Monday, May 23, 2005

Pictures of my Apartment!

Hello everyone!

I’ll be sending an email right after this one about how you can view my online pictures! So far, I’ve posted pictures of my apartment here in Durban. I use the online service called Snapfish, and to view my pictures, you need to have an ‘account’, which really just means you need to log into the site with your email and a password. The next email from me is one through their site so you can join from my referral? so, just read the next email, follow the link, and join to see my pictures! I hope to update it fairly regularly, so hopefully there’ll be some new pictures for you to see soon!

I know I haven't written in a little while, but it's been really hectic lately! This week at work was very fun because we visited the principals of each of the two schools we'll be surveying this week. Life has been good lately, and we've made some new friends. I will be sending an email about our experiences with the schools here and about our going-out escapades, so keep an eye out for them!

So, about my apartment (which is called ‘flat’ here, in the British tradition). I made a floorplan of the apartment that's included in the online pictures. It’s a three-bedroom apartment, with one being the master bedroom (it has two twin beds pushed together), and the other two each have a twin bed. Adrienne and I decided it wasn’t fair for one person to have the huge bed and room, so we’re using that as the ‘guest room’ in case we get guests (some come visit!). My room has a view of the Indian Ocean, but it's the smaller of the two rooms. Adrienne's room is larger, and has a nice corner window, but the view is another apartment building. The 'guest room' has a view of the Ocean, too. We also have a 'balcony', which is enclosed, but has awesome views of the ocean. We also can see the Natal Sharks stadium right outside our window (the Natal Sharks are Durban's professional rugby team). The bathroom facilities are interesting, because the toilet is in a seperate room from the sink and bathtub/shower. The living room also has a view of the ocean, and there is a little 'dining room' area of the living room. The kitchen is kind of small, but since there's only two of us, it works out fine!

There aren't really any chores we need to do, because our office has arranged for someone to come each Tuesday to clean our apartment... which is a little weird for Adrienne and me, but I think we can get over that :-P We do all of our own cooking (which surprised one of the girls who works with us, because the students who were here last year went out to eat a lot more than us). We're actually having an awesome time trying new things and pretending to know how to cook. Adrienne and I like a lot of the same foods, so it's been really great cooking together. I'll send another email later regarding our eating antics, though...

As with any residence, there are obviously going to be quirks. One thing that's different here is the toilet/bathroom situation, but we're ok with that now. The thing about the two rooms is that the light switches are in the hallway, so we're always running back and forth to turn lights on, off, on, off, but maybe that's good because we'll get some exercise. When we arrived, we wanted to start cooking, but after searching the kitchen, we realized we didn't have any pots (just one frying pan), no can opener, no cutting knives, tupperware... but we've gotten some stuff from where we work, and the woman who owns the apartment came last week and brought us some stuff. We're still waiting on a washing machine, though... it's breezy here, so we'll dry our clothes on a drying rack. I didn't bring that many clothes with me, so I've already had to hand-wash a load of laundry. That's some hard work! I'm still sore, and I did that on Friday night! Yeah... I know I'm a dork for spending my Friday night hand-washing my laundry... We do have a microwave, TV, and just got a CD player/radio from one of the women we work with. Our TV gets four channels, which kind of gets old quickly, but we're glad we even have a TV! We've been trying to learn as much about South African culture as possible, and as bad as TV and news shows can be, we have learned a lot of South African English and about the music scene here.

Overall, Adrienne and I really like our apartment. It feels very safe, especially because there's a gate to get into the grounds, a gate to get into the building, a gate on our door, and our door locks. So, we have to do a lot of unlocking to finally get into our home! We live in one of the safest parts of Durban, which is called Morningside. This is also the area where a lot of good bars and restaurants are, so we can walk to a lot of things. It gets dark here at like 5:30PM since it's approaching the shortest day of the year, and people at work and around town (mostly strangers) always tell us not to go walking around at night. We've gone out a couple times and it seems to be ok, and our friends tell us that we should be fine in our area. There's also an internet cafe a block away, so we're happy about that, too. We walk to the grocery store that's about 10 minutes away, and it's a nice little walk. We really do have everything we need right near us, and getting to the downtown area and the beaches isn't that difficult from where we are. We're still trying to learn the public transport system, but to no avail... hopefully we get it soon!

I hope this gives you a better image of my environment! I'm really having a great time, aside from missing people, and I can't believe how quickly these two weeks have gone by! The rest of the summer should be wonderful... and we're planning to go to the beach a lot more. I've updated my online photos to include some beach pictures and a couple pictures of Adrienne and I, so you can see how we're doing :-)

Write back and tell me how your summer is going... where are you? what are you doing? Any funny stories to share??

I miss you and hope to hear from you soon,

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