches).
The only sun we get in the apartment is that from the sunrise.
It beams through the window on the right and straight onto the table.
It is beautiful watching the sky change colors in the morning.
In the corner we have a fireplace. While it may be a "charming" feature of a house in the mountains, with two kids it is practically useless for us.
We are using an extra dresser as a "closet"
and the fireplace threshold for our shoes.

Look up. You will see wooden panels covering the ceiling. This is the local form of insulation. The ceilings are so high we are praying the heat will stay around for us when we need it most.

Look to the side walls and you will see radiators. These are our source of heat in the winter. And while the evenings get really cold here already, they are not turned on yet.

Here is the kitchen part of the space. I have a double sink and a gas stove. We also have a full size fridge that is bigger than the one back home. Granted we had to ask for it as the first fridge we received was both tiny and broken but it got delivered up eight flights of stairs!
Open the furthest right-hand side closet and you will see the butane gas that powers the stove. My greatest concern these days is running out of gas in the middle of cooking a meal in the midst of winter.
Leading to the one bedroom and half bathroom is a small hallway used for shelves and dressers.

Here is where we sleep. We are on the waitlist for a two-bedroom apartment but it could take years for one to become available. Luckily we are used to sleeping all together in the same room so we are making it work for now.
While we have a king-size bed, we have double-size sheets!
We are waiting for the right-size sheets to be delivered.
The bedroom opens out to a balcony. It is too narrow for chairs and even if it was not, we think it is risky to let JR out there so we mainly use it to air our towels out and to air dry what I hand wash.
This is our bathroom. We use a baby tub to collect laundry when our hamper is full in-between loads and a chair as a "stepping stool" for JR to reach the sink.
Our neighbor lent us their baby tub and luckily both kids fit in it at once.
It is fun watching them splash together in there.
Speaking of laundry, it is located down the stairs, across the street, around the corner and in the basement of another building. You use tokens to work the machines and bring your own powder detergent. When you are out of tokens like we have been for the past week, you are out of luck, unless you have your own washing machine as many do, and a housekeeper to line-dry your clothes, as also many do.

This is the "old" laundry room. Only one of the washers and dryers work.
The utility has since moved to another location
but seeing how far it is to get to I am yet to take a photo of it.
 Now that you have visited us, I will take you around town. Stay tuned!

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