Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Big Move

When we received our site assignment in May 2010 our then Project Manager, Dan, let us know that the family that we would be living with was renting the house that would become our home. As a result this home placement came with the warning that we may move the following month. Our first six months of living were plagued with conversations about this house or that house in the community that our host parents were contemplating buying. Then the school year came to an end and all conversation about moving came to a halt (both Maria and Rafa work for the local high school, school break means no income). We let out the breath that we had been holding and settled in some more.

Our old living quarters (during rainy season)
The following August the "move" conversation started again. The landlord was threatening to raise the rent. Once again we heard endless talk of moving to this house or another. This time we decided to be proactive. We talked to a couple of people ourselves, letting then know that our host family may be moving and if they did so, would we be able to rent a cabina or a spare room from one of them. It wasn't that we didn't like living with Maria and Rafa, it was more that we wanted to get rid of the stress of never knowing if we would be moving or not. Once again the end of the school year came and with it the end of discussions about moving. This time we had the added bonus of having the whole house to ourselves as Maria and Rafa went to visit family for the school vacation. Once again, we let out a sigh of relief, the talk of moving had ended.

Then came the preparations for our community festival. They changed the setup of things for this year's festivities and the bull ring was going to be built right next to our house. A couple of trees were cut down by the landlord to make space, some fill was brought in to level out the pasture next door. The materials to build the rondel were delivered and construction began. The talk of moving started around the same time. This time it stuck. And so, with ten weeks left in our Peace Corps service we found ourselves moving.

The move was slightly stressful. I came home form aerobics class one night to the news that we would be moving. We had heard this before, so I kind of shrugged it off. Two days later, over breakfast, I was told that we would be moving in two days. Once again I shrugged it off. I wasn't going to believe it until it actually happened. The following day at breakfast I was told, we're moving this afternoon. Sure enough, that afternoon Maria brought Chris and I to the new digs and gave us a key to the little apartment in the back of the house that Maria and Rafa traded for (Maria had a house in another community where the owner of our new house has family - they decided to swap houses more or less). Shortly thereafter we started moving our belongings two blocks away from where they had been settling for nearly two years.

After about six trips apiece on foot, carrying luggage and storage containers full of our belongings and project materials, we had just about all of our small stuff moved. When Rafa finished up work for the day the big stuff came over. With help from several community members our bed, armoire and refrigerator were moved into the house. We only had a small hiccup when the fridge was being moved into the kitchen and it hit an exposed water pipe that exploded as a result. That night we had the restless sleep that comes with the first night in a new place, but in the two weeks since our little apartment has become home.

Maria and Rafa graciously presented us with the small fridge from their house (they have a larger one too since they need a place to hold the high school food that Maria purchases a week at a time for her job as the school cook), a small gas stove (again, they have a larger one that is used to cook for the high school) and all of the furniture that we had previously been using. The added bonus was that after a week of Maria trying to do laundry by hand in the smaller sinks at the new place she hooked the washing machine up again! No more washing clothes by hand for this girl (at least not in large quantities - we have found that our work out clothes do much better with a little arm power put into the washing)!

Throughout this process we created an ad for our new little place, mostly as a way to break the stress and have fun with our new home. The features are as follows:

  • Lots of natural lighting (we have two large windows and two doors that let light in; in addition the walls do not reach the ceiling and there are a few little nail holes in the wall and the roof doesn't have anything covering where the tin roof meets at its peak)
  • Indoor swimming pool (our kitchen is sunken and so when that water pipe burst we had standing water in our kitchen until I could bail us out)
  • Three stories (there is a step up to the bedroom, a step down to the living space and one more step down to the kitchen)
  • Scenic views (when we moved in we had some of the most gorgeous roosters living behind our house, twelve of them to be exact; therefore, there was no need for an alarm clock - they have since been moved by their owner)
  • Tile floors (this is a step up from the poured concrete floors at the old place, I'm more than happy to sweep and mop a couple of times a week with the added bonus of being able to walk around barefoot)
  • Large shower (it takes up roughly 2/3 of our bathroom, unfortunately it wasn't tiled so there was some mold/mildew action happening and it looked a little bit like a torture chamber, but Chris painted and it now looks bright and cheery)
  • Location (we now live in the center of town, we actually really enjoy being more a part of the community, every time we go do programs it is guaranteed that we will see someone out and about)
  • Private kitchen (this is huge after two years of sharing a kitchen with a family)
Here's a quick look into our new home:

Our new bedroom
Living space (no more cramped quarters for morning exercises or evening yoga!)
Our cheery blue shower
Our very own kitchen (storage tubs work wonderfully to store food and make counter space)
Another view of the kitchen, looking out the back door

We're all settled in now, feel free to visit. Time is running out!

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