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HOW TO SETTLE INTO LIFE IN DAR ES SALAAM FROM A FAMILY’S PERSPECTIVE

A family photo

With three children, the Haldorsen family are no strangers to expatriate living.

“I am an expat child myself, and so is my husband,” Stina said. “When our oldest child was 11 months, we moved to Nepal, we traveled [to Bangkok] for the delivery [of our second child]. After four and a half years, we moved back to Norway and left again after two years to move to Pakistan.”

The family lived in Islamabad for a year and a half, but as the political climate changed, they decided to move back to Bangkok.

“After four and a half years in Bangkok, we made the move to Tanzania now with three children,” Stina said.

Tanzania holds a special place in the Haldorsen household as Stina and her husband met there.

“We had always wanted to go back again with a family,” Stina said. “After having lived a decade or so in Asia, we wanted our children to know their East African roots.”

And almost as if it was meant to be, a job came up, and the family eagerly accepted the opportunity. Even though the family had been uprooted to unfamiliar places before, the move to Dar es Salaam was difficult.

“Tanzania surprisingly took the longest time of all the countries I had moved to [to feel comfortable]. I think it was because I had expectations. The last time I had lived in Tanzania I was a teenager, now I arrived with a family, which was quite different.”

Stina's son with fellow students in an assembly

According to Stina, her children took the move exceptionally well.

“Moving from Bangkok to Tanzania was a huge change on all fronts. They adapted very quickly, especially the youngest one.”

To make a new country feel like home, Stina has two things she does as soon as the family arrives.

“First, I make sure the house is cozy as quickly as possible so that when one of us has had a rough day, which happens [during] the first months, the home at least is a comfortable and safe place,” Stina said.

As for the second thing, Stina makes sure to start her work promptly. She works as a Textile Designer/ Independent Artist and therefore her job is easy to set up quickly.

“I [also] get actively involved in the school and organize play dates, so the kids get settled in quickly,” Stina said.

When the family landed in Dar es Salaam, Stina wasn’t picky with where they were going to live.

“We are both quite internationally minded so we don’t look for   specific communities,” Stina said but noted how the family’s   nationalities automatically include them into the Norwegian,   Dutch and Kenyan communities.”

They chose to live on the peninsula in Dar, but frequently travel   around the country to truly experience the Tanzanian way of life.

Stina speaks Kiswahili fluently, which has made it easy for her to form genuine bonds with the locals.

Another aspect of moving to a new home is choosing the right school for your children, and that is precisely what Stina did, enrolling all three children in the International School of Tanganyika (IST).

“It was the best school in the country,” Stina said. “It still is.”

According to Stina, IST helped to make the transition for her family a seamless one.

“The community is very welcoming,” Stina said. “We were quickly part of the group, which is all it takes to feel at home.”

The transition of moving to a new home in a new country is intimidating for the whole family, especially if your family hasn’t moved before. Stina was quick to provide tips for newcomers.

“Start an email correspondence with a family already living in Dar es Salaam, ask them all the big and small questions you wonder about,” Stina said. “As for the trailing spouse, find your own passion/work. This is important for any country and crucial for your well being.”

Stina encouraged families to stay positive and keep moving forward, with time your new home will come to feel like one.

“Get involved in things that are unique to [your new home],” Stina said. “Come with an open mind and patience.”

Moving to Dar es Salaam is both an exciting and intimidating experience. Where is the local grocery store? How do you sign your children up for piano or guitar lessons? How do you go about maneuvering around your community?

We’ve created a guide to take you through everything you need to know to live day-to-day life to the fullest. Download it here!

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WHERE TO STAY IN ZANZIBAR A GUIDE TO ZANZIBAR BEACHES

A Guide to Zanzibar Beaches

There are definitely worse problems than deciding which of the many Zanzibar beaches will be your slice of paradise.

Being spoilt for choice you can’t really go wrong but with the variety of what there is on offer, some beach spots may take your fancy more than others. For your benefit, we’ve charted out an essential Zanzibar coast guide for every interested traveler.

If you fancy doing nothing more than witnessing white sand, crystal clear waters, and gently swaying palm trees, Zanzibar has you sorted!

About Zanzibar Island

Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of many small islands and two large ones.

The main island is Unguja but is more commonly referred to as ‘Zanzibar’. The second largest island is Pemba in the north. Tiny Mafia is the final inhabited island on the archipelago, with the coral island of Latham Island acting as an important breeding ground for seabirds.

While most accommodation and things to do on Zanzibar are located on the main island, those seeking a quiet escape will find plenty of options on Pemba and Mafia as well.

