Saturday, October 04, 2008

Post #6: Making a House a Home

In chronicling our adventures of settling into life in Lyon, I thought I'd share a list of the very first things we purchased. For the first few weeks after our arrival, it seemed like all we did was buy things. (Shocking, I know, considering my utter distaste for shopping.) As much as I prefer to stay out of stores, however, there are some essentials that you simply can't do without when setting up house.

1. Paper towels, dish soap, and most importantly, toilet paper! I actually made this first trip to the drug store while Jason was having the final inspection of the apartment. I've learned from tough experience that it's very unpleasant to be in a new home without any TP. As a first-time European resident, Jason is now learning exactly how tough recycled TP can be.

2. Camembert, grapes, yogurt, dried sausage, nutella, jam, and of course, a great big baguette. This European "picnic" fare was our staple for the first week until we got hold of a stove.

3. A washing machine. So, on our way back from the drug store on day one, I found the local laundromat and about had a heart attack when I saw how much it costs to do a load of laundry. Given the fact that our daughters are almost as messy as they are cute, it didn't take long to figure out that we were going to spend a fortune on laundry. Thus, when we found a good deal on a used washing machine at Troc (the equivalent of Goodwill), we splurged. So far it's been fabulous. I love not having to haul the laundry up and down all the stairs, and I can still feel frugal and French as I hang socks up in the bathroom to air dry.

4. Towels, pillows, hangers, pots, pans, and a two-foot high step-stool from IKEA. The step-stool was a definite "must have" for me given all of the extremely high storage space. Even the very bottom of the kitchen cupboards are above eye level!

---Pause here to talk about all of the things that we did not buy, thanks to the generosity of some extremely kind and wonderful people from our local church congregation who have lent us appliances for the year. We are so appreciative to them for lending us a fridge, oven, stove, and crib.

So here's a picture of our fridge before someone took pity on us.

And here's a picture of our new Snoopy fridge. Pretty cool, huh! (No pun intended.)

5. A butane tank. The fabulous stove unit that we were given uses gas, but our apartment only has electric. Fortunately Jason came up with a great method for transporting the butane from the gas station.

6. A toddler bed, couch, and a full-size mattress. These purchases from Troc were highly appreciated and anticipated after a week of sleeping on the floor. Here are a couple photos of the girls asleep on the carpet "bed."

7. Last but not least, a kitchen table and chairs. In many ways, I think that this kitchen table and chairs are rather symbolic of our journey to France as a young family of four. Trying to get the table and chairs home was absolutely insane, involving a tram, metro, and the purchase of a small hand truck. All the way home we couldn't help but laugh at the sight of ourselves and think "nobody in their right mind would even try this.

Well, when it comes to uprooting an entire family and carting them all to another continent, only the slightly insane would even ponder it. Yet in the end, the result seems worth it. We love our table. Ironically enough, Jason just happened to mention a few minutes ago that he would be all about repurchasing the same IKEA table when we get home. Likewise, I hope that someday when we return back to the States we will be "all about" living abroad again.


Heather said...

Mark and I bought the exact same IKEA table as our first table! We splurged and for first anniversary bought ourselves a table! We were in IKEA just browsing, and the table was the special of the hour...we couln't beat $99 for a table and 4 chairs - only downside is that the wood is really soft, but it's moved to four homes so far! I love your Snoopy fridge - looks like you're really making it into your home!

Jessica Bybee said...

Wow! Way to go! Glad that you are doing so well. I admire your bravery and faith!

Tanja said...
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Kes LT said...

Dear Kara, we love your French reality show!!!