The four years I was at Wesleyan I had unbelievably good luck with housing and that luck has carried over to Vietnam! This past Saturday I went house hunting with three fellow LanguageCorps teachers: Rhona, Annie and Dana. Rhona is from the UK, Annie is from Maine and Dana is from Toronto. We had no clue what to expect going into the whole thing but it only took us three hours to find a beautiful house that was well within our price range. Finding a house for four people in HCMC is not too difficult and it is way cheaper to rent a house with a group of people than it is to rent an apartment by yourself.
We only looked at three houses on Saturday but I definitely noticed a difference in the way houses are designed here compared to houses in the U.S. In HCMC almost all of the houses are four or more stories and the staircase is the central point in the house. The staircases almost always wind around so there is a very open feel. Our staircase leads straight up to our terrace so when we slide the roof open to get to the terrace the entire house gets fresh air. The only thing you have to be careful about is remembering to close the roof because it rains a lot here and the entire house would flood if the roof happened to be open.
Our house came fully furnished and has 4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, lobby and terrace.
To get to our house you have to walk down a little alley that runs off of a big street. The area we are living in is definitely more residential than touristy. There are a few restaurants and cafes but our street has mostly shoe and clothing stores. So basically I’m going to starve to death but that will make me skinny and then I can buy a whole new set of clothes from the shops on my street. Hehehe.
So back to our house….when you walk in there is a couch and small area where you can sit and there is enough room that if/when we get bikes, we can park them inside the lobby. At the back of the ground floor is the kitchen. Here is a view of the kitchen from the 2nd floor. There is no oven but there are two burners and there’s a lot of counter space. There is also a table next to the kitchen so I can definitely see myself spending a lot of time down there.
The second floor is our living room. It feels like an Alice in Wonderland room because the ceiling is super low to the ground. Lightning, if you ever come visit there is no way you will be able to walk around this room.
The third and fourth floors each have 2 bedrooms equipped with full bathrooms. Here is a picture of my room. It gets a lot of sunlight during the day and the lighting at night is really nice as well because I have awesome light fixtures. I also have a decent sized balcony outside my room. I love my room and can’t wait to start decorating it!
The last part of our house is the terrace. It’s huge and can comfortably fit over 20 people. We are going to move a table up there so we can eat dinner and have drinks on the roof. There are a bunch of plants already but we are going to the market tomorrow and I want to see if we can find stuff to grow some spices and vegetables. This is the view from our terrace.
I can’t believe how lucky we were to find this house so quickly and be able to move in right away. It is also unbelievable how inexpensive housing is here. Each of us only pays a little under $200 USD a month to live here. Imagine what a place like this would cost in NYC! The house is by no means perfect, but I think it’s going to be a great home base for the time I’m going to be here. And if any of you want to come visit there is plenty of room for you to stay here with me!!!
So now I have a home but I’m still unemployed. We finished our training last week and now have our TESOL certifications. I’ll be spending most of this week decorating our house and sending my resume out to all the English and International schools in Saigon. Since my stomach problems went away I’ve been eating a lot of delicious food so be on the look out for a new food post in the next day or so. Until then, xin chao!