Throw pillows and bed skirts: A House Tour

I’ve been waiting to do a blog post about our house until it’s perfect and I have everything exactly how I want it.  The problem with this plan is that JR and I are at odds as to which items we need for the house and which items are just fluff that I want to spend money on.  (Spoiler alert:  He thinks basically everything I want is unnecessary).  I’ll concede on one thing:  bed skirts.  Why why why in this day and age do I need a bed skirt?  The idea of them seems so old-fashioned.  Unfortunately, every bed frame in our house needs one but we only own one.  I just can’t bring myself to spend money on something I dislike so much, but I recognize the beds look bad without them.  Blah. I’ll buy them eventually, but not today.  Don’t judge me.

Another sticking point that was recently resolved: new throw pillows.  I had been asking for them for years months, but JR was of the opinion that we had perfectly good throw pillows and it would be a waste of money to replace them.  He’s really into the “if it ain’t broke” line of thinking, whereas I’m a bit more “ohh look something shiny and new, let’s buy it!”  Luckily, Christmas rolled around and voila, new throw pillows!

Aside from wanting to buy new things, I am so, so happy with our house.  It’s plenty big enough for us, we have a great little yard, and we love it.

Now for a photo tour. Standing in the foyer, there is a half bath to the right and a small set of steps down to the left that lead to the laundry room, garage, and the lamp closet (so named because the Embassy LOVES lamps and our house came with approximately 100, so I stuffed several in that closet).
entry 2 foyer 2 foyer


Our living room/playroom.  It’s important to note her toys are put away neatly like this approximately once a month, or whenever I need to take a picture to share publicly.
l room 3playroom

l room 2l room 1


Dining room and kitchen.  I am thrilled to have so many cupboards!  When we received our housing assignment, they included pictures and I immediately counted every single cupboard.
kitchen 3 kitchen 1 kitchen 2


We also have a good-sized pantry. We look like milk  hoarders.  And yes, we keep milk in the pantry.


Our house is kind of split level so the master bedroom is located up a half flight of stairs.  Here’s our room and bathroom.
bedroom 2 bedroom

bath 2 bath 1


Up another half flight we have a big landing space with JR’s bathroom, a linen closet (a linen closet!), Abby’s room and a guest room.  Separate bathrooms and a king-sized bed are keys to our marital bliss.
guest room justin bath


Abby’s room is the biggest room in the house and has an attached bathroom.
abby 1 abby 2

abby 3 abby bath


In the FS you don’t pick your house or furniture so sometimes it’s hard to make it feel like your own, but we feel completely at home here and we’re really looking forward to being settled for the next 3.5 years!

Around the house

We are very happy with our housing assignment here in Pristina. I can’t wait to have all of our things here (could be a few weeks or more still) and make it our own, and post some pictures.

But for now, I’ll take you on a little tour of some of the unusual things that we have here that we did not have back home.

First up, a china cabinet! Now, this isn’t unusual for most people, but certainly for us. We don’t have china, but surely I can make good use of this space. It makes me feel very grown up and fancy to have a china cabinet, even when it’s empty. (Note, I took the picture from the side because it’s mirrored and my hair is not pretty.)


Also in our kitchen/dining room area we have a water distiller. The water isn’t recommended for us here. It’s okay for brushing your teeth, or washing produce, but these distillers are provided and we get our drinking water from here. We’re learning some lessons about this. For example, I used a few ice cubes the other day and thought they tasted funny, but didn’t think much of it (I also hate ice, so that could have been the problem). Then it occurred to me to ask JR, um, did you use the good water when you filled the ice cube trays? His face told me he did not. Not a huge deal, but we did empty the trays and start over.


And here is the wee smallest kitchen trash can ever. I put the Diet Coke box beside it for size, but also, because it doesn’t fit in the trash can. It’s just odd to have such a small can!


Who would have thought a fridge on wheels would be so annoying? It rolls every time you open the door.


We also have an air purifier that we run full time. Although we haven’t noticed any problems yet, pollution and air quality are major issues here. The problem is especially bad in the winter, because most homes here burn coal for heat.


