I’ve often been asked what I miss most (after family and friends, of course) about living in the US. This question invariably catches me off guard, and I’m always stumped for a suitable reply. I guess I have lived here long enough that I don’t even think about such things any more.
I believe I now have a definitive answer. Those of you who know me well might guess I’d say Popeye’s fried chicken. Good thinking, but my existence really isn’t that adversely affected by a lack of two-piece-spicy-white-meat-with-red-beans-and-rice-and-a-biscuit-please.
With Cynthia gone for two weeks I’ve been responsible for all the household chores, specifically those food-related—shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. We have a loosely-enforced agreement around here that whoever cooks, the other one cleans up. Well, with one soldier MIA that plan goes out the window.
And herein lies my discovery. I can now state unequivocally that what I miss most about the States is----
That’s right. A dishwasher. An appliance that you put the dirty dishes in, close the door, push the button, and the dishes come out clean.
Overall our apartment is wonderful. It’s large and modern with incredible views of the city and surrounding mountains. Our shower looks like it came from the set of a sci-fi movie, and the hot tub has a remote control.
Because the apartment was originally intended for the owner of the building it is designed in the Ecuadorian way with the expectation of live-in help. We have a maid’s bedroom and bath upstairs.
This domestic help would be expected to do everything—clean, wash and dry the clothes, iron, shop, cook---and wash the dishes. Thus no need for a dishwashing appliance.
We have a maid who comes once a week which is enough for our needs. Even if we could afford full-time help we wouldn’t want someone living upstairs—it would be kind of creepy. And we certainly don’t want to eat Ecuadorian food every meal.
So we hand wash all the dishes, pots, and pans every meal. This is by no means my favorite task. But I hate to come into a dirty kitchen first thing in the morning so normally everything is cleaned up the night before.
That routine has been altered during Cynthia’s absence. As I said I don’t like washing dishes in the first place and don’t mess up enough at one time by myself, so my alternate strategy has been to just avert my eyes from the cluttered sink when I come in to make coffee in the morning.
I’ve learned that leftover brie takes on the consistency of super-glued pieces of automobile tires when left overnight. And that I seem to use the same knives and utensils over and over, which requires fishing them out for repeated washing anyway.
While not profound (and maybe even silly-sounding) I do miss having a dishwasher. A lot. Yes, I could opt for paper plates and plasticware. But that seems so picnic-y.
Being here without my sweetheart is definitely no picnic.