Our house is on a hillside, the base of a volcano actually, and it overlooks all of San Salvador.
My sheets are from Pottery Barn Kids.
Our neighbor across the street is “important,” and therefore no one is allowed to park next to her house. I speculated that this was due to the risk of car bombings. The truth is, she is probably just important enough to force people to park on the other side of the street.
We don’t have large outside trash cans. We just set our trash on the curb. It is very important that there be some trash on the curb when the trash man comes at 7 am three days a week. Otherwise, the trash man will knock on our door and inquire about our lack of trash, waiting at the door while we grab whatever trash we have.
We essentially live at the end of a cul-de-sac, at the top of a hill, in a very private neighborhood with few people coming in and out. Still, there is a constant stream of noise. Roosters, jackhammers, men drunkedly singing, that one bird that sounds alternately like a crying child and a goat being strangled.
Despite the fact that no one had asked for permission, our landlord was insistent that it was perfectly and totally fine for us to light candles, incense, blow torches, etc. Okay, not the blow torches, but from Kristen’s notes (our house translator) it would seem that he went to extra lengths to flame-proof the house and he is just dying for us to test it out. Or something.
Also, good thing he’s down with the flame throwing, because our oven/range runs on propane. Meaning that to cook we have to flip the opening on our hideous, bright yellow propane tank, and light the burners with matches. I haven’t quite…mastered this just yet. In fact, the first week we were here, three of the six of us sported small burns on our arms.
Still, I’m in love with our 6-burner range. And our oven heats in about two seconds flat.
From our balcony, I could reach out and grab the power line running into our house.
Despite being quite tastefully decorated, with a few notable exceptions, the paint in our house looks like it was slapped on by a three-year-old. There are sprays of paint on the tile floor, a loose interpretation of where the wall stops and the ceiling begins, and a random streak of white paint on a certain red wall.
There is a bird’s nest above the air conditioner outside my bedroom window.
The streets in our neighborhood are fake cobblestone. I like it.
Our entire house can be enclosed in metal bars. All the windows have decorative metal bar covering. Our downstairs patio and front carport have rolling metal gates that can be pulled across all openings and locked.
The gardeners sweep with brooms made out of vines and cut the grass with machetes.
We have housekeeping corridors, but no housekeeper. This area consists of a hallway connected to the kitchen with a bedroom and bathroom off of the hallway. The washer and dryer are at the end of the hallway opposite the opening to the kitchen. We call this area the dungeon. We keep the doors to it locked at night, despite the fact that it is just another hallway inside the house and has no doors leading outside.
We’re not supposed to flush our toilet paper. We follow this rule haphazardly at best.
It is abundantly clear that the homeowner has two little girls. There is a giant pink bookshelf in the upstairs loft packed with toys. My room used to contain two very whimsically shaped twin beds, a framed “Guess How Much I Love You” print, and, oddly, a children’s hamper containing little girl clothes. I still sleep on one of the whimsical beds. I took down the “Guess How Much I Love You” bunnies two weeks ago.
Our neighborhood has a private park with swings, a little basketball court, and a picnic area. I’ve never seen children play there.
We have a cistern in our driveway in case the water ever shuts off.
Despite being able to run around with matches inside our own home, we are not allowed to light off fireworks because someone in our neighborhood has a heart condition. This was also made clear to us several times. I’m quite obliged to follow this rule, especially considering that the kind of fireworks to which they are referring are the kind that I am certain I would never, ever choose to detonate. Still, it seems to be a rather pointless rule considering the neighborhoods on either side of us seem to have no such restriction.