Livin’ It

I’ve talked about getting here, I’ve talked about the start of work, but I have yet to talk about “home”.

On the drive from the bus stop to the apartment, Sherry (our boss) said that Jason and I would be living in a “mansion”. We thought she was joking. And then we walked into the place.  I forgot to bring the photos with me to work, so I can’t post them right now.  I’ll try to remember them tomorrow.

It’s a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment with cathedral ceilings in the living room, and an upstairs that overlooks the main area. It has a good-sized kitchen (3mx3m) a small dining room, an office, an indoor balcony, a small open side area on the balcony, and two large bedrooms. Upstairs walks out to an exterior vestibule (which looks like it will be a great green house in the colder months) and an open balcony with an exterior sink.

The floors and trim are all beautiful blonde wood, as are the plethora of built-in cabinets and closets. There are recessed lights everywhere, and even a huge chandelier hanging from the cathedral ceiling. The doors are all glass–many of them with fancy leaded designs.

It’s huge, comfortable, and absolutely gorgeous.

Of course, nothing comes without a price. In this case, that price is 91 stairs. We’re on the 6th floor of an apartment complex that doesn’t have an elevator. So… in order to get to my lovely home, I have to walk up 91 steps–with no AC and no lights (thank God for the flashlight app on my phone!)

Which gives me a segue into another topic…

I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up losing a lot of weight while I’m here. I’ve already found myself eating a lot less. Mostly, I think it’s due to the heat (and a little bit because I can’t order food at a restaurant unless there are pictures on the menu). Then there’s the fact that I’m sweating out what feels like 3 gallons of water a day (some days, my clothes are completely soaked through).

Then, of course, there’s the walking. It’s the only way I have to get around, so I’m walking a lot. Work is about a mile to a mile and a half away from home (there may be a short-cut, but I haven’t gone looking yet), so I’m getting at least 2 miles of walking in every day. The nearest western-style grocery store (Carrefour; a French sort of Wal-Mart) is another quarter mile past work.[1] I walked down to work and back early this morning, and then down to Carrefour and back late this morning. That’s a lot of walking, and I did it all before noon.

If my sleep schedule stays the way it is (I’ve been waking up between 03:00 and 05:00), I might consider trying to join in the Tai Chi that goes on in the park across from work. That would mean walking down there around 06:00, doing the Tai Chi (and being humiliated by little old ladies who are in far better shape than I am), walking back home to have breakfast, shower, and do chores around the house, then walk back down to work late in the morning. It’s a nice thought, but I’m not sure I’ll have the energy to actually do it. 🙂

Well… today is my day off, and I know for a fact that the convenience store downstairs has TsingTao in the cooler. It tastes like a Chinese Budweiser, but hey… you take what you can get, right?

[1] For the record: Carrying a 3-liter bottle of oil, by a little plastic handle, for a mile and a half really hurts. My fingers were almost numb when I got home. Luckily, that amount of cooking oil should last us a long time.

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