Of all life’s mundane tasks that I dislike the most, laundry is at the top of the list. It’s the Sisyphean stone of chores. There are so many tedious steps involved – taking your clothes from the dirty clothes bin to to the wash machine, coming back, putting them in the dryer, returning once more to take them out of the dryer, folding the clean clothes, and finally putting them into your drawers – and, unless you were do this whole process stark naked, you are never ever done with it. There are always more dirty clothes.

Whats more, for such a long, involved process, laundry is so unsatisfying. In part I think this is because laundry and clothes are kept out of sight. It’s not like cleaning a bathroom, which never fails to delight me – a clean bathroom does not look like a dirty bathroom. In contrast, my dresser and laundry bin both look the same at the beginning and end of the laundry chore process.

(Even cleaning out closets or refrigerators, while the contents are also usually hidden from view, is a big step up. I suspect this is because the change is so much longer lasting and can be maintained, whereas laundry, as mentioned, is never done.)

Don’t even get me started on hand washing.

This is likely one of the key reasons why I look back on my time in Buenos Aires so fondly. It’s not even an option at most laundromats to DIY your laundry. Instead, standard procedure is to drop off your dirty clothes and return the next day to find them cleaned, folded, and ironed for you, at a very reasonable price.

Life has never been so good before or since then. Europe was pretty bad – there are few dryers so laundry usually air dries, further elongating the laundry process – but my trepidation towards laundry may have reached its zenith in my current home. While I’ve always struggled with laundry, (just ask my mom, she will confirm,) I now face the additional barrier of four flights of stairs to the laundry room in the basement. Four flights of stairs! This means that in order to complete one load of laundry, I must climb 12 flights of stairs. Woe to me if I do something silly, like forget that my laundry card doesn’t have enough money on it and I must go upstairs again to find cash. Or, also bad, I need to do two loads of laundry, which entails a total climb of 20 flights of stairs.

All this is to say that I did loads of laundry this weekend, and I am clearly not over it yet.




A million weeks later

A million weeks later and I still have no air conditioning. It is mid-July in DC. Walking outside is like being in a sauna you cannot escape. In contrast, I just got back from glorious Portland, where the temperatures rise above 70 F during the day and yet dip below 60 F every night, mountains are on the horizon, and the air feels good in your lungs. Can you blame me for being out of sorts?

Things came to a head yesterday when it seemed I could do no right in any realm of my life. I had hoped that this morning I would have a fresh start, but instead my streak of incompetency continued! (Three phrases: laundry, Comcast, and US postal service.) So I called my mom, who passed along the wisdom of the ages: this too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

So I took myself out for a late lunch to my very favorite lunch spot –  an exceptionally tasty Japanese rice bowl spot with reasonable prices and a bar where I can dine without feeling self-conscious about being alone. Then I came to the bright, air-conditioned cafe where I am now. I spent a long while chatting with an old friend, and moved through a few items on my to-do list.

It is now already past 5pm, and much of my to-do list is still not done, but I am feeling more at peace. Tonight I will watch a movie while sitting on my couch directly in front of my fan, drink a cold beer, and go to sleep early. As my mother would say, tomorrow is another day.


The above picture is from the Portland Japanese Garden – one of my many favorite places in PDX.


I wish I could astound you with tails of my adventures, but this week suffers from a lack of them. I’m really buckling down and getting a lot of work done, so the closest thing I have to an adventure was my important class presentation on Wednesday. My group totally rocked it, by the way. It was for my hardest class, and I’ve lost track of how many hours we put in, but it turned out very well in the end. The class is entitled, “International Conflict Management,” and amusingly enough, there were moments when it felt like we were managing an international conflict of our own while working on the presentation. My group was composed of American me, a Dane, a Croatian, a Czech, a Bosnian, a Macedonian, and a Slovenian. Whew! Cool, eh?

Our presentation was on Macedonia, and how the international community managed (er, attempted to manage?) the conflict. I knew absolutely nothing about Macedonia before the presentation, except maybe that Greece is blocking it from entering the EU because it feels like the name Macedonia belongs to Greece. Now I know quite a lot. A three sentence horribly simplistic summery for you: Two main ethnic groups in Macedonia, the Macedonians and Albanians. They don’t speak the same language, have practically completely separate societies, but live in the same country. Complications, violence, ceasefire, more complications ensue.

My other grand adventure this week was attending the International Film Festival. I went with a friend to a screening of the highly International Film, “Singin’ in the Rain.” Even though I’ve seen it a million times, it still managed to be even better than I remembered….Yes, of course they have a huge variety of international films, both old and modern, but most of them don’t have English subtitles. My Slovenian isn’t quite good enough yet for reading subtitles beyond, “yes, no, dancing. Singing. People.” So, I’m sticking to the English language films, sorry. They do have one or two in Spanish if I remember correctly, but also if I remember correctly, both are very dark. I spend enough of my time reading about international conflicts, I don’t need to go become more depressed about the world.

In summery, this week: Reading, reading, freaking out about taking the Foreign Service Officer Exam, reading, presentation, reading, movie, drinking my body weight in milky coffee, AHHHH I totally forgot! I went to USA vs. Slovenia football (soccer) game on Tuesday night! Sorry I blanked on it. I think my presentation the next day overshadowed it. It was really foggy, so it’s hard to say that I “saw” the game. Regardless, it was pretty great. We won, FYI. The funniest part was the copious amount of riot police. Slovenia must be one of the least riot-prone places on earth for a football game. It would be like…like, er. People in Switzerland rioting or something. Plus, no beer is available inside of the stadium! And you’re not even allowed to take it inside! Not that I was itching to get drunk, but I kind of orient watching sports with having a drink…The other funny part was that the stadium was dead silent whenever the US scored a goal. I shamelessly tried to make up for it, but I was fighting a loosing battle.

This week should bring some good post material for you, though! Thanksgiving! My roommates and I are hosting, and there will be a party of ten of us in the end. I’m making the stuffing. Yumm. I will be using this recipe as my guidelines, plus a little sage, I think:

One of the million bridges crossing the little river, and the newest. I don't remember what the locks have to do with anything, though. By the way, I took this photo a while ago. If I took it today, those people would be way more bundled up. We haven't gone about 35 or so for the last week, and those leaves on those trees are long gone.