We moved in!
We’re in! Just over a year in the making, we’ve just moved into our new villa! Excited and exhausted as it still feels more like a construction site than our home, but I’m happy to be in.
The last few weeks (months? years?) had been particularly stressful. I knew the deadline was coming and we’d need to be out of our last villa. We wanted to move directly into our new home rather than move somewhere else temporarily.
Moving may not have been such a big issue if we didn’t have all our own furniture and homewares to bring with us. While many expats in Bali rent homes that come fully-furnished, we had already furnished our old villa, so it all had to come too. This meant that we had a lot of stuff to pack and move.
It wasn’t ideal that our kids were on school holidays (ie not busy!) and our nanny had to rush back to Java for a family issue. Plus I’ve been at the build 12+ hours a day everyday, trying to ensure as much gets done as possible and the villa is liveable while we finish it off.
So it was left to hubby to pack up everything, and that he did. Not much culling of un-needed stuff was done, we just brought it all with us.
1 out of 3 ain’t bad?
Our villa has 3 buildings – a main residence, 2 offices and a photo studio. A few weeks ago, none of them was even close to complete. Eeek! So my goal in the last couple of weeks was to prioritise the residence and get that as finished as possible. Not easy when you’re relying on teams of workers who may or may not turn up on time, if at all. Frustrating to say the least!
It was touch and go right up the last day. We literally didn’t have all the doors and windows to the main residence installed until the day of the move! Basically, anyone could come in.
Our builders were building a big front gate to our driveway on the day of the move. We still don’t have a front door and have simply barricaded it shut with all the extra furniture. It ain’t pretty but it works.
The move itself was long but successful. Hubby set up at the old villa and led our team of 4 movers to load up their big truck. Then they’d drive over to me at the new villa and I’d direct them where to put everything. Repeat this many times. We started at 8am and finished 12 hours later. Fortunately, the rain held off for all but at 30 minutes.
One slight issue – 2 out of the 3 building are incomplete (no doors, floors not done etc etc) so we couldn’t actually place any of the stuff that will eventually go in those spaces in them. It all went in the main building with us. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes, next to stacked furniture. All sprinkled with a thick layer of dust from the ongoing works.
Not only that, but our 2 storage rooms (I’m a big fan of having lots of storage!) were also incomplete, so all the stuff that we planned to put in there has also been put in the main residence with us.
So we’re in… yay! But there’s still so much to be finished. There is not a single room that is actually finished. Progress will probably be slower now, as we’re in the way, but we needed to move in so we’ll just have to find a way to get it done.
It’s raining, it’s pouring
Meanwhile the rainy season has kicked in with a vengeance. Daily showers are the norm and they are intense. So far the house has held up pretty well. A few small leaks here and there but the villa seemed pretty watertight. However, that soon changed in an unexpected way.
We’d noticed that the floor tiles in a part of the kitchen were cold to the touch. They were right next to the fridge so we thought some ice could have melted and leaked when we put the fridge in place. Ah wishful thinking!
The spot of cold tiles slowly expanded and pretty soon it became clear that water was leaking from below the polished concrete tiles. That would be annoying at the very least, but the kicker was that both the builder and his plumber said the only pipes in this spot are below the slab. That’s a problem. Smashing the tiles, breaking all the way down through the underground waterproofing, to find and fix the broken tile and then repair everything and ensure it’s still waterproof did not seem either easy or quick. Nervous days…..
Amazingly, when we smashed through the tile, it turned out that there was a small pipe above the slab and what-do-you-know it had a small leak. Easily fixed and repaired. Finally, some good luck! Of course, it’s worrying that they didn’t know where the pipes were in that particular spot. But I’ll take that particular worry over broken pipes under the slab any day!
Since then, we’ve found another few small leaks in other places but so far so good. All have been easily found and fixed.
Finally, some savings!
All this rain has shown us that we probably don’t need the automatic outdoor screen that we had been planning on getting. We’d thought it would be necessary to block rain from getting in. Seems like it only gets through the open archway bricks of the feature wall when it’s super torrential and the wind is blowing in one direction.
It doesn’t rain for most of the year and when it does it’s unlikely to get in. We might just see if we can survive with a few towels to dry up any errant drops of rain. The best quote we had to install this giant automatic retractable screen was for a few thousand dollars, so I will be very thankful if I can save that money.
Amidst all this chaos, a little ray of sunshine wandered into our lives. Her name is Lucky, and she’s a gorgeous little Balinese street dog. Just a puppy, perhaps a couple of months old, she turned up on the build site after we moved in. Sweet and kind by nature, we could tell she had been mistreated previously. However, with a little love, she began to trust us. Pretty soon, she won my heart. She is pure exuberance, joie de vivre personified. Although we’d wanted a dog for a while, our nanny Umi is Muslim and doesn’t like to be touched by dogs. Umi is part of our family, so I simply didn’t go out of my way to adopt any of the many random street dogs and rescue dogs that I constantly see.
This time, I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t turn her away, so when my husband came downstairs one morning, and saw me holding her in my arms, I looked and him and said (in a tone that clearly meant this-issue-has-been-decided) “We’re keeping her”. And so we have. She’s a puppy, so there’s a bunch of things we have to teach her, but she’s so genuinely happy to have a family who loves her. Now it’s time to train her to not lick or annoy Umi.
She hasn’t been formally introduced to our 3 cats. They’ve met with glass between them. Lucky the puppy wants to make friends. The cats, well, not so much. I’m hoping they’ll create and Milo-and-Otis style friendship but if not, the villa is big enough for them to find their own spaces.
It’s been a big week for our son, Phoenix. He started “big school” this week. He’d been at the same kindy for a few years but it was time to go to school. Fortunately, his big sister goes to a gorgeous little home school and he already knows all the teachers and kids there. He’s lucky to have his big sis to show him the ropes!