Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our apartment: a work in progress

One nice perk of being an international teacher is that many of the schools overseas provide housing for all their teachers. Our school provided us with an apartment that was furnished with the basics--VERY basics. We got a bed, a wardrobe and dresser, an oven and fridge in the kitchen, 2 couches and a dining room table. We are responsible for purchasing everything else. This is a blessing and a curse. It gives me the chance to decorate however I want and buy as nice or as crappy as I like. The nester in me is SO happy! The financial nerd in me, however, is kinda freaking out with how badly the exchange is not in our favor over here!

That said, I'm posting highlights of our apartment as it is at the moment. Hopefully I'll remember to post again once we've got everything purchased and in place...which might be next year BUT I digress.

This is our entry way. We selected the paint colors before we left for the summer and the school had the apartment painted while we were gone. It was really nice to walk in to a place that already felt a little bit like our own home. We also dropped off the framed items when we came up for a visit in May. The shop did a great job. The camel picture is a passage from the Quran written in calligraphy, but it fell off the wall because the Command strips couldn't take the weight. oops!
This is our scratch-off map that hangs in the entry way. I LOVE this map! I found it online before we moved to Saudi Arabia, but I couldn't find a framing shop while we were in the Magic Kingdom. I love the sense of accomplishment as I scratch off each country we visit together. The list of countries sounds pretty impressive when we count them off on our fingers, but now that I see the visual, I wanna hop a plane right now and add some more color to the map! We left Alaska and Hawaii covered, even though they are technically part of the USA, because I felt like it was cheating to say we'd been to the whole country when we haven't been to the most far reaching points. One day.

Oh, and that little bit of Greenland that shows through just got scratched off while it was waiting to be picked up from the frame shop. Just means that we're going to have to book a trip to Nuuk sometime soon!

These two might be some of my favorite art in the house! We found these while visiting friends in Portland, Oregon last summer. I just think it's so funny to have a print of a pig in a suit while living in a country where pork is illegal. And we couldn't buy Mr. Pig and not bring a long a friend for him! Don't they look so dapper?
Adding to the animal theme of our entry way is the iron deer head key holder. Isn't it funny!?
Turn the corner from the entry way and you've got the couch we bought from ikea. The 2 couches provided by the school were nice, but they didn't offer anywhere for guests to sleep, and we have friends visiting us from Saudi Arabia very soon. The bed we want for the guest room isn't in stock till October, so we went ahead and got a sofa bed. I LOVE it! Watch...
Instead of struggling with an annoying fold up bed under the cushions, there's a little trundle underneath that you pull out... 
And pop up! It's wonderful! I can't wait to jazz up this blah color with some fun pillows. In the mean time, Kitty loves all the room to stretch out and cover with fur.
This is the guest room. Clearly, it's serving as a catch-all for everything that has no where to go right now. We're going to buy some storage benches for the living room and the guest bed we want to buy has 4 big storage drawers under the mattress, so one day everything will have a place. 
The teeny kitchen is across the hall from the guest room. We need to do the dishes right now, so I didn't take a picture of the sink and 18 square inches of counter space that came with the apartment (that's a mature solution to the cleaning problem, right? Just don't photograph it!). To give us more storage and prep space, we bought this fantastic table from ikea. I was a little afraid it was going to be too much, but it fits perfectly in the kitchen and holds everything we need with room the spare. 
When standing with my right hip against the prep table, facing the door to the kitchen, I get a nice shot of our teeny fridge and the propane tank for the stove. For some reason the fridge doors have a lock on them. I have no idea for what purpose you would need something like this, but I'm tempted to use it to keep the doors closed! They're constantly swinging open!
Here is the stove. The glass door thing folds over the gas eyes...presumably so you can have more prep space? Lighting this sucker is quite the adventure!
First of all, please excuse the candied sweet potato drippings that have been cemented to the bottom of the stove...and all the dust that is a constant presence EVERYWHERE when living in the Middle East...
So you turn on the propane using the dial that has the temperatures in Celsius and wait for the hiss. After a few seconds you stick your lighter down that hole in the middle of the picture. The pilot light is somewhere underneath there just above where the sweet potato ickiness is. That's all well and good, but our lighter doesn't reach that far. So we have to take a lit kitchen match and throw it in the hole and hope it rolls close enough to the pilot light to catch! It's a grand adventure. Sometimes it takes us so long to get it lit that just putting the match close to the whole catches the light on fire! Woo hoo! I predict a few blog posts featuring photos of our singed eyebrows. Stay tuned. 
Here's the bathroom. Cause I know you were curious.
Here's our TV. The Mister is very happy to have something to play video games on again. Only problem is that the TV cost so much that we didn't have anything left over to pass as a sort of entertainment center. It should come as no surprise to our friends and family that the Mister is perfectly content using one of our dining room chairs as a resting place for the xbox in the meantime.

So that's our new home! I really do enjoy living here.  I cannot wait to slowly add furniture so it'll start to look more like the home of a couple of almost-30-year-olds and less like that of an apartment of the newly-graduated-from-college-and-broke!

Vicariously yours,


  1. your kitchen tile is adorable! Also I am glad mr. otter and republican piggy made the trip! They are my faves!

  2. Good decoration i like all pic very much

    discovery map scratch off world
    Looking for maps? We've got them. We even have scratch off maps to show where you have visited.