Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cottage and stuff

I was tempted to put off uploading today's pics, but I know from experience that that way lies madness - or at least hundreds of unsorted photos.  It will be so much easier if I can just... keep... up...

When I got up today, it was sunny and already warming up a little, so I opened up the windows and took some photos of my little cottage.  It is located behind the school, a sort of groundskeeper's cottage.  There really is a groundskeeper, but he lives offsite.

The first photo is taken out the front window of the living room. ( The school, which is in the original mansion, is in the background.  It's a gorgeous building and property, and one of these days I'll photograph it so it can have an entry of its own here.)
The front door and the front window, through which I took the previous picture, now closed. Under the table is a box fan; there is also a tiny space heater in the cottage. 

The tiny living room with a small love seat and two mini chairs (miniature for my big self, anyway). 
Another view, showing the edge of the standing lamp which I can't figure out how to turn on; it seems to have no switch, unless it's inline on the cord (which is underneath and behind the loveseat).  In this view you can also see the windows.  The glass panes swing inward, and on the outside are shutters with metal screening and wooden slats which swing outward.  Outside the cottage are metal brackets with little sliders shaped like a man's head that you flip up to keep the shutters from blowing around.
This photo was taken with my back against the front door.  You can see the corner of the loveseat.  On the left is the door to the bathroom and on the right is the door to the bedroom.  The glass blocks let in the lovely morning light.
The bedroom has a full bed, two bedside tables, a huge wardrobe, and a bookshelf behind the door.
The grounds are really lush with tropical plants; apparently it rarely even frosts here.  The red plant is against the back fence of the property, through which I can see a swimming pool which I foresee my envying greatly come summertime.
There is a tiny patio on the side with two chairs on it.  Here you can see the three-door wardrobe a bit better.
Standing in the bedroom doorway, looking across at the bathroom doorway. 
A pretty little bathroom which is going to be a constant challenge to keep dry in this humidity.  This morning I opened an empty drawer beneath the sink and it was damp inside... not from leakage, but from the steam of the previous evening's shower.  Ew.
The only hot water in the house comes from this instant heating unit.  It doesn't have much power, so to get a hot shower I can only turn the tap on halfway, but the cold water is really cold so I'm quite grateful to have it!  In the summer I'll probably want cold showers, but NOT NOW.  The cottage has plaster walls so doesn't really warm up in winter, I hope this will keep it cooler in the summer too.
The bathroom window has two parts.  The glass paned part is on the outside, and the screened part on the inside.  Both are hinged at the top and swing out in opposite directions.
Red flowering tree as seen through the bathroom window while holding the screen open.  I was wanting to photograph the two little birds, but they were not cooperating much.  One showed me its rear end and the other stayed in the shadow.

The kitchen is about the same size as my kitchen in China, so I had to hold the camera sideways.  
The refrigerator is full sized but not new - one of its feet seems to be broken as it wobbles like crazy when I open it. The gas stove is brand new.
The little table could be pulled out to make a full round table, if I had space for it. There is a little square stool to sit on under it.
Here is a view out of the open kitchen window.  The little wrought iron table and chairs under the rose arbor will be lovely when the roses bloom - one or two are already opening.
I found this teensy weensy lizard by the desk, so I took him outside.  I hope he survives.
Went out today around town with the one foreign teacher who is continuing from the previous semester (the rest of us will all be new).  We went to the same buffet for lunch that I went to the other day.  Some really different foods.  In the middle is a small pumpkin stuffed with ground beef and cheese.  On top of that is a smily face made of deep fried mashed potatoes (I think).  The big brown thing is a battered, deep fried banana.  Clockwise from the banana: grain salad, mini tomato salad, celery salad with strawberries, a miniature pizza, some kind of croquette with meat, a mystery sausage, lasagna bolognese, baked carp, pineapple dusted with cinnamon, fresh mango, and steamed broccoli.  I ate all of this (yum) and didn't have room for dessert.
This is the Catholic church downtown.  The church was closed when we were there, although it was Sunday afternoon.  (Maybe it was during the time when businesses close for lunch here - similar to Spanish siesta, most businesses close between 12:00-1:30pm.)
They have somehow treated the stained glass windows so that the colored designs can be clearly seen from the outside in broad daylight.  Nice.

There was an old building beside the church, probably once connected with the church, which now has a modern building in front of it, creating a darkly shadowed alleyway which mostly hid the lovely statue there.  I had to stand precariously on a railing to take this picture over a wire fence, risking great bodily harm, but it was worth it to share Jesus-of-the-Alley.
This is the park in the town square.  People are gathering with their lawn chairs in droves.  They all sit facing the street and socialize with friends as they walk or drive by.  The same thing happens on the big avenue behind the school, which means nights can get very noisy as some of them have really loud "car parties" going on until the wee hours.
Proof that German heritage is alive and well here - Quark, a German dairy product which is kind of like the love child of ricotta and sour cream.  The packaging is all in Portuguese.

Lastly, a little anecdote about yesterday's trip to the supermarket.  After I had paid and put my wallet away, I looked up and the bagger had disappeared with my groceries.  I spotted him heading for the door and hurried to catch up with him as he exited the store.  He looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to show him my car. I rallied my fledgling Portuguese enough to blurt out, "Eu nao tenho carro!" ("I no have car!").  He smiled, said something which I assumed must have been about walking, and handed me my groceries.  I thanked him and was so proud of myself for actually making a semi-intelligible sentence!


  1. Hi Mary,
    The cottage looks great! The wood fixtures look luxurious from plastic California. Keep the pictures coming...
    -Rod C

  2. I agree, it is beautiful. I think the original house was built around the turn of the century, will have to find out the date this cottage was built. I feel very fortunate to have been placed in the cottage - the apartment in town may have more amenities, but this has such charm.

  3. It's a lovely little cottage; I hope it becomes more and more comfortable and homelike in the seasons to come. What an amazing challenge -- another foreign country, new language, new acquaintances, new circumstances and seasons and society to get used to! I admire your courage tremendously; constantly pushing the envelope of comfort, and constantly expanding your horizons will always keep you young.

    Love you, Mary. Drop me a line if you ever need a dose of old familiar (from another Old Slab).

  4. Hi Catherine, yep, lots of challenges. If they keep me young, then these gray hairs should be vanishing right... about... now...

    Nope. Rats.