I have never in my whole life been so excited to do laundry.
We’ve been without a washer for about two weeks now, leaving the giant job of cleaning clothes to A. hand washing or B. trying to be casual about asking to bring over dirty clothes and use new friends washing machines. No, that’s not awkward at all. “Hello, nice to meet you. Yes, we’d love to come over for a play date. How has life been since we arrived? Do we need help with anything” YES. Actually. I’m going to say YES. When we come over for a play date, and we’re just getting to know each other, would you mind if I bring a load of dirty clothes to throw in your washer? Cool. Thanks”
Oh my word. It’s been so hard for me to do this. But for my own survival, I’ve gotten over it. Hand washing isn’t fun, but it’s not the act of the washing that isn’t working for me. It’s the fact that you can only get clothes so dry when you wring them out. Then, try to get those babies dry when it’s been raining every single day. It adds up to a lot of not dry laundry that ends up not even smelling that great because it’s been taken inside and outside and back in again. Trying to get it dry but avoiding the raindrops that come on suddenly has made for some pretty entertaining moves that the kids find hilarious.
I, on the other hand, am exhausted. Have you heard of something called the poverty of time? To sum it up in one over simplified sentence, it’s this: one of the many reasons poor people have a hard time rising out of poverty is the loss of time doing basic things like hand washing clothes, collecting water, farming with only basic tools, cooking over fire, etc. The poor cannot attend basic school, or continuing education when they have to help the family simply do basic chores and survive.
And I’ve seen this time and again living abroad. But it’s funny, or rather ridiculous that I still forget that fact. I have spent the last two weeks doing nothing but thinking about, working on, moving towards one thing: doing laundry. Each day, as a family of five, we go through at least five outfits. That is of course best case scenario.
Take yesterday as an example of worst case scenario. In the middle of the night last night, Eliana wet the bed. Poor thing. (I think this is due to both processing new things and she’s SO tired when she goes to bed (because she’s not napping anymore) that she doesn’t wake up to go pee like normal). In the morning I access the situation: now I have an extra sheet, blanket, underwear and pj’s to wash. Naptime comes, and poor Audra wakes up crying. I give her a few minutes to see if she’ll go back to sleep and when she doesn’t I go into her room and get a lovely surprise. She has had a legit blowout. I pick her up before I realize just how bad it is, so now I have poo on my arm. And only until I lay her down, on my bed (since we don’t have anywhere else to change diapers) with newly washed sheets do I see and smell the gravity of the poo situation. Now there is poo on my bed. Insert bad word.
If I had a washer at my house, I’d simply be annoyed. Throw them in the washer and what’s another load? But here, minus a washing machine, not enough rope to line dry everything and rainy weather so nothing actually dries and it’s real kill joy. Well, that’s not entirely true. Said baby was then smiling and coo’ing at me for the next hour since she had lost half her body weight in poo and felt like a million bucks.
So I met a new friend at church, who after she found out I didn’t have a washer she offered for me to use hers. She happened to be going out of town and told me to come over whenever I wanted to do a load, or twenty. Normally, I’d hmmm and haaaaa over it, and feel bad for saying YES, but not this time. We brought them pizza for dinner before the left, got the low down on her house and washer and I’ve been making daily trips to her house to laundry every day this week.
It’s solved 90% of my laundry issue. The other 10 is minor, but man trying to dry clothes during the rainy season is a problem. Of course I’m still playing the mix up change-a-roo game as I try to capitalize on the sun and breeze but am trying to avoid the rain. I have moved these four loads of laundry around the house and outside and back in now about 6 times in the last 24 hours and I’m glad to say they are all, finally, dry!! And remember, this is coming from a girl who lives in a nice house, with room to spread line and clothes all over when it does rain. I have to admit, that is one thing I love and also don’t love about living here. Not for one second can you feel sorry for yourself. Ever. As a foreigner that is. I mean heck, it’s like a rich person complaining about which car of their 5 they are going to drive because it’s just so hard to pick. Gag. I feel sorry for myself until I remember, duh, most of the people living here don’t have a washing machine. Most people don’t even have running water in their homes. (to be more exact about 37% do not have water in their homes)
So boo hoo poor me first world problems in the third world. They are no different than first world problems in the first world, you just can’t wallow in it very long here. And considering sometimes I’m the dramatic, wallowing type, I tend to think this is a very good thing for me. I’m then forced to suck it up and deal with it. And instead focus on what I do have, and choose to be thankful for that. Because, the fact is, I have three stinking adorable kids (even if said kids are the main culprits of my laundry woes!), I have a handsome and hard working husband who loves us dearly, and I live in a safe and beautiful home. These are not small things.