05 December 2007

If You Came for Dinner

Since most of you will never be able to visit our flat, I thought we’d have you over for a “virtual dinner” so we can show you around and share our life and home with you. Enjoy and thanks for coming!

If you were to come to dinner at our house, you’d arrive at our building and press the second from top button with our last name on it. We’d pick up the phone in our entryway and ask who it was. When we found out it was you (our friends!) we’d press the unlock button and wait for you to make the 56 step trek up to see us. On the first few stairs you’d notice a couple piles of mail that is the community drop off point for the mail (Well, after the mailman drops all of it through the main door mail slot and someone in the building puts it on the steps--so much for not looking through other people’s mail! By now we'd be in jail in America!).

Then you’d take a deep breath and head for the first floor (which in America we’d call the second floor). By the third set of steps you might stop on the landing for a breather and look out the window to see our communal garden (which is more like a weed patch) where we hang our laundry out when it’s not too cold and not too rainy (more days than you might think, although when the laundry’s piling up, never enough days!).

Once you caught your breath you’d head up 3 more flights of stairs and knock on the door right in front of you. We would greet you and through your huffing and puffing you might ask (in reference to renting a flat on the 4th floor with no “lift” (elevator)), “Are you mad?!” We’d laugh and have you come in. You’d be in our little entryway/hallway.

Mark would take your coat (you would almost certainly have one, especially this time of year), hang it behind the door, and you’d come into the kitchen straight in front of the front door.

Maybe you’d notice it has a door on it...that's to keep the heat in (I love days when I get to turn the oven on because it isn't so cold to be in there cooking!) Maybe you’d notice how much cabinet space there is and our great big window to look out. Maybe we’d show you how our windows can open with a crack at the top (tilting towards us) or open all the way for lots of fresh air to come and how there are no screens so sometimes big flies come in. Or maybe you’d be amused with the washing machine being in the kitchen under the counter-top and with how small it is (it’s not amusing, however, when you can only fit 3 pairs of jeans in at a time!). And probably Rachel would proudly show off her “big” refrigerator/freezer that looks like the cabinets (very right of the picture--fridge on top, freezer on bottom), and tell you how grateful she is to have one bigger than most here in Scotland so she can store away her food in the freezer.

We’d show you into the living area and offer you a seat on either our modern leather couch or on one of the two chairs at our non-modern table since for now this all the seating we’d have.

Maybe you’d again notice the large windows that Rachel gets to open wide to take her sunset pictures out of (in the fall we had the best sunsets!) and understand why we enjoy the 4th floor because it is so open. Maybe you’d even get to see one of the many airplanes off in the distance(see right side of picture) that we often see (but thankfully don’t hear) as they approach for landing. Next maybe you’d comment on the cute little bookshelf nook.

It’s perfect for Mark’s books and other misc. items. And no doubt you'd notice the cute little Christmas tree we are borrowing from friends who are in the States for Christmas and didn't need theirs (thanks Rachel and Chris!). And maybe you’d note that there isn’t a TV. We’d say “No, there’s a high tax on having a TV and we’ve decided to do without. Instead, we are really enjoying reading (Rachel's on her 4th book), water color painting, scrapbooking, playing computer games, or playing Jenga or card games in the evenings, and once again watching "24" on DVD direct from Blockbuster in the mail" :)

To get the rest of the full tour we’d take you directly across the little hallway to see our bedroom. (And point out the bathroom on the right, making sure you knew that if you had to use it, the light is on the outside as no electricity except razor outlets is allowed in the actual “loo.” We’d also tell you sorry that there is no “mixed” water; the hot has its own tap and the cold too--makes for burning or freezing hands!)

Once again you’d see a spacious window that looks out over several other residential buildings, but in the distance you’d notice several old church steeples alongside high rises apartment

complexes. We’d tell you that we love being up high so we get the most sunlight possible and it’s not blocked by other buildings. It helps us not feel so closed in and we are grateful for our space J In the bedroom you might see one or two drying racks holding our clothes that are desperately trying to dry. We’d tell you that sometimes things take days to dry, especially, as you could imagine when it’s cold and there’s no central heating.

When it was actually time for dinner we'd drag everything into the living room and then, of course, after dinner we’d cart things back into the kitchen and if you were a lady you might offer to help wash some dishes. Rachel might ask if the “immerser” was on first. You’d say “The what?” (Which is exactly what we did the first time our neighbor told us about it when we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t have hot water any more). She’d say, “The immerser, it’s the switch behind the door (by the kitchen lights) with the light above it. It’s a hot water tank that is only turned on when needed so electricity isn’t wasted when it’s not being used.” She might also add, “It’s a great concept, but a pain when you forget to turn it on at least 20-30 minutes before you need it and don’t have any or very little hot water. Or when you want it first thing in the morning in the bathroom sink and it's rather cold!”

As the night wore on and it got colder we’d probably turn on the electric space heater we have. You’d notice how quickly it got toasty and how we’d make sure the door was closed to the living room. If you had to step out to another room you’d definitely notice how cold it was elsewhere in the flat and hurry back to the warm living room.

Parting for the night we’d discuss which bus line you need to take to get back to your guest house. Thankfully, several of the main lines stop two minutes from our front door so it's very convenient to get into town. We’d also let you know that although there is a little bit of graffiti down the road a couple doors, it really isn’t a rough neighborhood. We’d say that overall it’s pretty quiet and safe, and we are more definitely really enjoying life here in our new home. But we might also add that when our lease is up in March we are planning to move closer (hopefully) to the university since that is where we both go daily during the week. We also hope to find a place with gas heating :)

We hope that for some of you we can treat you to a real dinner (or more) and have you as guests in our home. We want to extend the invitation (for those of you that we know) that you are welcome to come and visit. Just let us know….our door is open!


Anonymous said...

Hi I love the visit to your home. Thanks for showing me around. I love the detailed tour. I especially love the scenery pictures. What a beautiful place!
love and miss you guys

Ronnica said...

Thanks for letting me "visit!"

We are Dustin and Jennie Harrell said...

That was so fun!! What a great idea. Your place is really nice, I am so impressed. That sunset was absolutely amazing too. Ya'll have done a great job decorating and making it look so homey. I have really enjoyed learning so much about Scotland from your blog. Keep it up! Jennie

Nicole Wilson said...

Rachel! So good!
that's such a great post!!!

now for the real thing

Greg and Adrienne said...

You have a neat looking place, I love the view! Maybe if we end up on the other side of the world next year we would be able to visit or you could visit us when you go on "holiday"...

Mark and Rachel said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments...I just found them :) Mark must have posted them (We have them on "moderate"). Anyways, glad all ya'll (I miss the south!) enjoyed the post. Can't take much credit for decorating since it was all here and we only bought the table and hung the 3 pics up. Since we will probably move we haven't done much to make it too much "ours." Have a good weekend!

Grammy933 said...

Rachel, you and Mark have a lovely place. I am so glad you like your new home. Uncle Bill and I just loved the pictures from your windows. WOW. That sure it easier to be so far away from family and old friends. God Bless you and have a very Merry Christmas.
Aunt Anita :)