arrival journal: first fim de semana

I sit on our porch, giant blue wine glass filled with a Brazilian red, laptop comfortable on a new bistro set, watching the sun set over the mountains outside of Sampa, and I cannot believe this is our life.

With that being said, I must share with you today’s adventures that pop that romantic bubble quickly.  But first, yesterday. Some wonderful people from the school were generous enough to chauffeur us all around town to various stores and malls. They spent nearly seven hours taking care of us: from bellies to shopping carts to transportation to carrying bags. I went home humbled and grateful for the abundant gift of time we received. Not so good at home were the receipts. It is amazing how expensive stuff is here, for no rhyme or reason either. We spent so much at three different stores, and after unpacking it all, we were a bit shocked at how little we actually got for that amount of money. (Say what you will about Walmart, I was sure missing it last night.)

Sadly, unfortunately, we still needed some more stuff. (It’s ironic that we just had a giant garage sale to get rid of so much stuff.) So today, after meeting the new English head of department for brunch, Dave and I ubered off to a local store that I would liken to Ikea. We scored some pretty good deals, but man, stuff is expensive. (So to our friends and family visiting us, prepare to shop and bring us stuff!) Then we ubered home, bags in tow.

Now, the fun part. We have not done laundry yet because there are no dryers here. Well, I shouldn’t say none at all, but they are not common. (We would buy one, but there is no where to put it!) Most people hang clothes to dry on racks. When you walk through any store here, there is a giant aisle of these things. So since we did not have one until today, we could not do a load yet. But this afternoon, after making sure the washer was hooked up properly, we did our first load below the equator. It took us a while to translate all the features correctly. (The two of us gringos standing there, reading our washer with Google translate, ha!) The cycle was slow, and we kept checking on it like it was a sleeping baby newly home from the hospital. But, it worked. And then, the circus freak show of us trying to hang all this stuff up. We don’t know where (air circulation, sunlight), so it’s just hanging out in our living room. We realized quickly we probably can max out on any given day at one load a day, seeing as drying space is the challenge. Needless to say, I’m still short on clothes.

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While that was happening, we did a massive load of dishes. We had finally bought a wash basin since our sink is freakishly small. All the new dishes, along with the dirty dishes from the last few days, needed washing. So I set up this crazy assembly line situation. The hilarious part here is hot water. We get it through gas. This means, 1, it has to run for a while to get hot; 2, it gets CRAZY hot; 3, it’s inconsistent–sometimes hot for a long time, sometimes for a brief second; 4, the pressure is incredibly disproportionate to the space, so turning on water in any of the sinks is like… trying to drink from Niagara Falls with a shot glass. By the end of the whole fiasco, I had taken a shower and mopped the floor with the sprayback! It was all in good humor tonight, but I wonder when (or if?) I’ll miss the convenience of our old life.

Who am I kidding, I already miss the dishwasher!

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