So in the Dominican Republic there are washing machines, but they are not at all like the ones you are likely picturing. For one thing they are so light that they are usually taken out of a closet or storage space on laundry day to be used. That is, if the luz isn't "se fue".
Since I had such an awkward time with laundry last week I decided I would do my own laundry this week. Cuerpo De Paz does pay our families to do our laundry (or teach us how to do laundry with the different system), but sometimes it's just better to do your own laundry. Also, I was hoping washing my own clothing might just earn me some respect with the cleaning ladies.
Well, this week, just as I went to turn on the washing machine the luz went out. Well, I had a full washer and the soap was already in so I just went ahead and started using my hands. Well, that didn't go over well. Everybody told me to just wait for the luz. If I wait for the luz then it's just me sitting around longer while the cleaning ladies talk about how strange my ropa looks and what a weird American I am.
First I washed all of the light weight items and now I'm just waiting for the luz to come on so I can let the machine do the heavy duty items like jeans and sheets.
Luz still out. Project partner shows up to say hi and tell me he is bringing someone to talk to me at some point and he thinks I look rígido. "VERAD, project partner. I am stressing lately."
Luz still out. I think I'll just sit in my room and watch a movie until its back on, and by a movie I mean "Sister Wives."
Also, just to mention. I think my skin is allergic to this country. It itches more than it should.
I hear the Washing machine and a knock on my door. "Amanda. Luz."
Time to jump into action before it goes se fue again.
You know how three months ago I said I would never hang my laundry on barbed wire?
Well, it turns out three months living in the Dominican Republic will change a person.
Also, I'd like to note that the angry cleaning lady helped me with my ropa at one point today. Maybe we can be friends... Maybe she does like me. I like that she wears a skirt and a "Claire's" t-shirt almost every day. The American shirts people wear here crack me up.
I'm sitting here watching my laundry dry in the sun. I've literally spent an entire day washing what would be two loads of laundry in the states... Three if I washed whites separate, but lets face it, I stopped doing that after college.
Some of you know that since college I've always hung dry most of my ropa when possible. That usually meant having shirts hanging from my shower curtain (which my sister later broke). Now that I spent an entire day doing laundry I have to say look out to whomever I live with next. Attention future room mate, husband, lover, family member, pet, wife, kids, or mail man: I will be hanging my laundry when possible from now on.
I've always taken satisfaction and pride in certain domestic work. I like the thought that I am saving money and doing something with my time that isn't watching television. I can't exactly say washing laundry this way is a time saver, but I'm not going to jump to say that in the states it would take much longer. The washing machine would be just as fast, the only additional time would be carrying and hanging the laundry instead of dumping it in the bin next door.
Part of me thinks that if I hadn't ever been to the states I would have made a great Dominican doña. Now that I've had Internet and access to intellectual conversations about books I don't think I could ever turn away from the states long enough to be considered a convert. What I have gotten out of a day of laundry is reaffirmation in my life goals. Let's just say I don't think that at the end of my life I'm going to put my career credentials down as something people will remember me by, and that's something I can definitely live with.