Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Our house, in the middle of a campus

Let me tell you about the house we're living in. First, the Arabic School coordinator is basically my new best friend - she actually took individual family circumstances into account when she was assigning faculty to their housing. For us, that meant that we were not assigned to a single dorm room amongst other students, with a bathroom down the hall (though I did have a good bedpan-based contingency plan at the ready, just in case).

Instead, we're in a lovely, shared dorm-type, freestanding house, but still on campus and in the middle of everything. We have two (tiny) ground-floor bedrooms to ourselves, filled with a total of three twin beds (we sleep on two of them pushed together), two desks, some shelves, and a closet each. I'm thrilled about the shelves - every other place we've moved to "abroad" has been shockingly short on shelves. So of course, this summer, when we bring along the fewest books we ever have, there is shelf space galore. I'm working on filling it up with library books.

The living area and kitchen are shared with the other Arabic faculty member who lives upstairs. I'm really wondering if this house was built before the advent of electricity. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was, because a) there are not nearly enough electrical outlets, and b) they are all in extremely odd locations, such as an inch above the floor in the corner behind the bathroom door.

All the floors and doors are very creaky, and there's a door to the basement that I opened on the first night we were here but I don't think I will ever do so again.
We've had thunderstorms almost every day since being here, which is awesome except that there's a leak in said basement-of-terror, and the pump has to be on all day to keep the water from building up down there. Which is also fine with me, again, except that said pump is ancient and shakes the whole house in regular intervals of about 2 minutes. It's been on since Saturday night and every time she hears it, Miriam still asks me, in a fearful voice, "Mama, what is that noise? Can you keep me safe?"

The back and front yards are expansive and grassy, so that's where Miriam and I have been spending most of our time these days. Miriam is working on winning the squirrels' trust, day by day.

There are no laundry facilities in the house, so it looks like Miriam and I will be making a weekly pilgrimage to one of the residence halls to take care of that. I already feel like such a spectacle (gigantically pregnant woman with toddler in tow) that hauling a suitcase full of laundry across campus can hardly make it worse. Right?

All in all, we're very happy here. I think I would be enjoying our house even more if I wasn't constantly getting stuck in all the tight corners. Perhaps the designers of this house from 150+ (?) years ago did it on purpose to discourage college students from getting pregnant. Further evidence of this theory is the lack of comfortable seating anywhere in the house. But for the next couple of months, it's home sweet home. And I'm perfectly satisfied.

An Arabic freak show

Security breech