It is interesting thinking back on all of the little changes I’ve had to make doing life here in Central Asia. Along with learning how to cook from scratch, pasteurizing milk, and dealing with frequent internet, power, and water outages, I’ve had to learn a few new things about laundry. You’d think by now I would have mastered the whole laundry thing.
When we first arrived overseas in Almaty almost a year ago, we had the (tiniest!) front loading washer in our bathroom. I was shocked that doing a load of laundry took the thing over 2 hours. I could not fit more than one of Scott’s pairs of jeans and a few shirts in it. We didn’t have a dryer so we hung our clothes. Problem was, we didn’t have a drying rack either, and for some reason for the two months we lived there we never bothered to buy one. That turned out to be a blessing because when we moved south to Kyrgyzstan we didn’t have to move it with us. It was funny looking in our apartment, though, because on every exposed hot water pipe we had laundry drying.
Things were better in Bishkek. We had a decent sized washing machine and a drying rack came with the apartment. Score! I can tell you a drying rack is much better than hanging clothes on pipes!
Fast forward to Karakol…here we also have a good sized washing machine, a drying rack that came with the apartment, and we invested in a second drying rack. Two are better than one, right? But something is different here. The washing machine is in the kitchen, next to the sink, whereas in our other two apartments they were in the bathrooms. No big deal. When we first moved into the apartment we didn’t have any hot water in the kitchen, just in the bathroom. We just recently got a hot water heater for the sink. When it was being installed I asked if the hot water would also run to the washing machine. The guy gave me the strangest look and said “No”. Bummer, I thought, I’ve been running all of our laundry on cold water for the last 3 months and I guess that is going to have to continue the whole time we are here.
Our other washers were in our bathrooms so I assumed that they were getting hot water from the bathrooms. Turns out I was wrong. When I told Sarah that I might have to bring some laundry over to wash in hot water, she explained that the washing machines heat up their own water! That is one reason why the cycles are so much longer. That is also why I got that strange look about hot water going to the washing machine. No way! I could have been washing our whites in hot water all along. This my friends, is why even simple classes like Laundry 101, may have to be repeated when you move overseas.