Friday, June 30, 2017

A New House!

We moved this past weekend! For those who are counting, this is our fifth residence in the two years and three months we've been here. Why? Just tryin' to find our groove! 😊

I loved the little apartment I was living in but it was very small and my abundance of animals was bothering the neighbours. So when I saw a poster in Despensa (the grocery store) for a wee casita to rent for only Q1800 a month, I went for it! (Q1800 is about $320 Canadian or $245 U.S. at today's exchange rates.)
I don't have that much stuff, so we decided to just move everything ourselves with the help of some tuk-tuk rides and a dolly we borrowed from friends. The mini-fridge was the biggest thing, plus the awkwardness of carrying boxes of potted plants and other knick-knacks. It was a loooong day but we had good luck as it didn't rain all day. That's a rare thing in rainy season!
Yep, it's PINK! I call this architectural style Guatemal-Greco. 😋
(Seriously, I'm considering decorating with Greek accents... mosaics and dolphins and fountains!)
We are the end of a dead-end street, only a block from the grocery store.
Bert was my hero on moving day. He worked so hard! 
I took the photos above and below as we were trudging back to the apartment on our upteenth trip. At this point we were moaning, "Why didn't we rent a truck and some guys??"
Do you like Bert's shirt??
I always say that on moving day someone gets hurt and something gets broken. This is the broken thing: our garbage pail lid! Bert also skinned his knuckles pretty badly but he wouldn't let me take a picture.
A weird tradition I have when moving homes: I blow up a balloon to celebrate!
Plus I hung some art to try to dampen the echoes. The house is kinda empty.
The house is pretty much unfurnished. It came with a double bed, a table (now my desk), a small folding table (being refinished by Bert), a pila, and big potted plant. That's it! I have a mini-fridge, a toaster oven, and a coffee brewer. We don't even have a stove yet! We've been enjoying (quote/unquote) ham sandwiches for every meal.
A three-burner propane countertop stove costs Q289. Not bad. But we have to get a propane tank for it, which costs about Q100 or a bit more, and we'll have to put a deposit down on the tank, which costs who-knows-what. That'll probably happen next week. Until then, more sandwiches!
There are two bedrooms. Bert's door has this on it. I figured it was appropriate. I think Bert kinda looks like Sid! HA HA!
Lovely big windows in the first room right next to the side door. Unfortunately, they look out onto the street. Like DIRECTLY onto the street. They get nice morning sun though. (This is a nighttime photo)
See the bricks in the photo above? Not bricks! It's a cement wall with brick tiles. Clever!
Weird feature. The bathroom sink is not in the bathroom! It's in the foyer.
Willow doesn't care. She loves to drink from the tap.
Our pila in the front enclosed porch area.
Calvin on his blankie in the front porch. The decorative bricks to the left are open to the street so he can smell stuff. Neat floor tiles too, eh? The same ones are in the shower.
My bedroom also has big windows... that look out to the enclosed porch? Huh?
Guatemalan house plans are a mystery.
(Plus, Rui settling in. Look how big he's gotten!)
suicide shower electric
No Guatemalan casita would be complete without a suicide shower.
Bonus: the electrical breaker is IN the shower. For safety??
Double bonus: Star of David window bricks! Yes, they go right outside. No screen. No glass.
Our side door, the one we use most. Notice the large gap at the top? Ha!
That kinda stuff wouldn't cut it in Canada! Here, it's always nice weather outside so it's not a big deal.
There isn't a garden at the new house but there is a full flat roof with nice views of the hills.

The view the other way. The volcanoes are to the right of this picture, but they're blocked by taller buildings.
This is another pic of the roof. The stairs come up there under that little shelter thing.
(This is gonna be the "before" picture. Wait a few months and hopefully I can put up an awesome "after" picture of our improvements.)
Although there is no garden, Bert and I have grand plans for the rooftop. We want to turn it into an oasis of plants! We're going to build more roof onto the little tin shelter that's already up there, plus make an arbor with ivy and stuff climbing on it, and have a fire pit, and space for the dogs to chill out.
Speaking of dogs... both Gus and Calvin jumped off the roof! It's quite high! Gus jumped down cuz he saw Bert walking down the street and didn't want to be left behind. Calvin jumped down when we were out shopping. He was chained up but slipped free of his collar and decided to go for a runabout. Bert went looking for him for HOURS with no success. He turned up in the afternoon all by himself with a big goofy grin and a belly full of garbage. (Calvin, not Bert! HA!) 
Gus on the roof!
I'm glad neither of the dogs were hurt by their courage/stupidity. Gus limped for a bit, and Calvin has a scrape on his chin. Whatta bunch of dorks! 
Rui and the new kitten, Noodles, on my bed.
The new house is taking some getting used to. It's pretty loud as it's right on the street and there have been a surprising number of people going by, especially just around suppertime. It sounds like they're right in my bedroom! I'm gonna see what I can do about soundproofing a bit more. I miss the crickets and peeperfrogs of the apartment but I don't miss the loud barking dogs and crazy kids next door.

Awesome things about the new casita: The floors are all nice tile, very easy to sweep. We're super close to town and the stores and restaurants and friends. I love that Bert and I can have separate rooms to do our own thing in. It's great having the house to ourselves with no neighbours or landlords. We're excited to start furnishing it and decorating it cuz it's kinda like a blank slate. I love the rooftop and the potential for an awesome outdoor space. And Bert is eager to get up on the roof and do some mosaics and other projects.

So that's our news for this week. I have a bunch of blog posts half-finished that I'm hoping to get done and posted soon. Fascinating topics like tuk-tuks, Internet service, safety and security, and the joy of tiendas. Never a boring day here in Guatemala. 😏

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