Thursday, January 25, 2018

Spanish Life {Spain Houses}

I know I have written about our household appliances (and how they are different from ones in the states) and I have also shown you our house when we first moved in.... but I thought it was time to update you on a few things, especially after our highly entertaining electrical events in November!

I think after almost two years here, we have finally figured out the quirks/differences in our appliances and how best to use them.  I think I have finally figured out how to use our Spanish oven -- it heats up VERY different from an oven in the states and requires some patience in cooking or baking.  It often means I am sitting in front of the oven changing temperature, settings and rotating things so they get cooked or baked correctly.  I recently made a cheesecake and it was a lesson in patience for sure!  But it turned out wonderfully and I was very proud of myself (and also really surprised).  And that is just the oven (learning how to use the washer and dryer took some time too!).

Now on to the actual house....  All the walls are all concrete and brick.  This makes it slightly challenging to hang things.  In fact we put up new lights fixtures in the basement and we have yet to figure out how to get one part of each fixture to stay in the ceiling.... so we currently have duct tape holding part of our fixtures up :)  Not the best looking way, but it works. 

The houses are typically all tile for floors -- no such thing as carpet.  Nice and cool in the summer, but absolutely freezing in the winter.  We all wear slippers or socks in the house, especially first thing in the morning when the floor is ice cold!  And because of the concrete walls, the houses get so so cold in the winter, so cold.  However, we also have high humidity year round so we have to worry about mold, which means we need to air out our houses, especially in the winter.  I typically open all the bedroom windows in the morning and we have three (yes THREE) dehumidifiers running almost constantly.  We keep our basement windows open year round unless we have a storm.  I accidentally left them open last spring when we had hurricane force winds and we ended up with sand all over the basement floor -- ugh!  Lesson learned.

The patios/driveways (balconies too) are also most often tile/concrete so many people literally mop their patios.  In fact, we have a separate mop specifically for outdoor use.  And given that we get some nasty storms -- bringing in lots of rain and sand (resulting in mud), the outdoor mop comes in handy!  I laugh every single time I mop our patios, yet I am still embracing this Spanish way of life.

And then our house (and many others in Spain) are strung together electrically like Christmas lights... one thing goes out and EVERYTHING goes out.  Our power goes out frequently and it can be anything from a random power outage to something tripped a breaker, especially if we have too many appliances going at once....  I have never used a breaker box more often in my entire life than since we moved to Spain!

We had an interesting week right before Thanksgiving when our outlets (but only in certain rooms) and our lights kept going out.  So the outlets in our office, living room, basement and half our kitchen would go out -- and we couldn't figure out why.  The washer would work, but not the dryer and they are right next to each other.  Turned out we had a bad outlet in the basement that caused everything to trip and go out....  But then it kept happening, so the wonderful electrician came again and discovered it was our solar panel that was causing everything to go out.  So for about 48 hours we didn't have hot water until someone came and fixed our solar panel.  But at least we had power!  And while frustrating, we literally just had to laugh (and I learned a lot of Spanish words pertaining to electrical issues).  And our story is one of many -- almost every single person here has a similar story.  

And make sure that when you have issues with your house, it isn't on a weekend -- nothing happens on the weekend!   There will be no one to come fix whatever is wrong until Monday.  We (more) recently had yet another issue with our solar panel and hot water and sadly, it broke on a Friday afternoon so we were without hot water for the whole weekend until Monday came around -- thank goodness for friends who are willing to let us steal their hot water!

So while all of this can cause me to scream at times, it is just a quirk that comes with living in a foreign country and we still absolutely love it here in Spain.  We have a wonderful (WONDERFUL) landlord who will bend over backwards to make sure things are working properly in our house and that does make all the difference!  And overall, we seriously love our house and are very happy we went with the one we did.

And the nothing to do with the house... but the Peanut loves to bake (probably why I have finally figured out our oven) -- so here she is making brownies with her MamMam (my mom)!

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