Although officially apart of the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region. This means that your passport and visa status will be checked on arrival at immigration. You don’t need a specific visa to enter Zanzibar.

The most popular time to visit is between June and February, outside of the rainy season. This is also the perfect time to combine your beach time with a safari on the mainland to create a Zanzibar safari to remember.

Stone Town

Located on the main island is the capital, Zanzibar City. While many refer to this city as Stone Town, this historic district is actually just a small part of a much larger city. No visit would be complete without wandering the labyrinthine alleys and bustling market bazaars of Stone Town, which is also a World Heritage Site filled with history, culture and cuisine, and plenty of places to stumble across while roaming its meandering cobblestone streets.

Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia palms, and tourism. Many residents also make a living from fishing and farming on the islands.

Zanzibar beaches fisherman

 

How To Get to Zanzibar

  1. A 20-minute flight from Dar Es Salaam Airport;
  2. A 2-hour ferry ride from Dar Es Salaam Ferry Terminal;
  3. A 90-minute flight from Nairobi Airport;
  4. A 1-hour flight from Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airport.

Where to go on Zanzibar

As an archipelago of islands, there is no shortage of Zanzibar beaches to choose from when you’re deciding where to stay on Zanzibar.

Each region of the main island offers something a little different, so we’ve broken it down by region to help you find the best Zanzibar beach for your tropical vacation.

Northern Coast

A general rule of thumb is that the further north you go the less crowded it gets. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule especially when it comes to the more lively/party areas. Zanzibar’s north coast has a small tidal range and flatter waters. Popular beaches include Nungwi in the northernmost tip which hosts great diving spots, and Kendwa, which is known for its full moon and evening parties. Both beaches have their party sides and quiet sides and so can be suitable for anyone.

Off the north coast is Pemba Island. Pemba is home to small fishing villages, colonial ruins, and untouched beaches. This island has a less established tourism industry but does have some beautiful sights especially if you’re a fan (like us) of wild, untamed beaches. There are some great diving spots here catering for the advanced diver. Watersports, excursions to mangrove forests, and sunset dhow cruises are also available.

If you want a more thorough view of this spectacular area, the popular Safari Blue itinerary is a good way to see Nungwi regardless of where you’re staying.

Accommodation Suggestions
LuxuryMnemba Island, Hideaway of Nungwi, Star of the East, Kilindi, Essque Zalu
MediumMyblue Hotel, Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort, Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa, Double Tree by Hilton, Diamonds La Gemma Dell’est
BudgetSunset Kendwa, Langi Langi Beach Bungalows, Amaan Bungalow, Mnarani Beach Cottages, The Z Hotel

zanzibar beaches rock restaurant

North-East Coast

The northeast is the prime location for pristine beaches, diving, and top-end accommodation. With some of the best reefs off Mnemba Island, just 1km from the shore, you can find some excellent diving and snorkeling spots. Mnemba Island is also a nesting place for green turtles.

Accommodation Suggestions


LuxuryDream of Zanzibar, Melia, Matemwe Retreat, Tulia
MediumBluebay Beach Resort & Spa, Neptune Pwani Beach, Ocean Paradise Beach Resort, Sunshine Marine Lodge, Azanzi Beach Hotel
BudgetGreen and Blue Ocean Lodge, Matemwe Beach Village

East Coast

The east coast is much more tide dependent compared to the rest of the island and is also more windy. This makes it great for those wanting to kite surf.

Although you might need to walk a bit to swim or snorkel, the beaches here are still just as beautiful.

Accommodation Suggestions

MediumPongwe Beach Hotel, Pongwe Bay Resort, Uroa Bay Beach Resort, Paradise Beach Resort
BudgetPalumbo Reef Beach Resort, Samaki Lodge, Seasons Lodge

zanzibar beaches local women

South-East Coast

The tidal range is bigger here than other regions. There is a stunning barrier reef and lots of palms. Close to relaxed villages, it is a great place if you want to do as the locals do. For instance, we’d recommend a visit to the friendly town of Jambiani.

Accommodation Suggestions

LuxuryZanzibar White Sand Luxury, The Palms, Baraza Resort & Spa, Konokono Beach Resort
MediumKarafuu Beach Resort & Spa, Anna of Zanzibar, Breezes Beach & Club, Hakuna Majiwe Beach Lodge, Kisiwa on the Beach
BudgetZanzibar Ocean Blue, Michaimvi Sunset Bay, Arabian Nights Hotel, Dougwe Ocean View, Kichanga Lodge

zanzibar beaches reef outrigger beautiful view

South Coast

For the south, the general rule is that the further south you go the busier it gets, as more residents live in the southern region. Come here to dive into culture and spice tours. You’ll also find the Fumba Peninsula here which has two laid back lodges, and an eco-resort on Chumbe Island just offshore. Go snorkeling in the shallow-water reefs and you can spot turtles and hundreds of species of fish. In the south-west, you can visit Kizimkazi for a dolphin safari.

