Tag Archives: my place

Home Sweet Home #sol18

Since moving abroad in 2010, I’ve lived in 7 different homes- four apartments in Shanghai, an apartment in Albania, a studio apartment in Bangkok, and now a house in Jakarta. Each one has special memories for me, but I didn’t love all of them. My first apartment in Shanghai had its issues and wasn’t my favorite, and my studio apartment in Bangkok was so tiny. However, all of the others had things I loved about them. Despite this, they all pale in comparison to my new place in Jakarta. For the first time since moving abroad, I finally feel like I’ve built a home here.

Every other place I’ve lived in has come fully furnished, which is nice in that I didn’t have to buy furniture, but it meant I had to fit my style with the style of the apartment, which wasn’t always easy. I mean, you can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day, it’s still a pig, am I right? When I moved into my house in Jakarta, I was provided with minimal furniture, which was daunting (and costly) at first, but the opportunity to make it my own has meant that it truly reflects me and my style.

I moved to Jakarta in mid-July, and while I slowly made a few purchases as I found pieces I loved, navigating the shopping choices in a new country was tricky and, at times, frustrating. I was so blessed when my Aunt Alva and Uncle David came to visit in September, with the main purpose to help me with decorating my home. My aunt has a really great eye for it, and they were a huge help! Don’t worry, it wasn’t all work; we had lots of fun along the way, too. The space they helped me create is inviting, bright, colorful, and warm- just the vibe I was going for!

Come on in, I’ll take you on a virtual tour.

First off, I love the grounds of my complex. When you enter, the noise, traffic, and general dirtiness of Jakarta melt away. In fact, the lush environment is more reminiscent of Bali than Jakarta, and it brings a calming and peaceful feeling. I simply love sitting by the pond to do some work, and I love swimming in the pool (when it’s not too cold…brrr!).

IMG_4284IMG_4285IMG_4286IMG_4288

Here’s the outside of my house. To the left of all the greenery is a staircase up to the entrance. There’s also an entrance on the ground floor.

My favorite room in my house has to be the living room/dining room/kitchen. No contest. I absolutely love the floor to ceiling windows that bring the outside in. Surrounded by greenery makes me happy, and the 100 year old tree out my window is the best! As a traveler, I love to collect pieces of art from around the world. I love that my home is a reflection of my travels and my personality- bright and colorful!

Having a proper kitchen also makes it much easier to cook and entertain, which brings me joy. All of the teak wood furniture and the hardwood floors brings a warmth and is very Indonesian. I had fun finding just the right pieces to work in the space. Anyone who knows me knows I love real plants, which is why I have loads in here. They just bring so much life to the space!

IMG_0293IMG_0295IMG_0291IMG_0292IMG_0299IMG_0301IMG_0290

My house is on two levels. The top level houses the living room, master bedroom and ensuite bathroom, one guest room, and one guest bathroom. The lower level has two additional guest rooms, another guest bathroom, maid’s quarters (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen), and a few outdoor spaces. I have only really decorated the top floor, as that’s the floor I live on. I’ll get to the bottom floor in time, but for now, it’s pretty basic.

I am so happy with the way the guest room turned out! My vision of a Moroccan-themed room came together very nicely. Having made a trip to Morocco in 2015, I used the art and wedding blanket I bought there, had a few of my photos I took put on canvases, and used lots of blues and whites to create a tranquil space for my guests. So far, everyone who’s stayed has loved it!

The built-in bookcases in the hallway houses many photos and trinkets I’ve collected on my travels. I also have lots of room to add more!

Now onto my room. First off, my room is unnecessarily huge. At first, I was unsure how to fill the space. Aunt Alva had some really great ideas, and it doesn’t feel as cavernous now. My favorite thing has to be the windows (again) that let in lots of natural light and the beautiful greenery outside. I love listening to and watching the rain out those windows. I also really love the bathroom with it’s beautiful bathtub, large shower, and ample storage space for all my stuff. My room has a Myanmar theme, as I’ve used art and photos from my two trips there. My favorite photo I’ve ever taken hangs above my bed. It’s of a fisherman on Inle Lake at sunset. I absolutely love Myanmar, so having my room remind me of it makes me happy!

Thanks for coming on the tour with me! I love to host guests, so if you ever find yourself in Jakarta let me know. Hotel Jennifer is always open! 🙂

Putting Some Zen On It #sol16 29 of 31

I went to IKEA a few weeks ago, and ever since, I’ve been itching to put all my stuff away and organize my apartment. Since I’ve been out of the country the past three weekends, I simply haven’t had the time. Once I got home yesterday, I started on my room. Tonight I picked up where I left off, finishing up my room and the living room.

IMG_8041

IMG_8045

I was pretty happy with my place before, but now it’s got my stamp on it. I feel so zen and peaceful in my room now. For one thing, plants bring life and vibrancy into what was once dull and lifeless. I just love how a place can be spruced up simply by adding some green plants! Before the transformation, I had these heavy, ornate, large lamps on my bedside tables. The light they gave off was harsh and too bright. My new lamps give off a warm glow, and make it feel so much more of home-y. I’m big on lighting! I organized my drawers, throwing out a bunch of junk and putting everything in the right place. Now my bedside tables are no longer cluttered, and are able to hold some art and plants, and my writer’s notebook, of course. I love hanging out in here now!

IMG_8044

IMG_8042

IMG_8048

I made a few minor changes to the living room. I swapped the old floor lamp for softer lighting. The previous one flickered every time you turned it on, and was very distracting. I also added some new artwork and pictures that I had recently bought. Plants and candles complete the transformation, making it more like home.

