Some would conclude that “normal” is just a setting on a dishwasher. Not currently possessing a dishwasher, I’m here to tell you that everyday life on the rooftop is not so much…normal. Well, at least compared to life back in the States. There have been a few things to get used to and I’m trying to embrace the challenges. A little extra challenge can be a good thing. Typically mundane tasks become small victories. It also keeps things…interesting. How about I give you a little tour and explain further?
Water out of the tap here isn’t drinkable and everyone LOVES their hot water. Boiling water ensures that the stuff you don’t want to ingest gets killed (bacteria!). Therefore, I’m continuously heating up water in a kettle on the propane stove or using an electric water pitcher. It tends to be the first thing I do when I wake up (must have coffee!).
Cooking at altitude has taken some adjusting (especially since I didn’t generally cook to begin with!). A pressure cooker is a MUST for things like beans, noodles and vegetables. And baking? Well, that’s a whole other topic for another time.
I AM the dishwasher. I do happen to have a “normal” setting, along with a bunch of others, depending on time of day, food intake and current weather conditions. To wash dishes 1) Fill a plastic bin with boiled water and soap 2) Sit on stool to account for short sink 3) Scrub dishes in bin, rinse in sink 4) Stack in dish drainer…finished!
Nothing too abnormal about the living room, however, might I highlight a few points of interest? The coat rack probably holds 15 scarves…love these guys! Not only are they fun and colorful, but they also do a great job at protecting against cold and dust. Also, that “couch” is actually a Tibetan bed. You’ll see furniture with this same style and dimension in homes all over town, beds that double as couches. Back pillows come in handy when sitting, so as to avoid sinking into oblivion.
Oh, and then there’s the essential white contraption, known as the washing machine, that generally finds its residence IN the living room. Until you’re ready to do laundry, that is. Then it moves (well, I hoist it) into the wash closet, or “WC,” as they like to to call it here. In the States we refer to it as the bathroom. There the machine gets filled up with water from the shower (can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally overflowed the thing and then had to bail it out!) and drains into the…well, you get the picture.
ALL-AROUND FAVORITE ROOM
The other side of the bookshelves is where sleeping, eating breakfast, lesson planning, reading and solving all the world’s problems takes place. This half of my apartment was recently rearranged and I LOVE the cozy chair that faces out the huge window. Because there’s no central heating in these parts, most buildings are constructed around large windows to let the warm sunlight in, and space-heaters also help do the trick.
Well, this concludes our “home tour”! Believe me when I say that, although there’s been a bit of adjusting, I love the sense of accomplishment in the everyday stuff. I no longer try to pack a million things into my day, that’s not the culture here. Tasks may take a bit longer, but when house chores, tea-drinking and socializing are the day’s main events, it’s alright 🙂