Departure! The countdown is on...

July 29, 2009

A Reponse to Handwashing laundry

A fellow traveler of mine just recently posted a blog about hand-washing laundry and the thoughts she thinks while doing so.

I happen to really enjoy hand-washing my laundry. Firstly, I don´t really have anything overly pressing to occupy my afternoons so doing laundry every few days is fine with me. Also, my 11 year old host sister thinks no one should have to do their laundry alone because that´s boring so she does hers at the same time as me. We take this time to talk about everything and anything and often have mini Spanish-English lessons. I teach her things like the ''I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream rhyme'' and she tries to teach me to roll my Rs like in proper Spanish (which by the way, I still can't do). In the end, we have fun together and laundry isn´t so much a chore as a time to talk.

I love washing laundry with my host sister because I also learn more about the country. We talk about different things that happened during our days at school or at home or plans that we have for later on. Also, she loves to ask me about Canada and how things are done there so I do my best to explain, even though sometimes it is a very round about explanation because I don't know all the words in Spanish.

Doing laundry has become a wonderful time for discussion with my 11 year-old host sister. I remember reading Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and how much he stressed that we must live and dialogue with 'the other' and I can't believe how true this has been for me in the past months. At home in Canada, laundry is a chore to be done only as often as need be so that I don't run out of clean socks and underwear, but here I wash every two or three days and it becomes a time of dialogue. When I first came washing the people I lived with and the act of washing laundry by hand, along with many many others things were completely unfamiliar to me. The first time I did my laundry, my host mom took over partway through because I think it pained her to watch me go so slow, not to mentioned all the water that I splashed on myself instead of the laundry. But now, as is true for most things in this country, I now enjoy it, it is a familiar part of my routine. Something so simple has become a time for conversation with others and leads to learning more about the culture I am living in.


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