There are things you do every day that you never really think about, until you have to do them differently. Dishes come to mind when I long for the dishwasher which I enjoyed in each of the homes we lived in during our years in Columbus and Richmond. Not that I didn’t have to wash dishes at Grandma’s house or for the first few years we were married, but I had definitely not missed that particular chore. So at least once every day, I’ll be found at the sink scrubbing away 🙂
Laundry is also pretty different. We have a front load washer, and we add detergent and fabric softener in a drawer on the top. The wash cycle takes 2 hours and when it spins, it sound like a jet engine about to take off! Our washer also functions as a dryer!! But we haven’t really tested that feature. Maybe this winter… Every night, I put in a load of laundry and start the machine when we go to bed. In the morning, I hang up the clothes on this nifty drying rack we have…which means I take down, fold, and put away the now-dry clothes from the day before. And Lydia loves to “help” :^)
There also happen to be different rates for electrcity depending on the time of day, with nights (starting around 10) being cheaper. We have a switch for our hot water heater (on the panel with the bathroom light switch, which is right outside the door to the bathroom), so we can turn it on and off as we choose. So we choose to turn it on around 10 before bed and turn it off when we get up in the morning. This system works pretty well and our electric bill has never been more than $30 so far. Though it’s hard to tell how much difference this really makes and I’m not running the thing all the time to find out. The worst part is when both of us forget to check the switch before we go to bed. Which means that some days we end up with VERY short showers!!
When it’s time to pay said electric bill (or phone bill or parking tickets, etc…) you can go to any post office and take care of it. We do go to the cable office to pay for cable and internet, but apparently they will also come to your door (which we found out one night when this very nice lady came to collect our cable payment, which we had already taken care of several days previously…thankfully, I had enough Serbian AND the receipts from the last couple of months to show that we were current and we opted to keep paying at the office).
Our home phone bill is usually about $3.00, since you only pay for outgoing calls. And cell phone credit (which for most everyone is pre-paid), can be purchased just about everywhere. Which includes these “super” newstands found on most every corner as well as the little markets dotting the streets all over town.
It can be hard not to miss conveniences like dishwashers, dryers, mailing bills/paying online, and Wal-mart, but it’s such an incredible thing to experience life in another place and God has so blessed us through the privilege and challenge of living here these past 4 months!!
[Update 09-19-2008 10:00:31] Added flickr image from manmadeparts.