I’m so appreciative that we have air conditioning. It’s interesting, each room has a unit near the ceiling, not central air or attached to a window. What’s also cool is that each one is controlled individually by a remote control, so you just turn them on and off as needed.



We had asked for two bathrooms, and well, I suppose you could say they gave us half of that. In our laundry room, we have a toilet and the world’s smallest sink. I think it’s really strange to have a toilet beside the washer and dryer, although now that I’m writing this, I actually think my grandparents’ house may have one there too. But with a regular-sized sink.


Two strange things in the real bathroom. First there are these two contraptions that are just bars against the wall. I don’t know if it’s a heater? A hanging rack? Wall art? Because we can’t figure it out and there isn’t a place to hang our towels, I put my over-the-door plastic hooks on the bars and we’re using them to hold our towels and robes. Might as well make it useful!


photo (2)

Finally, the toilet paper holder. I just don’t get this thing AT ALL. Why is there a metal flap over the toilet paper? Is it like, hiding it? Is toilet paper not supposed to be visible? Is it classier this way? It confuses me.

photo (3)

Super Neighbor Status

Our neighbor deserves his own post. I will call him Super Neighbor. He lives with his family downstairs, and they are just finishing up their posting.

On our first full day here, JR and I wanted to take a walk around, and decided to try setting the security alarm. Instead of setting it, we set it off. We were a bit panicked, and in less than a minute, here is Super Neighbor at our door, adorable baby in his arms (that we undoubtedly woke up), big smile on his face, offering to come inside and take a look at the alarm. We kept apologizing for bothering him, he kept saying it was no problem, he was happy to help. When the local guard force showed up moments later to investigate, he was there to help explain to them that it was a mistake.

That was our initial introduction to Super Neighbor. It would have be nice if we could have made a better impression, but he didn’t seem to mind at all.

I think I mentioned that our social sponsor had already set up internet in our apartment. But that first Monday when JR went to work, I woke up to no internet. It just wasn’t working, and I had no clue how to fix it. I didn’t want to bug JR when he had more important things to do, but I definitely wondered how I was going to spend the entire day by myself without the internet or my TV shows! Less than an hour after I realized this, the apartment phone rang. I hesitated, because I had no idea who might be calling aside from JR. Of course, it was Super Neighbor.

SN: “Hey, do you guys have wi-fi up there?”
Me: “We have internet, not wi-fi, but it’s down right now.”
SN: “I know it takes a while to get set up. I wanted to call and give you my wi-fi password so you would have internet right away.”

I mean, who does that? I was totally surprised by not only his willingness to share that, but I didn’t even ask – he was just thinking we might need it, so he called and volunteered it.

But Super Neighbor’s greatest gift to us was yet to come. JR and I are big fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones. Since leaving the States, we’ve missed two episodes. We figured this was part of the deal with moving overseas, we may not get to see our shows right when we want to see them. But then Sunday night happened. It was apparently a huge episode on the show, and there were spoilers EVERYWHERE. It wasn’t just Facebook, they were on People, US Weekly, all of my websites. I was worried that the ending would be ruined for me, and I was desperate to see it.

I started Googling ways to watch GOT online. We were more than willing to pay to download the episodes, but that wasn’t an option. I read that GOT was one of the most illegally downloaded shows ever. So you’d think I’d be able to find a way to download it illegally then, right? (Not that I would have…) But I couldn’t even find that online! And I consider myself capable of finding just about anything online. I was extremely frustrated.

JR’s brother tried to help by setting up HBO GO service. Everything was working on his end, but something blocked us from seeing it. I made a sad Facebook post about how we were out of luck.

But I was wrong! Super Neighbor saw my post, got in contact with JR, and let us know that he had the episodes we needed saved on a flash drive and we could come get them right away. I feel like we owe him at least a case of beer, but the only beer readily available here is Peja, and well, let’s just say that’d be like giving someone Busch beer as a gift. (No offense, Drew.)

Sadly, Super Neighbor is packing out this week, on to the next posting with his family. We will miss him! I think the best thing we can do is pay it forward. When new people move into our building, especially anyone who is new to this lifestyle, I’ll try to think of things that we can to help them as they are settling in. I’m going to be a broken record about this, but it’s amazing to have a great group of people welcoming us into this new world.