IMG_8052

IMG_8049

IMG_8053

IMG_8054

I can’t wait to finish the rest of the house! I want to reorganize the bathroom with all of my cute new baskets and bins that I picked up. My kitchen is in serious need of some reorganization, too. I plan on clearing out all the unused dishes cluttering my cabinets, which will make it easier to find what I want. Lastly, I can’t wait to finish organizing my guest room, making it more colorful and inviting. This weekend should be the perfect time to get it all done. I am in town this weekend, and I’m so happy to stay put!

A Glimpse of My Place #sol16 3 of 31

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

You know how Facebook has those reminders of ‘things that happened on this day’? They’re always fun to look at and let you take a little stroll down memory lane. Today’s inspiration comes from a Facebook memory. I was reminded that 2 years in a row I wrote about my apartments in Shanghai for my third slice of life, so I figured, why not write about my place in Albania for slice number three?

Prior to moving to Albania, my school sent us some pictures of several apartments to choose from, but we were also given the option of waiting until we arrived to find a place, but places would be on a first-come, first-served basis. Most of the options were not great in my opinion, so I was nervous about waiting to look for a place until I came for fear that there would be even fewer options available. One place seemed like it would work, so I timidly accepted it. I was cautious because if we claimed a place before arriving and didn’t like it when we looked at it, we couldn’t change our minds.

All my fears were assuaged when I arrived on that hot, sticky day in August. My landlords met me at my new place at 10:00pm, after my delayed flight, and showed me around my flat. I fell in love with my landlords straight away, since they were so welcoming and sweet. I quickly fell in love with my place, too, as it definitely looked better in person than it did in the pictures. The first thing that I noticed was just how big it was! It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom flat that’s 1700 square feet…and I live alone! All of my apartments in Shanghai were much smaller, and double the price. I also loved that it was furnished, and I mean fully furnished! The kitchen was stocked with all the dishes, pots and pans, and serving dishes I could ever need. All the beds (4) had two sets of bedding each and loads of blankets. I even had lots of rugs to use on marble floor when the cold winter arrived. This was a completely foreign concept to me as an expat, as I’m used to dropping a lot of money in the first month buying all the essentials I need. The thing I love most about my place is that it feels like home. It’s comfortable, and I’m able to host parties and gatherings with large numbers of people, which is something I value very much.

It looks a little differently today, as I’ve added my personal touches, but here are the pictures from when I first moved in. Take a tour of my place with me…

IMG_3032From the front door looking in

IMG_3041
The living and dining rooms

IMG_3045
Another view of the living room

IMG_3043
The kitchen…notice the dishwasher?!? I haven’t had one of these in 5 years!

IMG_3049
The balcony…now much more inviting, as it’s filled with plants 🙂

IMG_3056
My bedroom…the dark picture has since been replaced with a map of the world 🙂

IMG_3055
Another view of my bedroom…the furniture is a little over the top, don’t you think? 😉

IMG_3035
My bathroom…yep, that’s a bidet! I use it to wash my feet. hehe

IMG_3036
My ‘spaceship’ shower…seriously this thing is amazing! It lights up, plays music, has jets in the tub and on the side, has a rain shower, and apparently has the capability of taking phone calls, but I’ve yet to try out that feature! 🙂

IMG_3037
I have a washer AND a dryer…something almost completely unheard of! While I still hang my clothes most of the time, it’s nice to have for those cold, wet, dark days of winter.

IMG_3040
Guest room #1, bed #1

IMG_3039
Guest room #1, bed #2

IMG_3047
Guest room #2

IMG_3034
Guest bathroom

IMG_3050
View from my bedroom

IMG_3053
View from the kitchen

Thanks for taking a tour of my place…hope you enjoyed it! I have plenty of room if you ever fancy a visit to Tirana, Albania!

 

My Happy Place- SOL #3

 

IMG_4999

When things are tough and it’s hard to keep going, it’s good to have a happy place, a place where you can find peace. For me, that’s my apartment. I love my little haven, away from the noise, away from the pollution, away from the stuff that brings me down. At home, it’s just the way I like it.

IMG_5009

IMG_4978

My apartment is comfortable. It’s large enough to not feel cramped, but small enough to be cozy and warm. I finally have a couch that’s comfy and large enough to seat many people (game nights!). I have space to display my artifacts that I collect on my travels without it looking cluttered. When I look at these sculptures, paintings, and creative pieces, I’m reminded that I lead a very blessed life. I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do- travel the world!

IMG_4971

IMG_4983

My kitchen, although small, is just right for me. I have everything I need to cook and have even made enough food to serve over 20 people in my tiny kitchen. It’s (nearly) always clean, thanks to my wonderful ayi who comes 4 days a week to keep me organized. I told you I had a blessed life! I love my tea station, where I have a wide variety of tea to choose from. A cuppa tea in the evening is all I need to chill. Well, that and a good book or an episode of Scandal (my recent obsession- thanks Michelle!).

IMG_4963

IMG_4966

Having an extra bedroom means room for guests, a desk to do my work (although I tend to work on the couch lately), and more closet space (I have way too many clothes!). I love having a second bedroom, as it helps me not to feel cramped.

IMG_5006

I love having fresh flowers and plants in my house- it brings life and a touch of green. Plants make me smile, and I’m proud to say that I have kept almost all of my plants alive since moving in last August. This is a huge accomplishment for me! 🙂

IMG_5003

IMG_5004

Lastly, I love my bedroom! It’s such a comforting place, where I am surrounded by plants, artwork, and pictures I love. I love my window seat and view of Shanghai. I love my comfortable bed- thank you IKEA mattress pad! I love my art wall. I love that I go to bed and wake up each day looking at my OLW from last year- Balance (thanks Andrew for the art!). It’s a daily reminder to live a balanced life. I certainly need that reminder more lately.

I love that when I’ve had a tough day, when the world has beaten me down, I can come home and be surrounded by things I love that make me happy.

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h