Amazing that, after two years of rolling this contraption out into our kitchen, it now seems completely normal
Our first few weeks here, back in 2009, were pretty rocky. The house we’d been given by the hubby’s employer was far from perfect. The bathroom walls had black mold, the kitchen was run-down, and there were broken floorboards throughout the place. When we raised these issues, the landlord told me, “Well, we cleared out that bat colony off your front porch just a few days before you arrived, so if you think about it in those terms, a moldy bathroom isn’t that big of a deal.”
At the time, I was indignant that a vacated bat colony could provide me with any comfort that our living situation wasn’t all that bad. Coming from my cozy little abode in Washington, with its stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, and proximity to Harris Teeter, I didn’t care that bats used to live at my new house in Kuala Lumpur. What mattered was that the fantasy of my romantic overseas adventure was grounded in a reality that meant we might have to live in substandard housing for two whole years. But I also felt really guilty bringing up my woes to the hubby. Along with our six suitcases, he’d brought with him a fair amount of guilt about uprooting us and taking me away from my life back home. Having us land in a shanty shack wasn’t his idea of the good times merry-go-round he’d envisioned for us, either.
The second night we arrived, I remember laying wide awake in bed, jet-lagged and willing myself not to cry. The hubby reached for my hand in the dark. “I know,” he said. “It sucks for me, too.”
Well, that did it. My emotional floodgates opened, and in between sobs, I choked out the things that bothered me about the house. About the move. About how freaking far away we were from everyone. The hubby listened, and he promised in the morning that we’d form a Survivor-esque alliance, marching in to the hubby’s office and demanding some repairs to make our house livable. And that’s exactly what we did. We talked to anyone who would listen for weeks, and eventually the hubby’s office came to the same conclusion that we had the second we’d walked into the place: there were too many repairs that needed to be done, and so we were moved to much improved digs.
It’s amazing how much the condition of your house can affect your mood and feelings. Almost immediately, it was like Kuala Lumpur was made of rainbow sidewalks and cotton candy clouds. Even though our new place was still nothing terribly fancy or modern, it was homey, comfortable, and best of all, it didn’t need major repairs. I was so grateful about our new place that the little quirks it had seemed downright trivial in comparison to where we’d moved from.
There are two hoses that connect to the dishwasher: one to the sink, and one to a wall outlet to provide power. Craziness!
Now that we’re winding down and starting to think about the logistics of moving home, I took a look around our house the other day. There are magazines to be thrown out and files to be consolidated. I mentally set aside the things that the Gravy Baby will need for the journey back. And I started daydreaming about what it will be like when we move home, and what our new house or apartment might look like.
All the while, our dishwasher roared mightily in the kitchen. And then it hit me; our dishwasher is really weird. It’s one of those things that every single visitor to our house has commented on, and yet I’ve never really thought anything of it. The dishwasher is a standard American-sized one, which means that it’s taller and wider than anything else in our Malaysian-sized kitchen, including our refrigerator. It’s on casters, so we’re not using it we can roll it into our pantry for safe storage. When we are using it, it has to be rolled out so that it takes up easily a third of our floor space in the kitchen. There’s a hose that connects it to the sink to provide the water supply, and a long electrical cord that plugs into the kitchen wall. The dirty water drains back into the sink from a second hose. Running it means that everything else in the house kind of has to come to a standstill — it’s so loud that we can’t talk over the noise without shouting at each other.
When we moved in two years ago and the landlord showed us this crazy contraption, I was so happy to be in our new home that I totally took it at face value, and I have ever since then. Only now that we’re moving does it dawn on me that it’s pretty insane to look at. Wherever we end up next, I’m pretty sure our dishwasher will be like any other good ol’ fashioned American dishwasher — mounted into the wall and humming away at a normal volume. And wow, do I look forward to that day.
Although, this dishwasher I have now sure beats a bat colony.