Our apartment

We chose to live in faculty housing on the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, where I am spending my time as Fulbright Scholar and my sabbatical year.

The early morning sounds woke me today, our first morning in the apartment on the campus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). There were the sounds of many tropical (and thus unfamiliar) birds, the distant whistle of trains, and just a few neighborhood noises. Traffic, so noisy in Bangalore, was just a faint and distant hum,  I’ll take birds over traffic any day.  Once again, I decided that we had made the right choice.

We have apartment E8, at upper right.

I am extremely grateful to the IISc-ECE staff who have been helping to coordinate our housing on campus, and working with the housing staff to clean, repaint, and improve our apartment (when Andy and I arrived yesterday, they were replacing all the light fixtures).  Although the outside is not much to look at (photo above), we have a second-story space with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, a small kitchen and a comfortable living room.

The apartment is nice, but will take some adjustments on our part.  There are few electrical outlets – one per room, for the most part (tricky for me and my many gadgets!).  There are two showers, each with a water heater, but those are the only hot water.  Want to wash your hands? cold water. Shave? cold water. Wash dishes? cold water. Wash clothes? cold water. It’s a bit like camping: heating water to make some dish water, and brushing teeth using a cup and bottled water since we can’t trust the tap water.

On the other hand, the neighborhood is green and lush with tropical trees and flowers, children play in the parking lot, and I can walk to my office 100 yards away.  Want to see where we are?  Check it out on this Google Map.

We have ceiling fans but no A/C (or heat). The temperature this time of year is pleasant – highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s – and so we keep most windows cracked open to let in some air.  Yesterday, staff were repairing some of the screens – although it’s nice that the IISc campus is wooded, it means that there are more mosquitos than in other parts of the city.  Although malaria is not a big problem here, we still take some precautions. We purchased “Good Knight” devices – small nightlights that include a mosquito-repellant solution, and installed one in each bedroom.  We’re looking for some bed nets. 

Last night, the kids argued about which bedroom to use, and who gets what bed, but what else is new.  The mattresses are thin, but somehow the new sheets barely fit over them.  We have no blankets, so our first night was rather chilly.

We need to learn how to hire a housecleaner, who apparently is also the person who washes the laundry – there is a stone in the courtyard where they beat and scrub the clothes and then a clothesline for drying. We have a small washing machine, with a basin for washing and rinsing on the left and another basin for spinning on the right, a hose that connects to the sink and another that goes to the drain in the floor.  Awkward, but workable.

We have cable TV and telephone but we need to arrange Internet (DSL) next week.

We have a sizable porch, which would be nice if we had some plants or maybe a table and chairs.

Overall, it’s starting to feel like a home.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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