What do you see when you look out of your window? In my globetrotting expat life I end up having interesting views from many windows and I thought putting some pictures together might make a rather ecclectic collection. Let’s start with
No, I did not have too much wine with my lunch when I took this photo. I was only trying to be creative, for what it’s worth. It was taken a few years ago from the balcony of a tiny but marvelous little apartment in an ancient building in the centro storico, the historic center, of the town of Salerno. The view, I thought, was straight out of the movies and I kept waiting for Sofia Loren to come out onto one of the balconies and start yelling at somebody down below in the courtyard. Unfortunately she was otherwise engaged and did not show up.
However, I heard a cacophony of other sounds: televisions at high volume, a mother yelling basta! at her fighting bambini, the sounds of clanging pots and pans from the apartment above when la signora was cooking. And yes, I smelled the food and it smelled like . . . . Italy! With all the windows open because there was no airconditioning anywhere, the sounds and smells of life spilled out from all the apartments for our entertainment.
And no, I did not actually live my expat life there: My man and I were on vacation for a few weeks. I had found this place on the Internet and it was wonderful because it put us right smack in the middle of real Italian life with not a tourist to be found on any of the balconies.
The photo below might surprise you. I certainly had never expected a view like that in the Holy Land. Snow? You’re right, that’s what it is!
My mental images were those of desserts and heat and sand and dust, and yes, that’s all there too, but this was the view we found from our window one winter day in Ramallah where we lived for a year and a half. Ramallah lies on the crest of a mountain range and its elevation makes for a cooler climate than what you find down below in those biblical desserts of Samaria and Judeah and on the Israeli coast.
Our apartment was in a neighborhood high up on a hill and gave us this stunning view, but it also caught winds and breezes from everywhere which had some unfortunate effects as you can read in an earlier post, THE JOYS OF EXPAT HOUSING.
Behold an early spring view with tender green, pale peach blossoms and a sad-looking dwelling place. For six years we lived in Yerevan, Armenia in a lovely little house, very bright and light on the inside. This photo is the view from our front door, which was actually at the back of the house where we also had a garden. (You arrived from the street through a gate, up some stairs and around the back of the building.)
The neigborhood was a terraced affair, meaning it was built against a hill and the next street over was higher up. The view is of the back of a house on the next level up and it looks rather ramshackle but it’s possible that it’s nice and comfy inside. No way of telling. See the thick branches at the bottom of the picture? Our very own grape vines. Have a look at the same view in the summer:
With everything green the view is much better. We had lots of grapevines, and more grapes than we knew what to do with. No, we did not make our own wine, but I suppose we could have, just like all those expats in Tuscany and Provence.
The view from my African front door. We lived in Ghana, West Africa twice, the second time for almost four years. We had a modest house with a tropical garden full of exotic (to me) plants and trees. Everything grew abundantly, lovingly watered and tended by our gardener, not me. The inside of the house was not tended by me, either, but by Leah, who is in the picture. (I mostly did nothing in Ghana except write romance novels and play food goddess in the kitchen, but that’s another story.)
The view from the front door was normally the gate and gravel driveway, but with Leah in it is definitely more interesting, don’t you agree? It was her day off from her labors in our house, and she had just returned from the market where she had purchased food for her own family. They lived in a little place right in our compound. (Originally from the country of Benin, Leah is wearing an outfit probably more characteristic of the clothes worn there. It does not look Ghanaian.)
Don’t you just love big verandahs and panoramic views? The view below is one I enjoyed in the town of Semarang on the north coast of the island of Java, where the huge verandah served as our living room. It was covered, so even in the tropical afternoon downpours during the rainy season, we still lounged there in our easy chairs, tea or drinks in hand. We had lamps there and an overhead fan. It was a fabulous place.
Some of you loyal fans have seen this photo before, but I like it so I’m going to show it again.
ide view from the big balcony. Albanians love painting their buildings cheery colors and looking at the sugary pink confection from our big balcony was sweet. The left-side view offered a wider vista of the town and the empty residence of Albania’s late communist dictator Enver Hoxha. Oh, what the heck, here’s the picture.
The spacy building complex in the foreground across the street is Hoxha’s former hangout. I never lived across the street from the residence of a (brutal but dead) communist dictator. Saying it does sound kind of cool though.
And now from brutal communist dictator to psycho attack bird:
This, dear reader, is the view from the bedroom of my present abode in West Virginia, USA. No, that’s not quite right: it was the view — for days and days last summer when this crazy woodpecker kept attacking his reflection in the glass assuming it was a rival intruding on his territory. Every few minutes he’d be back banging at the window, driving me nuts because I could hear him going at it from my office across the hall. Check out the damage he did to the tree behind him.
What did we do? Finally we covered the tree trunk with a black plastic garbage bag so he wouldn’t be tempted to settle there and see his enemy in the window. The psycho bird moved across the road to our neighbors, where he managed to crack two car rearview mirrors. One belonged to a rental car and the damage was covered by insurance. They covered it under “vandalism.”
This spring the plastic bag is still flapping from the tree, and the bird is back across the road, destroying an old tree trunk. I can see him from my office window. What a view!
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What do you, or did you, see through your window or from your porch?