Friday, December 12, 2008

Hope House

Finally Home. After loading up the truck in East Point on October 25th and packing up our house for weeks before that, we have finally unpacked for the last time on December 10th. As I lay in bed the first night I thought, this must be kinda what heaven is like, finally feeling at home after a long journey – minus the mosquito net and leaky toilet. Those of you who, like me, like nesting know the joy I have every time Rob says, "where is the umbrella, or where are my shoes" and I know exactly where they are. Or, when I'm in my kitchen and know where to look for the salt, bread, or coffee cups. It is nice to finally be home.

Wednesday morning Malu left for the airport and I was over bright and early to help Francine with the cleaning. Francine washed the clothes, cleaned the bathrooms, and washed the floors and I cleared out rooms, rearranged furniture, and scrubbed some of the walls and the entire kitchen until my hands ached. Rob says we have to get used to a new standard of what clean is, and I agree, but I just can't handle a greasy kitchen. An example of our new standard of clean is that its still clean even if its dusty. Our home is filled with screened windows and its absolutely gorgeous weather here. So to enjoy the fresh air and moderate temperate climate, the windows stay open most of the day unless there is a windy rain. However, open windows leads to a light covering of dust/dirt on everything. Wipe the kitchen table off in the morning before breakfast; wipe it off again in the evening before dinner and your rag will be dirty. Drying clean clothes out on the line also immediately makes them dusty. But, I can handle this; otherwise I'd go crazy trying to clean everything.

So here are some things about our house. We now live at the front of the Anglican Church compound right by the gate. We're the only 2 story flat as well, so I think it will be easy for guests to recognize the place. The guards are very nice and play an eclectic range of music in the evenings and early morning. It almost reminds me of an African Lawrence Welk station and African gospel. It's weird and soothing and I don't think we'll ask them to stop. The world wakes up early here; and it's not unusual for birds to start singing in anticipation of the dawn and the guards' to their radio. We have a lovely front patio; the only drawback is it's right by the guards at the front of the compound by the gate, so it's not at all private. This morning as I came down the steps I looked out the front door and saw Lazarus lazily sleeping on the patio. I think we may have inherited a dog! We have a small back patio off the kitchen where I hang clothes to dry and where Rob takes the trash out. Also, Lazarus has a dog bowl out there (in hopes of being fed). We also have an avocado tree out back which I wish was lower so I could pick the fruit. Our electric meter is out there too.

By the front door is a small half bath with the sink outside the door. The living room is filled with your typical missionary furniture and huge front windows. We also have a TV! We're enjoying left over cable that will probably run out the 15th! It's the first time we've had access to most any kind of TV for a month. We were sort of used to not having it and as soon as the cable is gone we'll probably put the TV in storage. But for now it's nice! The living room and dining room is combined and we have a large dining table and buffet where we now have our crèche scene. There is also a large widow over the table. Rob has a desk downstairs in between our living room and dining room which I'm hoping gets moved upstairs. Our kitchen is fun. The main components are a smallish stove and smallish refrigerator, cupboard, and sink. We also have a toaster, microwave and coffeemaker and a large teakettle I use to heat water to wash dishes. The stove is gas and the propane tank is right next to the oven. In order to cook, you must turn the nozzle on the tank, light a match and then light the burner for each eye. Everything in the whole house is unplugged at night except the refrigerator. Electricity is still a luxury item here and the price reflects this.

Upstairs is the balcony (which I hope to make more homey in the coming weeks), our room with a big bed and wardrobe, a guest room with three twin beds(?!) and wardrobe, and a full bathroom. I like the bathroom. It's blue tile, has a small shower area and while I type a repair man is hopefully successfully repairing the leaky toilet. The bathroom has a small water heater tank that I turn on first thing when I wake in the morning (5am-ish) and then turn off after we've had our showers. I have forgotten to turn it on and we have had cold showers. There is also a small nook with a desk and ironing station set up where I hope to put a cabinet for toiletries outside the bathroom. The bathroom is also where the clothes washing takes place. By the way, is America the only place with shower curtains? There's no such thing here which leads to a very swampy bathroom sometimes.

We love our new house and even its quarks. I'm also getting used to a rhythm of life set by the sun and ordered by the chores of the day.

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