Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekly FS Blog Roundup--Housing

It seems a little trivial to be working on a blog about housing while the earthquake and ensuing tsunami are occurring. The images on television are shattering. So many people left homeless. So much loss. The boys are worried about their friend Toshia who lives in Tokyo. One of the things that happens if you live a global lifestyle is that when tragedy strikes, no matter where, it seems like you know someone who is affected. Our thoughts and prayers go out in to the people of Japan and those whose lives are touched by this tragedy.

One of the biggest investments most people ever make is a house. Where a person lives, and what their home looks like can be an important part of a persons happiness. When you walk in the door and the house feels welcoming, some of the workday stress just melts away. When buying a house, or even renting one, a lot of thought goes into selecting just the right place. So what happens when you give that choice up for a life wandering the planet, having your housing in your new country selected for you, with little or no input from you?

Well if you are lucky you get a fabulous house, bigger than anything you could have afforded back home. Yes, it does happen. Don't believe me? I'm not sure I blame you after my post yesterday, but Lisa from What Were We Thinking is thinking that they have the best house ever. And you know what? She may be right, it is a gorgeous house! I wonder if I can convince Dave that we need to head to Tijuana next?

Maybe we could try Bangladesh instead. Meandering Memos had a fabulous roof top terrace when they lived there. I have always wanted a patio on the roof.

Or how about Belmopan? You Can Call Me Al has a pretty nice house. Belize could work for me! Dave could head to work and I could send the kids to school, then I could finally learn to scuba dive. At the end of the day I could cook in that gorgeous kitchen. Sounds like a plan to me.

We are on our third post. Which means we are no longer newbies, but we still have a lot to learn. One thing I have learned is there is no typical FS housing. It always makes me smile to hear a newbie ask what housing is like overseas. There is no way to answer that. That's why I wanted to do a housing theme. Next time someone asks, you can refer them to this post where they can click through the links to see examples of houses at various posts. I hope someone does this topic again after transfer season so we can get a peek at all the FS blogger's new digs.

Our house in Jakarta was a townhouse but it was still about twice the size of our house back in the states. With two big living rooms, a efficient galley kitchen, and four bedrooms it was really comfortable, especially after David painted it such fun colors.

In Germany our house was a two story apartment on the third and fourth floors. The stairs with no elevator were a total drag, even more so since I can never seem to get out of the house with everything I need on the first try. Once you were inside our apartment it was pretty nice. Nice light colored laminate floor, and crisp white walls which reflected the light from all the windows. And with six (6!) bedrooms and three baths there was so much room for everyone to spread out.

Now we are here in Malawi. The house is a little smaller than either of our previous FS houses but (and this is a huge but) it has a massive yard for my nature loving boys to run around in all day long terrorizing the lizards and bugs. That yard makes up for a whole lot of things.

Other people think the kitchen is where it is at. Zoe likes a light, airy, kitchen, and a pool is nice too. Toads optional. Zoe is so fond of the FS furniture that she is hosting a contest at her blog Something Edited This Way Comes for the best way to disguise a FS Sofa. I can’t wait to see how to accomplish that.

Nomads by Nature recommends that you develop a sense of humor, and take the time to personalize a house and make it yours. Sounds like good advice to me.

Stephanie from Where in the World am I used paint to brighten up her new place in Hyderabad. I love the colors and all the cool arches, I love architectural detail. If you want to see more pictures of her house you can check out her flicker pictures and she even has a video tour.

Sadie Abroad asks if she's wrong to complain. Considering the luck she has had with housing I would say no, she should be complaining a whole lot more. Bedbugs and spraying for mosquitos while her pets are in the house are pretty much inexcusable problems. I hope she has a change of luck soon.

Adventures In… posted before and after pictures of her house. It is amazing what a little rearranging and some paint can do for a place. I am not sure anything can be done about the wild tiles. I actually like the blue ones and the red bathroom would be cool if the sink and tub didn’t match. That’s a whole lotta red.

Small Bits has a lovely big house with lots storage. And bookcases. You can never have too many bookshelves, or storage.

Connie from Whale Ears and other Wonderings is nicer than me when she goes on a rant. After she finished trashing her house, she took the time to point all the good bits too. Me, I just figure that is a post for another day. It can be so cathartic to have a place vent once in a while.

Kelly from Well, That Was Different makes her premiere post here on the roundup with a post about all the furniture that fills our houses. The Drexel Heritage furniture we all know and love, or love to hate, does have a certain “style” about it.

The current theme At Post is furniture. At Post is a photo blog that, like the roundup, relies on the FS community for contributions. I sent in a picture of my kitchen table. I am pretty sure it started life as a shipping container. It’s ugly, but I no longer dread the pasta night. No white upholstered dining chairs for me this tour. Ha! Send in your furniture pictures. Let’s see if we can get examples of all the different Drexel Horrible brocades in inventory.

Donna at Email from the Embassy is finding her current house in Amman a little boring. Who can blame her? Her house in Armenia had a secret Scooby Doo bookcase door in the basement and her house in Beijing had a naked mermaid chandelier. Guess you can’t be that lucky all the time.

Sass and Sweet has had good luck with housing department so far, mustard colored brocade couches aside, and hopes it continues at her next post. My fingers are crossed for you.

And finally, Sara at Wife-Mommy-Woman posted a very nice rundown of the housing in San Jose. This is just the kind of information I want when I contact post to ask about housing: an honest, thorough response. I would probably whine less about my housing if I had known what to expect. Telling someone the house is “fabulous” when it's really “livable with issues we are working on” makes for a rough landing in country. It’s called managing expectations. Nicely done, Sara.

Well that’s the roundup for this week. If you want to host a roundup stop by A Daring Adventure and sign up. The roundup can't continue without community participation.


A Daring Adventure said...

You are THE WOMAN!!! Thank you so much for doing the RoundUp this week... and even when your computer gave you problems! :(

Um, and best of luck getting Dave to Tijuana. :)

Nomads By Nature said...

Great job on the round up. Thank you for stepping up and hosting again. I hope that your children's friend is safe and sound. A hard day to do the blog round up topic, but you did it well. You are right. A global lifestyle opens your heart to being affected by just about every world tragedy because you know and care about someone there.

Connie said...

Thank you for hosting the round-up. If I can get the cat off my keyboard, perhaps I can access the links and read more (hard to accurately 'right click, open in new tab' with 11lbs of fluff laying on my wrist). I'm looking forward to reading what others have shared. I hope your kids' friend is doing well.

Anonymous said...

Great Round-Up, I wish I'd read this before the first post! I had a busy week, so I'm too late, but here is my submission anyway: