Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Laundry in Costa Rica

As I looked at myself in the restroom mirror after class one day, just before I was supposed to meet Caleb for a concert at the National Theatre, I felt badly.  It was a bad hair day...my blonde roots were showing.  And a bad clothes day.  Since there wasn't much I could do about it at that point, I tried to put it out of my mind.  But, even so, I still felt a little insecure as I crossed the pigeon-filled plaza near the theatre.  When I saw Caleb in the crowd, I smiled and walked towards him.  He gave me a big hug and kiss, looked into my eyes and said "I like your face.  You are more beautiful today than yesterday."

I tried to explain the concept of a "motivational liar" to him, but he didn't really get it.  Whether his words are true or not, I appreciate him for saying kind and encouraging things to me every day.   

One of the reasons I was having a bad clothes day was because I was wearing the least flattering clothes I have, because all of my other clothes were in the process of being laundered.  One of the ways life is different in Costa Rica than in the U.S. is that the speed in which you can do your laundry is heavily dependent upon the weather, since people don't have clothes dryers here and instead hang their clothes in the sun.

I like it.  Back in Utah, I tried to avoid using my dryer and instead hung my clothes on an indoor drying rack, just to save money, preserve my clothes longer, and conserve energy to preserve the environment.  But I didn't appreciate the unique nature of Utah's dry climate that allows you to dry your clothes indoors in the middle of the winter, without needing sun.   Here, you need to hang your clothes outside in the sun, and when it rains, you need to run around and grab them all before they get soaked, which I've seen my host dad Luis doing a time or two.

Washing dishes is different in Costa Rica too; they normally wash their dishes in cold water because most of the houses don't have hot water heaters.  Instead, they just have a little device on their showerhead than heats the water so they can enjoy hot water there, but everywhere else in the house has only cold water.  If a situation comes up where they need to sterilize their dishes, they'll boil water on the stove to use for washing.  They also use a different type of dish soap than Americans do...their dishsoap comes in a cool-whip type container and is a very coarse, compressed powder that you dip a wet sponge or wash rag into.

Another difference common in Latin America is that you can't put used toilet paper down the toilet; instead, it goes in a trash can nearby because their septic systems can't cope with it.

One day after school I texted Caleb to invite him to come to the gym with me, and he resonded that he couldn't because he was in the middle of doing his laundry, and he hoped I didn't feel bad that he wasn't able to come.  And I responded, "No, I like guys who do laundry!" and he responded "One day I'll be doing YOUR laundry!", which is among the most romantic things a guy can say to a girl, in my humble opinion.

Caleb and his sister Rebecca (expecting a baby soon) with the dinner he cooked for us.

2 comments:

Rebecca Clack said...

I hear ya, sista! Nothing like a shower and fresh clothes to make me feel ready to walk out into the world! This new romance is lovely to see. Will be interesting to watch it progress as you return to US and your new CR assignment. The old cliche "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true, but also an unrealistic way to really get to know another person, so enjoy it (but, be wise.)

Rebecca Clack said...

I hear ya, sista! Nothing like a shower and fresh clothes to make me feel ready to walk out into the world! This new romance is lovely to see. Will be interesting to watch it progress as you return to US and your new CR assignment. The old cliche "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true, but also an unrealistic way to really get to know another person, so enjoy it (but, be wise.)