Kofi and his wife, Amara, have traveled many miles from CapeSim Town, South Africa; fleeing from a terrible flu epidemic that left them and many of their family and friends with a benign skin pigment disorder. It's neither life-threatening or contagious, but if medical care is prolonged, the condition can spread throughout the whole surface of a Sim's body. They needed to leave South Africa quickly to find a good doctor in the SimStates that was properly trained in treating the dry-itchy patches this disorder causes.
Through hours of research and many letters, they found a very talented doctor, Dr. Trinity Dalton, who wrote them back and told them about Simmington Hills. They moved to The Hills to be under her care and enroll in the SimPlan Health Insurance package, which takes care of their monthly prescription costs. Dr. Dalton met up with them at the Immigration Office and gave them the appropriate immunization shots they needed.
Kofi and Amara already have college degrees from the University of CapeSim Town. Kofi's degree is in Mathematics. He was an architectural engineer for a successful firm until contract negotiations fell through and he lost his job. Amara, a former jazz singer and Art graduate, taught music at the prestigious CapeSim Town International School. It was a struggle being the only breadwinner in the house and when the flu epidemic hit, Kofi and Amara were afraid they'd lose everything.
Their move was a blessing, but because of the career caps in Simmington Hills, they both had to take new career fields. It wasn't planned for and it's certainly turned out to be a challenge. Kofi took a job as a Security Guard; a job that doesn't require a college degree. He has the physical strength required to do it, and is thinking about being a bouncer at a nightclub on the side. It was decided that it would be best for Amara to apply for online college courses in Law. They both can't afford to go back to school right now. The Adult College Correspondence Course tuition costs $4,000. Half the cost of a full-term college tuition. Amara was pleased to learn she could pay this in installments, (around $286 per article), so she started immediately...well, she tried to start.
What was difficult was trying to get through a term paper without being interrupted by little Ashanti.
"Okaaay, honey...just one second...Mama will be right there." Amara yelled as Ashanti screamed from her crib in the next room. It seemed like she had just laid her down for a nap and she was up again. Does my child ever sleep? Amara wondered.
Amara found work as a File Clerk in a SimCity law office, but can't get a Level 3 (Legal Secretary) promotion until she obtains a certain amount of hours towards a law degree. (Basically, 4 term papers completed.) After that, she can't gain a Level 4 position (Legal Biller) until she's completed 7 term papers; half the requirement for her law degree. Long story, short...If she ever wants to make any real money and not be a Law Firm Receptionist for the rest of her life, she's gonna need that degree.
They moved into the Alpine Village 1 Trailer Home rentals. Trailer #1 is the turquoise and white one; the cheapest of the three. Their affordable furniture had been pre-ordered from SimCity Furniture. Amara requested it be custom reupholstered with different fabrics from back home. Jolie Dawson was a great help in getting the fabrics and some artwork shipped in from South Africa. It gave the Raphael's a sense of luxury within a not-so-luxurious environment.
The area they live in is right across the street from the always busy, always noisy Cunningham Airport.
There is another Alpine Village 2 Trailer Homes park next door, but it looks different. A little nicer and more expensive, but it doesn't matter. The whole area is surrounded by the stench of trash and junky looking buildings, a drug house and a liquor store/bus stop, that the winos and gearheads hang out at.
The trailer they chose has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath; pretty cramped but very long, from one end to the other. Chima has his bed out in the hallway, just outside the door from his rambunctious sister's nursery and from his parents bedroom. The curtains can be pulled for privacy. Amara hung them because Chima's afraid someone is gonna come through the front door and get him at night. It's not a wall, but hey...you gotta work with what you have. At least it makes him feel safer.
Between all the potty training, the 'peek-a-boos', the endless filing papers at her job, cooking dinner, helping Chima get into a hot bathtub (he's afraid his skin is gonna burn), and trying to get her 1st college term paper finished, some days Amara can't tell which way is up.
"Awww, now what did I come in here for?" Amara rubs her head one day after a long day at work...whatever it was completely leaves her mind.
"Dad, I don't understand why I can't watch tv. Mom said I can't. Why can't I, huh?" Chima ignores his mother's comments, as usual, and nags his Dad for a second opinion.
"Chima take a breath...Your mama's already told you it's because it's thundering and lightning outside right now, son. No tv until the weather clears up. It's almost bedtime anyways. Why don't you read a good book?" Kofi said.
Amara completely zones out, and it takes her the next hour and fifteen minutes to finish her bowl of macaroni and cheese. She's thinking about offering piano lessons to kids in the neighborhood for extra money.
After dropping another bowl on the floor and breaking it in front of his wife, Kofi voluntarily cleans up the whole kitchen. He's always breaking something so the least he could do was train the puppy to use the bathroom outside, before he went to bed.
"Go pee, Doogie! Go pee!" Kofi urged. "Go on! That's a good boy!"
Kofi ran for cover from the cold rain, back into the house and never noticed the puppy, close on his heels, had ran back inside with him. He fell asleep in the chair as he waited for Doogie to do his business outside. He would soon find out...
Little Doogie doesn't like the rain, either.
"You're gonna have to help me take care of this dog, Chima, if you want to keep him, ok?" Kofi stated.
"Ewww!" Chima squeezed his nose together.
The next day, Amara came home with coloring pencils and crayons and had Chima help her with a poster she planned to put up around the neighborhood. She always seemed to have much more patience with other kids when teaching them piano. She never understood why she didn't have the patience with her own. Maybe she expects Chima to take quickly to the piano like she did as a child.
"That's not right, Chima. We went over this 100 times...B flat to C, back to A sharp. That's a whole note there, you're supposed to hold it for 4 counts, not 2!" Amara covered her ears as Chima banged his way through, "You Are My Sunshine."
