We’re back, and really, it’s all back.
We received the warmest, craziest welcome you could imagine. There were so many kiddos pounding toward the truck; Mong Ey came running to us crying. We were all tongue-tied to remember our haphazard communication, but we just hugged and shouted.
And then the kids come every morning and every night, shouting “Stephen! Kelli”‘ They ask for water and play games and try to sneak into our kitchen.
And everybody knows our names.
Being back also means there was clean up to be had. Heidi, our coworker who was looking after our house & neighborhood while we were away, sweetly cleaned up before we came home and put some groceries in our fridge. This was so helpful, allowing us to have dinner and sleep.
Then Thursday, we tackled the deeper clean.
In our house, we have no closed cabinets, which means everything we own was left to collect three months worth of dust. We spent a significant amount of time dusting and wiping. This included every single cup, plate, serving dish, and measuring spoon in the kitchen, all washed and dried by hand in a bathroom-sized sink.
We also swept up cobwebs and scared lizards out of the kitchen and mopped up behind them.
The worst–even worse than the many, many dishes–was cleaning the bathroom. I really dislike our bathroom. The rest of the house is fine and salvageable, but the bathroom–it’s just ugly and gross, and I could never decorate enough or clean enough to save that. It is a “wet bathroom”, so you shower into the whole room. The sink, squatty potty, and metal cupboard are constantly wet. The room is constantly humid, even after a cold shower. Bugs thrive here, and the toilet paper is almost always damp. And just to top it all off, the landlords chose horrible tile. In the tiniest room there are more shades of blue than I could count, including little clock tiles that surround the room, constantly pointing to 9:05. We are eternally late.
I really explain all that to say this: since the whole room is tile and wet, I clean while I am in the shower and naked. This allows me to fearlessly use excessive amounts of bleach, so I can at least attempt to have a clean bathroom once a week.
Stephen was mopping yesterday while I was cleaning the bathroom. One of the secret hiding places of critters is behind our “extra water tub”– a large tub of water in the bathroom that we keep full for when we run out of water. This seems odd, yes, but just keep reading and it won’t seem so crazy. Because it is full of water, though, creatures like to hide in the humid darkness behind it and come out for water. They usually die before too long, and I simply wash out the dead bug carcasses regularly.
I know how jealous you are of my bathroom now.
Well this time, I poured a water & bleach mixture down behind the tub, expecting some carcasses to run out and down the drain. And while I was expecting a high number of carcasses, I was not expecting a large number of live cockroaches, big and small, to descend upon me.
I’ll admit, I responded as though I have just been in America for three months. I screamed. I’ll claim it was something about the vulnerability of being naked and having nothing but my skin to protect me from these vile creatures.
Stephen came to the rescue with a shoe and we successfully discovered and attacked the nest of cockroaches. It will still probably take me a few weeks to enjoy showers.
And having used an excess amount of water to clean our dishes & clothes, flood the bathroom, and mop our floors, we ran out of water. Bummer. We are currently using the aforementioned “extra water tub” and praying for water to come back on soon. I’d really love to cook and take a shower and just be.
What can we say?
We’re back, in full grandeur.