It may not surprise you to learn that I watch a lot of House Hunters. A LOT. Raj has been exposed to far more of it than he'd like, though he doesn't mind House Hunters International. So we tried to make picking our housing feel like an episode. We didn't have a real estate agent though and only had two places to pick from. So our process was a lot less "I really want an updated kitchen with granite and stainless steel plus a big yard and a huge master bath with a double vanity" and a lot more "let's hope one of these two is decently nice."
Here's something you won't see on House Hunters - a live cockroach in a closet. And the couple chooses that house! And they really like it! The house, not the cockroach. Obviously we're not fans of roaches, though one of us has much stronger feelings on the topic than the other. But we both recognize that we've chosen to live in a tropical climate. Bugs happen. (Though I've recently learned that huge centipedes happen on this island and if that comes in this house, I will LOSE MY SHIT. That's a promise.)
Anyhoo. You know how you never hear about large-scale death and destruction from typhoons hitting Okinawa? Is it because they don't hit Okinawa? Oh no. They do. (Click here for bleeped version of video taken on Camp Hansen last year of a car flipping in a parking lot.) The thing is, they build everything in concrete here, so the buildings stay up.
This multiplex may say "60s style government housing" to you, but it also says, "huff and puff all you want, typhoon". That's the style of housing we're in. We have a middle unit, which works out since you don't get extra windows on the outsides anyway, but you do have to pay the kid extra to mow your side yard. We have a little patio in back and the border between our yard and the neighbors is a banana tree and a hibiscus bush. (Currently: one flower, no bananas.) I'm going tomorrow to look at some used patio furniture, one key criterion being whether I can move it myself. Not only for getting it home tomorrow, but in case of typhoons while Raj is gone. A grill he can choose for himself when he gets back.
On House Hunters International, a lot of people are looking to get a furnished place. Some of them have a lot of opinions regarding the furniture, some are just happy if there is some. We were somewhere in between. Not that it really mattered, since we didn't have any choice about it anyway.
Except for the flat screen TV, it's pretty much 1988 in our living room. Blue upholstery with little embroidered red and tan...things...all over it. Medium colored oak as far as the eye can see. The good/sad news is that the upholstered pieces appear to be brand new, based on the way that you still sit on top of the cushions, rather than sinking into them at all. So yay! Clean! But oh, federal government. Really? Currently the entire contents of our china cabinet is two laquerware serving pieces we bought in Burma.
You know what we could have used more than a china cabinet? A bed large enough for the both of us. Apparently, queen size beds are only for officers more senior than Raj. You guys, Raj takes up a double bed by himself. With his feet hanging off. So we bought a queen size bed. But where would we put the one they gave us? Well, in one of our two empty bedrooms, of course! See, because while we qualified for a three bedroom house based on Raj's rank, we only qualified for one bed based on number of residents. One room is now our guestroom. The other will be our office/another guestroom, but currently is serving as my workout room/yoga studio/torture chamber.
Do you see the size of those closets? One in each guest room, one in the upstairs hallway, one downstairs. Plus his and hers closets in the master bedroom. And the kitchen? No granite, no stainless, no island, and not open concept. But look at all of that storage!
We still don't have a lot more food, but the oil/vinegar/Asian sauce collection has roughly doubled. I have a whole shelf for baking stuff, unlike in the last house, where everything was up where I had to stand on a chair to get it down. I told Raj that the top shelf here is for things that only he needs to reach, so if you look closely, you'll see the two chocolate bars I got him as his stand in birthday present (the real one is with the rest of our stuff...somewhere). They are orange and chili flavored, meaning they're safe from me.
Across from the stove is a built in desk, more cabinets, and my favorite feature:
Metal stair treads. Who thought that was a good idea? I mean, I guess it does keep the kids from doing all that dangerous running down the stairs that kids are always doing. Not in this house, assuming they want to keep the soles of their feet intact.
We did get lucky on the bathrooms in that (there are 2.5 and) the floor to ceiling tile is a color that works well with my old Target shower curtain and new wedding registry towels.
It's been fun to get to start using a few of our wedding gifts that were in our express shipment. I mean, sure, it was good that I waited to get married until I knew what I wanted in a man, but also important that I had solid ideas regarding linens. Hello, high thread count sheets. I knew I loved you before I met you.
Potential houseguests: if you come stay with us, your bathroom will feature this very mod sink:
Sure, it's a little bit ironic that we have ridiculous amounts of storage in a house to which we're only allowed to bring 25% of our stuff (by weight, that is). And I am getting a wee bit impatient for the arrival of our household goods shipment. But we have a view of the ferris wheel from our bedroom window and are set up for a pretty good game of hide and seek, closet-wise.
One day, we'll have stuff. We'll put it away and hang things up and then I'll show you updated pictures. Won't that be exciting?