05 September 2009

Navigating the Laundry Room

The day that I arrived in Suzhou, I was aching to do laundry. I don’t particularly enjoy the act; however, I DO really enjoy feeling clean and smelling nice...or at least having people willing to stand next to me because I am wearing clothes that are at least relatively odor- and stain-free.

This was easier said than done. Remember that I am in China...naturally, all of the buttons are in Chinese. After an initial attempt to do it myself, which failed, and then asking for help from a woman next door who apparently speaks no Chinese, my roommate, Andreina’s roommate, who is one of my roommate’s good friends, and I all went down together. This was very helpful in that they could, for example, translate and tell me what the buttons said and how much detergent the chart on my bag told me to use. However, neither of them had used a washing machine before, which just made for an interesting mix.

After some time and lots of questions from all of us, we each found an empty washer and put in our garments. Forty-five minutes later, when the cycle was supposed to be over, we found that mine had, in fact, never started...never fear! Just press some more buttons and try again. At least, that’s my strategy, and it seems to be theirs, as well.

Somehow, the other FiC participants seem to think that I am the laundry authority because my clothes “smell good” after coming out of the washer, and theirs apparently do not. Maybe I just put in too much detergent.

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