I finally got around to buying a washer and dryer this weekend, and I have to say, it’s a little odd being faced with the little things that I just haven’t gotten accustomed to.
Where in the States I was used to things like needing w/d hookups, here, I just stuck them in my bathroom. There’s a little tap under the bathroom sink which provides water to the washer. Unfortunately, there is only a cold water outlet, so I can’t use hot water with my washer. So that sucks.
And I’m used to the big silvery hose that vents to the outside on a dryer. Not so here. Here you just open a window and… that’s about it. There’s no hose to exhaust. Very, very odd. The lint screen is built into the door. There’s a big circle where the see-through door on a dryer might normally be. This big circle basically acts as both lint screen and air exhaust.
I know it’s silly, but it’s getting used to little things like this that make moving to another country so… interesting. I can get used to things like there being no such thing as a self-serve station in the country, or the fact that I can pay some guy from the supermarket a few dollars to help me carry my groceries home (I found that out by accident) or that my housekeeper costs me less than a week of Dunkin Donuts purchases. Those things aren’t hard to adjust to. It’s odd things like not understanding quite how your washer and dryer are supposed to work, or not knowing which brand of soap works as well as Tide does… Or trying to get used to the idea that apparently they don’t have fabric softener sheets here.
Weird things like that are very hard to get used to.
I vacillate between loving the differences between cultures and being exasperated that they don’t do things the right way. Yeah, yeah, I know I am being ridiculous.
I live in the US (my country of origin) but I have spent lots of time in Germany (my mom is German) and in England (my husband is British). Recently his family visited, so even though I was in my own country, I was severly outnumbered. By the time they left, I was so tired of explaining American words and customs that I was getting pissy. I found myself thinking “Use the right word, dammit!!! It is not a boot, it is a trunk!! Aiiiiieeeee!” Then, in saner moments, I love culture differences and am so glad that we are not one big bland culture.
It’s not that I can’t find fabric softener, it’s that I can’t find the little dryer sheets (maybe I should have said dryer sheets to begin with).
My husband is South African (currently living in Egypt), so that’s why South Africa. Why I moved, though, was basically for sanity purposes. I guess I burned out a little on the daily grind of my life in the States. Where in SA were you?
I was born and raised in Cape Town. Definately worth a trip if you get a chance. Work took me to South Florida and now Atlanta. Actually, I’ve never been to Pretoria so you probably know more about it than I do
If you need any advice or questions answered regarding living in SA, I may be helpful. Are you staying permanently? How are the immigration procedures? I hear they’re even more painful than the US.
I’m in the same situation as you and I think we have the same dryer! I have my mom send me packages of Bounce :). Seriously, I do. Everyone here seems to think I’m nuts for not just hanging my clothes out on the line, but they get all hard and crunchy that way.
Food has been the hardest thing for me to get used to. Everything’s named the same thing, but it’s slightly different. Pizza is a good example. It’s really good, but it’s not pizza. Pizza doesn’t come in tandoori chicken flavor with yogurt instead of sauce.
Food is definitely a big adjustment. I ordered shrimp cocktail the other day, expecting something along the lines of cold shrimp with cocktail sauce. I got a bowl of those mini shrimp all mixed in with a sauce that kindasorta resembled cocktail sauce, but not quite.
Pizza is different here, too. I never thought I’d actually long for a Domino’s pizza, and be willing to consider it a “real pizza”. And then there are even more basic things - like not being able to find Italian sausage. I think my next appliance purchase is going to be a sausage machine because I have to have Italian sausage for my spaghetti sauce. Whole chickens here - the very best of them - just can’t hold a candle to Perdue chickens and are barely larger than a cornish game hen.
Ordered cream soda once, and got “creme soda” which is green, and vile. Lemonade turns out to be some vaguely lemon-lime flavored soda. “Fried mushrooms” are sauteed mushrooms, not battered-n-fried mushrooms (those are crumbed mushrooms). I asked for cream for my coffee, and got a little dish of whipped cream (along with a very strange look).
Of course there are the good things… Savory pies are everywhere, and I can get steak and kidney pie whenever my heart desires. Eggs are nicer here, with a better flavor. And I’ve finally broken myself into the habit of not feeling compelled to stick them in the refrigerator. And oddly enough, I can find some things that I was just convinced I wouldn’t be able to - like fish sauce and sweet chili (sorry, chillie) sauce, and coconut milk.
A large part of the appeal in coming here, of course, was the chance to experience a completely different world, and I am definitely getting that. There are some things I just don’t actually want to have to think about. My washing machine is one of them
Funny, I think what you grow up with to a large degree determines what you like later in life … I had the same horrifed reaction against US take away pizza, longing for a Debonairs avocado and feta cheese delight
You should really just stick with milk in your coffee. And I bet you’ve noticed they won’t give you much ice in your soft drinks. I have to ask for no ice all the time here because I can’t really handle it.
You should probably see if there is a Woolworths food market in your area. They may have more of the specialized items than the regular supermarkets. I’d be surprised if you can’t find Italian sausage there.
What am I chopped liver? (Or whatever passes for Chopped Liver in S. Africa.) I had a printed collection of Madam & Eve comic strips, despite my having never been to the country of origin. I see it is still being published, but I would like to ask if it is in your local paper?
Not sure how much it is per load, but cost is only one consideration. There is also the fact that the dryer is noisy and horrible, it is hard on clothes, and contrary to what others have said in this thread, I really like clothes that have been dried outdoors - they seem fresher or something.