Wednesday, May 20, 2009

houses, part 2

House #6 is actually not a house at all but dorm rooms in Polston Hall at Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN. Years one and two were on second floor, 3rd year on first floor, and 4th year back on second. The door swings open and the first thing that catches your eye is the HUGE chest of drawers backed against a long desk with bookcase that divides the room in two. There's just enough space to pull out a chair and sit down before you hit the beds that line the wall. The beds were like day beds, but with a big covered shelf (covered with either 70's green or red vinyl, no less). To sleep you pulled the mattress out from under the shelf (like you'd pull out a sofa bed) and you'd have a twin-sized mattress. Each side has a closet with sliding wooden veneers for doors. The far side of the room had the air condition/heating unit and only window; the side near the door had the bars for hanging towels. Between this area was the bathroom door, which also connected you to another room. You could fit three people in their at one time (one in the shower, one on the toilet, and another at the sink) but if you tried to squeeze a fourth you were sardines. Let's just say I benefited greatly from growing up in a large family having to share a room with sisters. Girls from homes where they had their own rooms growing up really had a tough time adjusting.

House #7: Summer of 1993. This was actually a 6 week stint in Ivory Coast, West Africa as part of my missions degree. Ten boys and four girls joined our missions professor and lived in a house. Our bed frames were cement blocks holding a wooden board, followed by a twin size mattress. We actually paid for our bedding, and they were donated to the Bible Institute there after we left. The only hot water was what we boiled, and thankfully we did have a fan in our room, which the four of us girls shared. The weekends we traveled we stayed with various missionaries, including one place with no electricity. We got to visit adobe (mud brick) houses and straw huts, but thankfully we didn't stay in either one.

Note there's no such thing as home improvement loans (you do what you can as you can - the roof); the rain barrels was the "convenient" source of water, and the berries drying on the door step was their pantry I guess you could say.

Down the road from our "house" where we bought our daily bread and other grocery items as needed.

Straw huts require rethatching with fresh straw every three-five years. Notice the yard broom propped up against the house. Cooking would be done outside, as would most activities.

In many ways I'm thankful for this summer. It made rural China seem modern compared to this, and also made me appreciate (and saddened) at just how rich and spoiled I really am.

House #8 was actually the basement of an elderly Church of Christ lady who rented to FWBBC students. Jobs were scarce in my hometown, and Nashville not only abounded in jobs, but they paid a whole lot better as well. So for the summer of '94 I joined two other girls in renting this one bedroom space, again with 70's lime green and red. We rotated sleeping positions every two weeks between sharing the double bed and the couch. Between 40 hours a week at Taco Bell and 16-20 hours a week babysitting, I not only earned enough to pay basic living costs but also covered 1/2 off the next semester's upcoming school bill. More importantly, I had my first taste of independence and found it EXTREMELY hard to return to the dorm that fall. My senior year was probably the hardest of dorm living. I so missed having my own tiny kitchen and being able to invite friends from church over for a meal. And the place was so tiny there was almost no housework!

Summer of 1995: Houses 9, 10, and 11 - After graduation in May, I loaded up my little red Ford and headed back to Sweet Home Alabama, only to pack up Mom and Dad from the Cordova parsonage and help them move to Orangeburg, South Carolina. The mission church plant there helped provide them with a rented house. The month I was there we never fully unpacked. All I can say about that house is that it was white, one street over from a rough neighborhood, and had tons of bookcases in "my bedroom." The week of my departure to California for China training, I helped Mom and Dad move into another house which they bought. My last view of that house that summer was pulling up carpet and staples from the hardwood floors. From there I went to living out of a suitcase in a dorm room for three weeks, followed by the week long trip of getting to Yinchuan, Ningxia where I shared an apartment with a teammate for the year. I guess I could say 1995 was the year I lived out of boxes and suitcases.


Jennifer said...

Your life is one big adventure, Monica! I love reading all of this!!

Monica said...

Adventurous isn't exactly what I'd call my life. A constant flux of motion and emotions, but I think my family would describe me a little on the boring side.

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

House #7- reminds me of a period in MY life. Thanks for the memories:)

Jennifer said...

I would hardly call the boring....and each day I learn more things about you!