Among the things that I miss from the states are access to a free library with new books arriving each week, my french press, and the electrical appliances that make life so easy.
My apartment is surrounded by rose bushes and trees, and is sheltered by the mountains to the east. I get a beautiful southwestern sun in the afternoon. One day, the young boy next door was practicing his piano music, which echoed perfectly in our courtyard. But I have none of the modern conveniences, which I sometimes miss. I have a sink with running water, which runs cold very quickly. I have two burners, which take a long time to heat. I have a small refrigerator, which means shopping every day or so. I can put an ice cream cone in the freezer and it is full.
There is nothing that slows you down like washing your clothes by hand, wringing them dry and leaving them outside to dry. If it is rainy or windy, they end up in the bathroom, or spare room. you have to leave a window open or they start to go musty. You must plan ahead if you want to take a weekend trip. You definitely don’t want to pack damp clothes.
The smell of air dried clothes is pleasant, though.
My vacuum cleaner barely works, and so I am back to sweeping the carpet. After many years of never having a dishwasher or a microwave, I have used one for the past three years. Now, I have none of these. It is nice to wash dishes by hand but they are in sight until you dry them and put them away. My kitchen is tiny, and the dishes stacked up make it look cluttered. The microwave and electric kettle speed up things, if I just want a single cup of tea. I have yet to buy an iron, and am wearing only clothes that don’t need an iron.
I have, of course, a hairdryer, because wet hair here is taboo.
Do I miss my car? Yes, and no. I certainly miss the fun of driving long distances when I please. here I am at the mercy of a bus schedule. ( I could rent a car but even though I am used to DC traffic, the driving here requires a certain set of skills and confidence I don’t possess.) No, I don’t miss looking for parking or people honking. I don’t miss spending money filling a gas tank. Walking around allows me to see more and feel the changing rhythms of the city.
And the postal service. In the states, how easy to get a letter or send a package. If I need a new book or shoes or a french press, I can go online and with a day or two I have this at my front door. It took 5 weeks for a postcard to make its way from Mostar to the states.
But what I miss most ( besides my family and cats) is the library. I brought some novels with me but I am rereading them for the second time. I could download a novel from the internet or the library but what I miss is the ritual of going to the library, with a list of book titles. I miss browsing the new book shelves or perhaps browsing the book shelves as one title leads me to another. Here there are book stores but my knowledge of local language is limited. I am learning but slowly.
I do have the internet but it is a limited communication tool. And it won’t do my laundry.