Accommodation Suggestions

LuxuryThe Residence
MediumFruit & Spice Wellness Resort, Unguja Lodge, Swahili Beach Resort
BudgetKaramba Resort

West Coast

The west coast is home to the historic Stone Town district which is a not to miss in our books. If you want history, spices, and delicious food (especially seafood) you’re in the right place. There are also great snorkeling and swimming spots if you go a bit further out from the coast.

Accommodation Suggestions

MediumSea Cliff Resort & Spa, Zanzi Resort, Chumbe Island Resort, Hakuna Matata Lodge, Fumba Lodge

zanzibar beaches stone town

Accommodation

Have a look at more of our accommodation suggestions on our interactive map of Zanzibar here (or a preview below).

Zoom in to the North, West, East or South, whichever areas take your fancy.

Click on the map to open a new webpage and utilize the search function. More details also appear by clicking on the icons which are sorted by luxury (yellow icons), medium (blue), and budget (green) options.

What to Bring

Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat – the sun is much stronger here than other parts of the world so even if you think you’re not prone to burn we recommend slopping on some sunscreen and protective clothing for good measure.

Sarong, Shawl, Kaftan (or anything to cover up with) – Many dress conservatively in Zanzibar and it is important to also respect this and do the same. Thus it is recommended that when you are off the beach, cover up from your shoulders to your knees (this goes for both women and men). It gets very hot in Zanzibar so bring light airy clothes in light colours.

Enclosed shoes – you will probably be doing a lot of walking and exploring so make sure to bring more than just flipflops.

zanzibar beaches white sand local people

Whether it’s before or after your safari adventure heading to the island of Zanzibar should definitely be on your Tanzania itinerary!

 

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TIPS FOR CHOOSING EXTERIOR PAINT COLORS FOR YOUR HOUSE

Picking house paint colors isn’t just difficult; it can be terrifying! If you choose colors that are boring and blah, your house will seem flat and featureless, but if the paint colors are too bold, they can overwhelm the architecture or might even infuriate the neighbors. The potential rewards are substantial, though. Getting it just right by choosing the perfect exterior house color and trim combinations can change your life.

As you consider paint colors for you home’s exterior, keep in mind that the best paint colors are those that highlight the most beautiful features of your home. That’s one reason to know a little bit about residential architecture since history can tell you a lot about what colors have worked for various house styles over the years. Also remember that skillful use of color can sometimes disguise design flaws, boosting the curb appeal and market value of your home.

Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

How do you find that magic color combination? Professional designers suggest 12 specific techniques. And please note that no expert ever suggests buying a paint color because it’s on sale or because your painting contractor can get you a deal!

Honor History

If you’re planning to paint an older home, you’ll probably want to use a historically accurate color scheme. One way to do this is by a simple form of archeology—you can hire a pro to dig down to old paint layers on your siding and trim to analyze them and recreate the original color of your house. Or, you can refer to a historic color chart and select shades that were common at the time your home was built.

The more simple your house architecture, the fewer colors you’ll need. For an elaborate Victorian house style with ornate trimwork, you might plan on using four to six colors, while a simple ranch home might call for only two colors. Do some careful observation of color combinations by visiting some historical homes, such as Roseland Cottage in Connecticut. If you are intent on thinking outside the box and picking brand-new or unusual colors, remember that this decision will become part of the lineage of your home.

  • Tip: Photocopy a sketch or photograph of your house. Use watercolors or colored pencils to try color combinations and narrow your choices. Then use free tools to help you choose.

Consider Jazzing Up the Past

In some neighborhoods, it’s common for homeowners to fly in the face of history. Instead of choosing historically accurate colors, they paint with modern colors to dramatize architectural details. Using bright colors on old architectural details can produce startling and exciting results—if your local historic commission approves. But before you buy 10 gallons of bubblegum pink, it’s a good idea to look at what your neighbors are doing. A fluorescent-colored Victorian that looks splendid in San Francisco can seem wildly out of place in more conservative neighborhoods of the Northeast. The bright pink stucco that is common in Florida might truly startle neighbors in Washington State—which can be either good or bad. Remember that what’s deemed as an acceptable color scheme may be dictated by region and neighborhood, not just historic architectural style.

