Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home Sweet Home

It has been far too long since I have blogged and I hope everyone is doing well. Things have been fantastic here and I’ve just been busy living life: Another testament to the fact that life goes on after immigration woes.

We moved again in February so I was without internet for a while as we got settled in. Yes. We moved again. This marks our 4th house here in Juarez and I was slightly embarrassed as our neighbors watched us packing up our things for the 3rd time in a year and I swear I heard someone yell, “pinche gypsies,” out their window. Maybe it was the wind. Regardless, this move was the right thing for us and I am so happy we did it. The last house was perfectly fine, but definitely not where I wanted to live until 2021. The parking was horrendous, the security situation was laughable, there was no room to entertain our friends, no storage space and no yard for the dogs.

We actually found the new house on accident. It’s in the same neighborhood but in a section where the lots are twice the size so we never really looked over here, assuming the houses were out of our price range. My husband was giving a friend a ride when he saw the Se Renta sign in front of the little red brick house that I now call home. We are both semi-obsessed with brick homes but don’t see a whole lot of that here in the stucco/concrete jungle that is Juarez. He drove me past the house the next morning, with no true intentions behind any of it. Oddly enough, when we pulled up a woman called out to us from a car parked across the street.

“I’ve been waiting for you!” she said as she motioned for us to come over to her. We both looked at each other in utter confusion, but for whatever reason we parked the car and got out without exchanging a word. It was like the damn house was pulling us in. We didn’t ask any questions as she showed us around but eventually it came out that she thought we were the couple from El Paso that were scheduled to view the house that morning. Luckily, they never showed up.

I instantly fell in love with this place. I tried not to. I tried really hard. Well, not that hard. I knew it would cost more than we were paying, and we were already struggling. And I was right. It’s $1,500 pesos more than we were paying, but I was in love. What’s a girl to do? I crunched the numbers as soon as we got home and found a solution. We would have to cancel our cable service and our home phone, switch to a cheaper internet service, cut our cell phone minutes in half, cancel my UPS mailbox in El Paso and start getting my mail at work, put half as many pepperonis in my calzones, and voilà! $1,500. Can you feel the love?

When I am here I don’t even feel like I’m in Mexico. The fixtures and other details are beautifully done and not really what you would typically find in a home here. The kitchen is more than double the size of our previous homes. There is so much cabinet space that I even have 2 cupboards that are entirely empty, and I am that woman that has every kitchen gadget you can think of: multiple sizes of crock pots, George Foreman grills, griddles, a Cuisinart, different blenders, you name it. Hell, I have 2 coffee pots and we don’t even drink coffee. My gigantic tamale pots even fit inside one of the cabinets! For as much as I cook this kitchen has literally changed my life. There is also an island that looks out to the living room so we actually have a place to eat other than the coffee table.

Let’s be honest though… The island is mainly used to throw crap on. At the other house it was the stairs, which drove me insane. This works much better.

The house has wood floors throughout except for the kitchen and bathrooms which are tile. Yes, I said bathrooms. Plural. There is a half bath on the first floor and sometimes we like to pee at the same time just because we can. We have never had more than one bathroom, even when we lived in the US. The windows and doors are also framed with wood and have a very rustic look. It brings this color and warmth and richness that we never thought we would find in a home here. But I’m telling you, with all this wood, this house is a termite’s wet dream. That does make me nervous although I never hear people talking about termites here, or see pest control companies for that matter, so maybe it’s not a huge issue?

There is a laundry room off of the kitchen which is really awesome after spending the last year and a half washing our clothes outside or in dilapidated, poorly covered patios. The stairway is nice and wide, and not steep at all. This is also a huge contrast from the narrow death traps we had at our last 2 rentals. I swear I always knew that if I were to die in Juarez, it wouldn’t be because a cartel member chopped my head off for having blonde eyebrows but because I had one too many and plummeted down the stairs.

The staircase leads to a loft that has built-in bookshelves, a desk and even more storage space. I had all intentions of making this area my office, but as you can see, I’ve set up shop on the kitchen island and am feeling pretty comfy down here. I mostly go up there to read.

The two bedrooms are a nice size and the gigantic closets distract from the weird paint on the walls.

We have been pretty lazy about painting our bedroom because let’s be honest, we don’t spend a lot of time in there with the lights on! Everyone assumed we’d have it painted right away but… eh.

The best part about the house is the outdoor space. We finally have a gated area to park our car, and nice back patio to grill on, and grass. Real grass! I think the yard is as exciting to us as it is to the dogs. They even have a doggie door now and can come and go as they please. It is so nice to be able to have friends over to cook out, and not have to get up from our lawn chairs every 5 seconds to move someone’s car so that a neighbor can get out. Our last two houses were on the end of a dead end street and the lots were narrower than the length of most cars. That combined with the fact that each house seemed to have about 3 cars parked on the street caused some serious headaches.

We also have an actual security guard and keyed entry to the neighborhood. By “actual,” I mean that he’s not 80 years old, doesn’t spend his day making trips to Bip Bip to pick up milk for my neighbors, and doesn’t drink Tecates until he passes out around noon at the front gate. Win. This house is also equipped with an alarm system, motion detectors and all, which is another added comfort considering we are at work a good 13 hours a day.

So yes, maybe I am completely nuts to have moved this many times and was so embarrassed we didn’t even ask our friends to help this time around, but it was totally worth it. We lost about $15,000 pesos in deposits in the search, but I know this one’s a keeper. We actually fully unpacked for the first time since we left Arizona. I feel so blessed that we found what we've always wanted and hope that this blog didn't bore everyone. I just wanted to share that it is possible to find a place to proudly call home even if it isn't in The United States. I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that this will be our home for the rest of the time we are in Juarez.

Did I mention one of the bathrooms has a toilet paper roll holder? #firstworldfeliz


  1. Now if I could find a huse like that but, with one more bedroom, I would stay here!!! Congratulations on your new house!! I am JEALOUS!!! I miss having a kitchen that size!!

  2. Sounds like the house was "meant" to be yours! I love it. What gorgeous floors and OMG! look at that door!

  3. Congratulations Emily, the house is gorgeous. From your pics I would never guess that it was in Mexico.

  4. It looks like a really nice place. Congrats!! First of all you have a closet and wow its huge. Love all the details of the house. Im really happy for you guys.

  5. Nice, for sure. Happy and crisp digs.

    Now...NOT nice...the size of your font. Puleeze....a touch bigger?

  6. Wow. The house looks gorgeous. You guys really lucked out. :D Love it.