Kofi decided to make Ashanti his main priority...she and Doogie. He got up in the middle of the night and took Doogie outside again, this time successfully, and got Ashanti a bottle.
For the next few weeks, he tried to teach Ashanti how to talk. He'd lay her down for a nap and make her stay there. He had started a great Anger Management book for his job that he wanted to finish up before the Willow County Jail authorities sent over the community service inmate, or whatever you call him, to clean up their house.
He left Amara to deal with the errands she'd marked down on her 'To Do List'. SimLord knows, if she doesn't mark it down, she'll forget it.
Hmmm, channeling anger into performance. That's great. Kofi read and thought over the basic principles.
The doorbell rang a few minutes later. Cameron Masters showed up in his orange jumpsuit, kinda quiet...just ready to complete his task and go pick up his kid from school. The shame of this whole ordeal has left him a little depressed.
Kofi warned him that the house was a little on the junky side; they've got two small children. He seemed like a nice guy, Kofi thought, and he wondered what kind of trouble he'd gotten into. When Cameron didn't say too much, Kofi could tell he was kind of shy, so he left him alone to finish up.
Cameron's mood had lightened up by the end of his time there. He and Kofi established a pretty cool rapport with each other. Too bad Ashanti woke up before they could really start talking. So Cameron changed clothes and left, and Kofi started potty training duty.
"Oh, hello! What do you have there?" Maxine Wise walked up to Amara and Chima at City Hall.
"I colored that myself!" Chima bragged to the tall lady.
"Ooh, you did? Well, it's a very good job! I like it a lot!" Maxine smiled.
"I colored the lady brown with my crayons so she'd look like my Mama." Chima smiled proudly.
Amara chuckled and told the nice woman if she knew of any one interested...she's giving piano lessons.
Maxine read the poster and asked her if she was planning on having the lessons at her house. Amara nodded her head. And Maxine wrinkled up her nose a bit and looked away. Amara was kind of taken aback at the woman's expression and looked at the poster again. She figured out the possible issue.
Until that moment, Amara hadn't considered where she lived. Most parents probably wouldn't want their child spending time in that part of the neighborhood. She started to snatch the poster down, but what would that say to Chima. The little guy worked so hard on it. Oh well, it's done now....she'll wait and see if she gets any phone calls.
"My husband is a pianist, too. Maxine said, noticing the lady's discomfort and remembering her New Year's resolution to not judge a person before getting to know them. He plays jazz. He's actually looking for a singer for his band...do you sing?" Maxine asked.
"Yes, I do actually! Jazz!" Amara perked up at the mention of a band. It had been a long time since she last sang with a band...she was in her early 20s. Seems like ages ago. The lady could've said it was an alternative rock band for all Amara cared. She was just interested in singing again.
Maxine couldn't believe the coincidence. "Well, they call themselves The Jazzmasters, and they held lots of auditions back in October for a singer, but never found one that fit. I'd be happy to give him your number. Maybe you can audition for him? They play regular sets down at The Cage Nightclub."
"That would be great!!" Amara clapped her hands in excitement and almost forgot the most important reason she came to City Hall.
She asked the lady if she knew where the Board of Education office was, and Maxine asked her if she was there to enroll her son into Camden Park Elementary...Amara confirmed and told her she'd heard that the private school system in Simmington Hills was the best there was.
Maxine then formally introduced herself as the Education Director; that she'd be happy to talk to her upstairs in her office.
"It's nice to meet you, Chima. Looks like I'll be your teacher!" The two shook hands.
There were lots of people waiting to talk to Mrs. Wise, Amara noticed. Lars Larsson was there to pick up his check for the school renovations he and his crew handled. Kimberly Spencer was there along with Cameron Masters and Donna Blair, both off-camera, to pay their kids' tuitions.
Amara asked Chima to sit tight and don't run off. Chima being the outgoing boy that he is, had no problems jumping right in there and meeting new friends. Tyrone Masters was his first choice.
Then he was immediately captivated by this little girl, Emely Blair. Chima had never seen a girl with such orangey-red hair before and red dots on her face. He thought maybe she had another kind of skin disorder, like his...but not like his. She was pretty and really strange-looking at the same time. He was glad to hear she was going to the same school he was gonna go to.
"...It seems like any little money I get my hands on, I might as well kiss it goodbye." Amara joked as she kissed the expensive tuition check goodbye and handed it over to Mrs. Wise.
Maxine laughed at Amara's sense of humor, she really is a pleasure to talk to. I hope she can sing. Maxine thought to herself. Maybe then her husband, Jacques, would stop paying so much attention to Anna Sheik and that horrible voice she has. He thinks he can actually mold Anna into a singer when after months of singing lessons hadn't made a dent of change.
After his first day of school, Chima brought home a friend...yep, Emely Blair. Looks like her parents don't mind where they live. Maybe Emely will be Amara's first piano student...? We shall see.
It was such a darn struggle for me to get started with this household, but it became surprisingly easy to get into them once the story started unfolding before my eyes and in my head...Lesson learned: Just play the darn game and see how things fall into place.
Charles Wise and his immediate family. I take whoever the Sim is closest to at their age transition as being influential in what the child likes. Charles was closest to his Aunt Lydia, at the time, so he likes Brown instead of Red or Beige.
I imagine that in South Africa, toddler Ashanti spent a lot of time with her grandmother or some other relative while Kofi and Amara worked during the day...this relative loved the bold color of electric blue or 'electric ultramarine' as Wikipedia calls it. :P So that's why she's got a different color preference than Celadon or Razzmatazz. (I roll a ROS for my adults' favorite colors.)
***Is this dress mesh supposed to lay like that around her collar? My game does weird things to different Maxis clothing meshes, like some of the H&M stuff. I still can't figure out what's causing it.