Consider Your Neighbors

The house next door can give you paint color ideas, but it’s a bad idea to copy your neighbor exactly. Choose colors that set your house apart but that don’t clash with nearby buildings. Look around your neighborhood. Does your house’s architecture look like the house next door? Are you in a suburban development with houses all around, or are your neighbors the trees? Or does your house stand apart within the neighborhood, like an original large farmhouse now surrounded by newer ranch- style mid-century homes?

Choose house colors with an eye to what is around you. This can mean deliberately blending, complementing, or even contrasting with the colors used by the surrounding neighbors. The key is to make your selections with intent and not allow the color effect to be accidental.

Borrow From Nature

The landscape around your house is blooming with color ideas. The prevalence of trees may suggest an earthy palette of greens and browns. A beach setting might suggest using vivid blues and turquoises or even shades of pink. A front yard garden can inspire exciting color combinations for your house based on what appears in the garden at tulip time. Where does the sun shine onto your house? How is your house positioned in the environment? Production houses usually aren’t optimally positioned on their lots, so do what Australian architect Glenn Murcutt tells us to do—follow the sun. Remember that color needs light, and the quality of the light always has an influence on color.

Check the Roof

Your house is your canvas, but it is not blank. Some colors are already established. Is your roof asphalt? Shingle? Metal? Terracotta? Slate? Clay? Roofing materials have their own colors. Your exterior siding paint color doesn’t need to match the roof, but it should harmonize. An expansive brick paver or cobblestone driveway with beautiful browns and reds may also have an influence on your selection of house colors. When choosing exterior paint, start with what’s there already. House paint is easier to change than a roof or driveway.

Consider the Colors of Unpainted Materials

Every home has some features that will not be painted. Is your home brick? Stone? A combination? Does it have a dominant chimney? Vinyl windows? A natural wooden door? Construction materials have their own colors. Will the steps and railings on your home remain their existing colors?

Choose a color scheme that harmonizes with colors already present on your house. In the words of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, “Wood is wood, concrete is concrete, stone is stone.” Wright would rather go au naturel in all things, but most homes have some materials with colors that are naturally beautiful without any paint at all. Keep these materials in mind when choosing colors for the elements you will paint.

Find Inspiration in Your Living Room

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright preferred the colors of natural materials, yet he used his favorite Cherokee red color everywhere, including the Zimmerman House in New Hampshire. Consider the color schemes that are used inside your home, and choose exterior colors that harmonize. It may seem comical to paint an entire house based on the pattern of a pillow case, but this approach actually does make sense. The color of your furnishings will guide you in the selection of your interior paint colors, and your interior paint colors will influence the colors you use outside. Once again, your goal is to harmonize.

Attend to the Details
To emphasize architectural details, paint them with an accent color that has an intentional relationship to the background color of the home. This can be a matter of using a complementary color, a contrasting color, a hue within the same color family, or sometimes even a clashing color, depending on the effect you’re trying to achieve.
Strategically, this decision begins by identifying the architectural details of your house. Do you have brackets? Shutters? Imposts? Swirls? Dentil molding? More importantly, are there key architectural details missing that should be replaced before you begin painting? Are these details attractive enough and historically relevant in a way that calls for highlighting them? Or is it better to use a subtle color variation that allows these details to complement the home without screaming out?

Depending on the size and complexity of your home, you may want to choose two, three, or as many as six colors. In addition to color for your siding, select accent colors for shutters, moldings, doors, window sashes, brackets, columns, and porch decks. Remember that storm windows and screens can now be purchased in a variety of colors. This principle is more important that you may realize: Too many colors will overwhelm your house, while too few can make your house seem flat and uninteresting. House style can have a big influence here. A simple ranch-style rambler might look best with only two colors: one for the siding, and a slightly darker color in the same color family for the trim. An ornate Victorian house, on the other hand, might look wonderful with as many as six different colors—one for each of the different types of trim work and ornate details.

Use Light to Add Size

It’s no wonder that large, grand estates are often painted white. Light colors make a building look larger, and white is the favored color for traditional classical architecture. (Remember, for example, that there’s a very famous White House in Washington, D.C. ) You can add to your home’s sense of size and dignity by using white or a pale cream color. Use darker colors to emphasize shadows and lighter colors to project surfaces or details into prominence.

Go Dark For Drama

Dark siding or dark bands of trim will make your house seem smaller, but will also draw more attention to details. This technique of accented banding can be found in many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s interiors. For exteriors, accent the recesses with darker shades and highlight details with lighter tones. Traditionally, the window sashes of Victorian homes are painted with the darkest of the chosen historic color combination.
  • Tip: Large surfaces always make paint colors look somewhat lighter, so consider selecting slightly darker shades for expansive areas, rather than relying on the apparent colors of paint samples.

