Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our First Apartment

Here's a brief overview of our apartment shortly after we moved in.  We've done a tiny bit of rearranging since then, but it's minor.

The downstairs consists of a laundry closet, second bathroom, two front hall closets, a pantry/storage area next to the kitchen, a small kitchen, dining area, and a living area.

A view from our living room.  I know the kitchen wall looks like it's got a shadow on it, but really that because they randomly changed paint color going from the dining area to the kitchen.  At least it's a straight line, that's better than some of the other painting jobs I've seen in our apartment and around campus.

From the bottom of the stairs.  The back door leads to a small patio area with a table and two chairs.  And construction in our "backyard."  We don't really have a yard, from the patio it goes straight out to a stone paved road that connects all of the apartment areas.

Our dining area.  These silly chairs don't fit under the table, but they sure do look nice!

Overhead view of the dining area.  It's a bit strange staring at yourself in the mirror while you eat, but I find myself sitting there all the time eating. (Does that make me a narcissist?)

Our kitchen.  Again the chairs weren't planned very well.  You don't actually fit under the counter if you sit on them.  Or they didn't expect students with thighs to be at their university?

Upstairs is our bedroom with two gloriously sized closets, a bathroom with shower and tub, and a small office/study area. The study overlooks the living room which is open to the second floor.

The bedroom.  We ended up going out to buy pillow cases and a fitted sheet from IKEA (yay) in Jeddah because the pillowcases they gave us were decorative and not comfortable to sleep on.  The bed didn't have a fitted sheet, just a top sheet tucked in at the corners.  Let me tell you how annoying that is.  I toss and turn a fair amount, and remaking the bed every day when the bottom sheet comes untucked was not on my list of priorities in life!

The bedroom opens to a small balcony, which unfortunately doesn't have a chair or anything on it, so we haven't really used it much so far.

One of our two closets.  The double doors are a full hanging closet and the single door has 4 pull out drawers and three shelves.  We also have the nightstands which each have two drawers, a four door dresser, and a TV stand that has two shelves and two cabinets.  Copious amount of storage space was built into this place.  It's spoiling us I'm sure.  The only exception might be the kitchen which sometimes feel short on space.

Our bathroom.  Not a lot going on here, as it's a pretty typical bathroom.

The shower is pretty nice and the water doesn't leak out of the bottom of the door too much!

The study area is really nice since the desk is huge.  There's a bookshelf against the wall that you can just barely see in this picture.  Unfortunately, they continued with the chair fail.  You can't sit in the chair and scoot under the desk, but it's still been a nice place to work.

This little sofa is great for sitting and reading or napping; we've had a lot of practice with both!

The view overlooking the living room.  This makes the living room feel a lot bigger and gives both levels much more natural light.  We lucked out and are the last unit in the building so we get 4 extra windows!

Getting settled into our apartment was really pretty easy, but maybe next time we'll tell you about some of the maintenance issues we had when we first arrived.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hello everyone!

Now that we have the time and the sanity to write, we'll tell you what we have been up to.

The flight over was very very long, 14+ hours in the air was bad enough, and the crying babies made it even more exhausting. Our layovers were a bit long, and the Abu Dhabi airport was quite a bit too cold (about 60F, thanks for the blanket mom). We snagged some seats near one of the very, very few outlets and just camped out on our computers - but no free internet. It seems free internet at airports is becoming harder and harder to find these days.

After landing in Jeddah, we took the shuttle from the airplane to the arrivals gate and met a representative from the university there. There were two other students on the same flight, so we kind of stayed together for a bit while our contact got customs ready for us. Our contact sort of helped us through the long process of getting into the country. We had our fingerprints and our pictures taken, and our passports stamped. It turns out they actually used those pictures for our residence cards, and since it was after almost a full day of travel and it was about 3am, they are easily some of the worst pictures we've ever taken. Some of the locals trying to get through customs were annoyed that we were taken to the front of the line, but it wasn't too bad. It did seem to take a long time to get all four of us through, as the guy at the counter seemed to try and multi task whenever someone else would come speak to him. We finally picked up our checked bags from the biggest luggage carousel we've probably ever seen. It was quite difficult to navigate with our luggage, the airport was almost packed full, even more so than an average airport. This is mostly because of the large number of people traveling through the airport during the Hajj season. The airport isn't very big to begin with either. A car was waiting for us outside, and I nearly fell asleep on the hour-long ride north to campus. I had been awake for nearly the whole trip; Abby had gotten maybe six hours of sleep on the plane.

Once on campus, we had to stop so that we could pick up our IDs at the dedicated ID building. Then we were taken one of the two hotels on campus and dumped in the lobby at about 5:00AM local time. The attendant at the desk called someone and told us just to wait in the lobby. About half an hour later, they brought us boxed lunches, which were better than nothing. An hour after that we tried to explain that Abby was the student and I was the dependent. It took a couple tries but they eventually understood. In a majority of cases, the dependent spouse is usually the wife, so they were surprised by our reversed situation. Sometime around 8:30AM someone finally showed up to take us to our apartment. We were brought to our apartment, and given a twenty second tour, and a contract to sign. The gentleman was in a bit of a hurry, and encouraged us to just sign it without reading it, because we would be given a copy that we could read at our leisure. I was tempted to say that if he could wait almost four hours to get us into the apartment, he could wait another thirty seconds to let us read the single page contract, but I didn't. One very helpful thing that he did do was to clearly point out the telephone number, 959, to call for maintenance.

I'll tell you more about maintenance in my next post.