Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘United States Foreign Service

Wordless Wednesday 05 Oct 11

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Going through all these...

I find lots of these. Cables and wires from three different continents, and no clue as to where they go!


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 5, 2011 at 8:04 am

Lux Housing

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Our home in Luxembourg

Last week I completely missed a call for Foreign Service bloggers to dish the dirt on overseas housing.  I’ll do it now, because I want to tell a story soon that takes place there, so I get to set the scene.  Given the issues we had with the house, it is no longer rented by the Embassy, so I have no qualms about showing it on the internet.  I thought some of you on the outside might be interested in what our homes are like when overseas.

This was our house in Luxembourg.  When we first arrived, we thought it was pretty great.  It was certainly much bigger than the apartment in Washington, DC we lived in for the first few months of our married life.  It was in a suburb, and in a country as tiny as Lux, we’d have much preferred being in the city.  When we arrived in August and went for a walk around, it was silent.  All the businesses were closed, and we never encountered another pedestrian as we walked around.  It was eerie!  No other foreign service families were housed in the area (at that time) so it was pretty lonely at first. The neighbourhood was so quiet that most days I would hear no other sound than planes flying above.

Pudding reclining on the couch. No, we don't get to pick it!

The Embassy provides the furniture in our houses, so many other Foreign Service will recognize our couch.  Nobody likes them, we don’t know who picks them, but somebody’s Aunt Edith has been suggested.  We made no attempts to disguise it, and embraced the ugliness by painting our walls to match.  It is really hard to live with all white walls for three years, particularly if you’re home a lot with young children.  That often goes against housing guidelines though, so I don’t recommend it, unless you happen to be sleeping with the Management Officer.  Totally worth it ;-).

I know we took more photos, but I just can’t find them.  In a way, it is okay having this furniture.  It really wasn’t to our taste, but you learn to live with it.  I just wish the edges weren’t so sharp.  Pudding almost always had bruises.  It didn’t help that all the ground level had the same slippy tile.  We didn’t know about her balance problems back then, we just blamed that furniture.  Much as we dislike it, we still had to keep Pudding from destroying it, as we are obliged to pay for any damage.  I was pretty determined not to have to buy anything that ugly!

It was a quirky little house, but we were (are) a quirky couple, so that suited us.  There was no attic, so in the roof that you can see were the bedrooms.  Due to the angle of the roof, you couldn’t stand up on one side of all the bedrooms.  There were no closets, so the Embassy bought wardrobes which lined the side of the tallest wall, making even less space.  When you added in beds and other furniture, there was very little room left in the bedrooms, so you frequently found yourself bumping your head.

It was a nice house with a nice garden, but it seemed like they’d run out of money when it came to the finishing details, and a lot of finishing details were cheap and of low quality.  There were a lot of problems with the plumbing in the house, and as the proprietor lived overseas, it was hard to get her to take action quickly.  This meant that minor issues became big problems.  We were without the shower for a few weeks when it caused a flood due to faulty pipework.

It rains a lot in Luxembourg, so we weren’t too surprised when our basement flooded.  Tree roots had grown into the pipes and it became an on-again, off-again issue for the rest of time there.  We didn’t use the basement much, but the laundry was down there, and the damage to the floors made it perilously slippy.  When I was heavily pregnant with Cubby, I had a bad fall down there, and that turned me off the house altogether.  I wouldn’t want to live there again.

On the whole though, we have good memories.  The best thing about that house was that it was detached, and we didn’t have to share our walls with anyone else.  From our current vantage point, that was a definite advantage.  Still, being so isolated can have drawbacks too, as you’ll discover in tomorrow’s story

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 14, 2011 at 6:39 am