Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An update from Aurelie

A lot can happen in 3 weeks especially when you're moving in a new house, in a new town, in what is still a new country. So let split the summary in different chapters: Arrival, Unexpected guests and Surviving without Ikea.


Thought we got the keys on Monday 31st of October, we were staying in the Hostel until Thursday to have time to gather some basic before moving in. So we had fridge and washing machine delivered on Monday (to find out that the water tap for it was not working in the house). Then we had hire a van on Wednesday to collect the 2 second hand beds and a rocking chair. During the local hypermarket sales we had bought a set of plates, a little microwave, hoover and a little rice cooker called kitchi. And that was it, back to basic indeed.
Because I did not contact the water company before, they cut the water on Thursday so when we moved in in the evening we had no water, no gaz, no table or chairs. Our 1st dinner was take away food on cardboard boxes. Classy but still tasty.

1st night in the house
As the previous people renting did leave the house in a less than perfect state, we had 2 guys coming to paint the inside of the house and terrace. They actually told us about a huge water infiltration from the bathroom that was affecting the bedroom beside it (ours) and all the outside paint. Not much to do beside waiting for landlord to take action (still waiting BTW). The handy guys were also kind enough to get the coconuts down from the giant coconuts tree in the front of the house, so no one end up dead by falling coconuts. I think we had about 15 of them. We ate the cracked ones straight away, gave a few, and still have some around the place. Stephen really likes to play with his machete and it's the main use we have for it.
We have other fruits in our garden: bananas, litchis and others that we are not to sure what do with. The end of the cul de sac is actually a banana plantation.
Otherwise the neighbours are nice, even if their dogs bark every time we come and go. Kids have now made friends with other from the house at the back of ours. We have a boulangerie and a pizza place nearby. We would be settling nicely if there was not the guests of doom...

Unexpected guests

Here we are. Few days in and several trip later from the DIY shop and and Stephen made great moustiquaires (mosquito net) for the windows so we can enjoy a relatively mosquito free house. Of course we still have plenty of company: margouillas (little lizards, about 2 in every room) go out at night and totally harmless except for pooing everywhere, ants (at least those one don't seems to be the red angry one) in the kitchen, living room and for some reason bathroom.
The one that came as a surprise (and not a nice one) was fleas. Not just 1 or 2, an infestation in the garden (the previous occupants had a dog), and of course then in the house. We went from “eco friendly” repellent to “ kill them all” type of product with plenty of warning at the back. Sprayed the garden 3 times so far. Still cannot go outside without picking them of our legs. We have little bowls of water to drown them. Stephen even used himself as human bait to collect them. Result no so conclusive but he seemed to enjoy the fight.
It's very frustrating to have such a nice garden and not be able to enjoy it. I can't send the kid to play outside! And we still bring them inside so I have to hoover all the time.
Anyway I still had my little moment of pride when both Samuel and Ela managed to catch one flea... it take skills.
Anyway the battle goes on. My main worry is that as we are getting more furniture in the house, they have more places to settle inside too...
This brings me to the last section:

Surviving without Ikea

This is the 1st time I had an empty house, the fist time I could choose the furniture, decoration, etc.. A blank canvas to make the house really mine. That would be interesting.
Hold on... oh yes I meant our. Of course Stephen and I have already bought furniture together, like shelve and ... folding chairs... and there is plenty of stuff we know we both don't like: kitschy and
big heavy stuff.
We had been joking for years about the fact that we would end up with 1 bedroom each, or even 2 separated floor... well this is indeed the time of truth. Can we manage to furnish the house without assigning room to the despair of the other?
Well my idea of my house would be cosy, loads of shelves, chest drawers and wardrobe (to put all the stuff I keep) and very practical (because I'm lazy). I like light wood (pin or beech) especially in the bedroom (but not in bathroom) nothing metallic and most shade between deep purple and sky blue are acceptable. In one word: Ikea.
Now Stephen vision of his house is spartiate. Minimalist and white. Not so compatible with the above.
We could not agree on anything except on very horrid stuff (which is quite common). They like they're massive furniture here. Granny style. To be honest there was nothing I really liked, but everything one would qualify as not too bad, the other would dislike. We did ALL the furniture shops we came across, even on the other side of the island.
Stephen kind of won the bedroom, so my big wardrobe (I need to put my stuff somewhere, and no your little canvas shelve are pants to me) is going in the spare room. Fine. But I'm getting a table for the kitchen, and an oven. I will anyway eventually. The big wardrobe is still in pieces cos you need bac+5 in DYI to do it. Great, my clothes are still in pile on the ground.
We miraculously agreed on the couch and low table set (last week, 3rd time to the shop). But it was white so I got blue throw to put on them. Look a lot cosier, if not so practical, I 'd say I won that one...
 So we are getting there slowly, still eating of the plastic garden table and chair, and so what?


  1. I think we are winning the Flea war, only saw one today after spending the day in the garden.

  2. Is there life without Ikea? We have one an hour and a half away and are gradually replacing all sorts of things.

  3. Organophosphates may not be the eco / enviro friendly route, but sure is effective.

  4. I'm not sure you need cosy in a tropical island country!