Our new home is located in one of the buildings that makes up the Pearl Complex. ISM provides our housing and hosts their teachers in two different buildings, Pearl and Diamond. They are about a 20 minute taxi ride apart (depending on the traffic of course). Almost all of the new teachers are in Diamond because they have more apartments there, it is the more modern of the two buildings. We, however, were given an apartment in Pearl because they are the only of the two that accepts dogs and we were originally planning on bringing Ms. Ellie May. Pearl is where all of the teachers with families live. It works out nicely because Kim has made friends with Sharon, one of the other "trailing spouses" in the building and they enjoy going on adventures together.
The Pearl Complex has 5 or 6 buildings with a few levels of shops and restaurants on the first few floors and condominiums (apartments) above. Given the option to change to an apartment at Diamond, the neighborhood and close vicinity to food and stores were one of the main reasons we decided to stay put. There is a chandelier store, a pharmacy, a few restaurants with mini-plastic furniture spilling out into the street, a Samson electronics store, a Korean version of McDonalds, a fancy French bakery, a fancy european soaps and fragrance shop, and so many more. Here are some of the places we frequent:
Asia Light, a small grocery store where we get food and household goods
The Golden Pearl, a simple restaurant with very low prices that delivers right to our door (when we can get our phone to work to order)
The Yangon Bakehouse, a pricy but delicious bakery with fantastic bread and quiche
The Indonesian Restaurant, okay - that is not really it's name but it is packed full with Indonesian fair, nice, clean, tasty food at a medium price
The Money Exchange, just as it sounds - where we go to exchange our USDollars to Kyats
Pa Pa's Pizza, medium priced, thin crust only, fresh pizza served with a side of blaring techno music
Another nice perks to Pearl is the workout room and the pool! They call it a gym, but to me it is a workout room as it is pretty limited with equipment - on the bright side it almost never has people in it, so the one piece of each workout equipment is enough to go around most of the time. It has a treadmill, a bike, a few weights, and one of those all-in-one weight machines. The pool has been closed for a couple month, I was told that it is closed during rainy season, but it is opening tomorrow! It is not super fancy but it looks decent enough to me. The water is clean and cool and the surroundings are nice. The pool itself is located on the top level of one of the Pearl buildings which means that it is an open air environment. The floor below the pool also has a pool hall - we haven't been yet but hope to go check it out soon
Our apartment is on the second floor of building E (it is actually the third level but all of the buildings here go by the european way of naming the first floor "ground level"). We have a two bedroom apartment with two bathrooms, a living room, and a "eat-in" kitchen. I am especially fond of the high ceilings with moldings, the great lighting, and the "windows" between the rooms. Kim is very happy to have an air conditioner in each room. Our apartment came furnished so we have a full set for the living room including a small couch and chair, a coffee table, an entertainment stand, a small TV and a phone.
Both bedrooms have a queen size bed with sheets, pillows, and blankets - these get changed once a week from housekeeping. We also each have a bureau for our clothing and one night side table.
One bathroom is off of the kitchen and one is off of one of the bedrooms. Each bathroom has an open shower - this means that it is not inclosed at all, the water drains into the corner of the room. The showers have an instant hot water heater which works fairly well, I wouldn't mind it being a bit hotter but it's alright. There is also a bidet with each toilette - very European.
Lastly, the kitchen! We have a small fridge, not a mini one but about 4 feet tall. We were concerned about it not being big enough at first (we usually have a very full fridge) but it has been working out just fine so far. We have the usual sink, cupboards, countertop, vent, etc. What we don't have is an oven or a stove. We do have a gas range with two burners - originally we had an electric range but Kim sweet-talked the office ladies and got herself a gas one. We were also supplied with a microwave and a rice-cooker. A handful of cooking utensils were also supplied (2 knifes, a spatula, and a ladle).
As I mentioned, it is an eat-in-kitchen meaning that the dining table is placed in the kitchen. It is a really nice table that has sleeves to pullout to accommodate more people. We also have a set of four chairs as well as four plates, bowls, mini bowls, cups, teacups, saucers, forks, spoons, mini forks, mini spoons, and Chinese spoon.
I knew it would be hard to make such a foreign place feel like home, so before we left I printed off about a hundred different photos for us to take with us. We were able to create multiple photo collages around the apartment which quickly became our favorite feature.
So that is it! Our home away from home! Hope you enjoyed to tour!
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world