Make Use of Color Families

Contrasting colors will draw attention to architectural details, but contrasts that are too extreme will clash and actually detract from details. To be safe, consider staying within a single color family—a group of assorted lighter and darker shades based on the same color hue. For some accents, try using a darker or lighter shade instead of an entirely different color. Brush up on the differences among tints, tones, and shades.
  • Tip: Remember the many colors come with inherent symbolism. You may want to consider some classic systems, such as the feng shui of exterior house color.

Strike a Balance

A burst of a single color on just one part of your home may give it a lopsided appearance. Strive to balance colors over the entire building. Some experts disagree with this, but most color experts advise that you should avoid extreme contrasts. It’s usually best to choose colors that are related. Use available software programs to visualize combinations. Remember to check with your historic commission about color combinations that are historically accurate.

Tips for Choosing Paint

Did you think you only had to pick paint colors? Sorry! Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you choose paint for your house painting project:

  • House paint durability: Remember that very bright or very deep colors will fade. In fact, the color may change altogether as the paint gets older. For example, a deep, slate gray may turn more green or blue as it ages, even if the paint is an expensive name brand. The more intense a color, the more likely it is to fade. After a few years, vivid blues and deep reds might seem more subdued. Dark colors can also pose more maintenance problems. Dark colors absorb heat and suffer more moisture problems than lighter shades. And because dark paint fades, it can be difficult to match exactly when you do small touch-ups. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily rule out dark colors, since there are also advantages. Dark colors don’t show dust and stains as readily as light colors do, and dark hues also give your house a sense of dignity or drama.
  • House paint sheen: House paint comes in several sheens, ranging from glossy to flat. The glossier the surface, the more likely it is to show imperfections, brush strokes, and touch-up marks. On the other hand, glossy surfaces are easier to clean—an important factor if your house is right on the road in the snowy winter. Many homeowners opt to use flat paint for the wall surfaces and semi-gloss or glossy paint for columns, railings, and window sashes.
  • Color deceptions: Color swatches look very different when they are brought out of the store and viewed in natural sunlight. Also, colors always appear lighter on large surfaces than they do on small samples. Chances are that you’ll need a darker color than the one you first picked when comparing samples. Study color samples outdoors, but never in direct sunlight, because bright sun distorts the color. Always test your selected color on a section of the house before buying gallons of paint. Live with the sample color for a week or two and observe it at different times of the day before making your decision to paint the entire house.

Have Fun!

Remember that paint is only painted, and that your house can always be repainted somewhere down the road if you find you don’t like the color or if your preferences change. Take your time. Be creative. Have fun! Painting your home is an opportunity. It’s like a blind date—the process gives you a chance to really get to know where you live. Your house can be your canvas and a model for learning about architecture and architectural details.

Don’t be afraid to make house painting a family project. Let the kids be responsible for painting a specific architectural detail—what’s the worst that can happen? It’s only painting. Above all else, don’t forget to finish the job with a dose of camaraderie and a great sense of and humor. Love equals patience.
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Video tour

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Wednesday a proposal to delay the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule until Oct. 1.

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Real Estate Roundup!

May new home sales gain 2.2% from April

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, which is up 2.2% from April, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. — From Housing Wire

3 ways to tame student loan debt and afford a mortgage

It’s no secret that student loans can make buying a home a challenge. But what exactly is the problem, and how can buyers overcome it? The problem is that student loans can be included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. — From Bankrate

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We’re ready for the TRID rules!

At 5 p.m. EST June 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a statement that the effective date for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rules would be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a prepared statement: “The CFPB will be issuing a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the Know Before You Owe rule until Oct. 1, 2015. We made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time.”

Rainier Title has been working towards the TRID implementation for over a year and felt prepared for August 1st. However, with the proposed delay we will be taking this opportunity to continue our education and training of TRID. While we believe that we have been proactive and ready for this change, there are still so many unknowns that will have to be addressed at the time of implementation. The industry should still prepare for 45-60 days for transaction to close due to the new timing parameters of the forms.

We’re working hard to be ready for all changes!

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Real Estate Roundup

Active Home-Building Industry Will Lead to More Demand for Warehouse Space

Strong consumer spending and the rise in housing construction activity are currently the prime factors for the incredible rebound of the U.S. industrial real estate sector, and experts say as home buying continues to increase, so will demand for warehouse space. — From NRE Online

To Buy or Not to Buy: That Is the Developer’s Question

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