Sunday, October 10, 2010


Many of the countdowns in my life have involved laundry. 

Yes – you read that correctly – laundry. 

Before we get to that, a thing or two about countdowns – there is about ten weeks left of my time here in Kenya.  A few weeks ago, Ginnie posted her 100 days to COS blog entry, two weeks ago, my group, the 2009-2011 folks, well, what’s left of us – 24 our of 42, came together for what could possibly be the last time we all would be in the same room for our COS conference.  There is about seven weeks of school remaining, and not counting the exam weeks, about five weeks left of instruction (probably less, as unexpected things have a way of happening around here). 

I have numerous things to do before I leave, packing up my things, planning post-COS traveling with some people (there is already a long email thread between my group), finishing up my teaching, and trying to do a few last things on the Coast that I have yet to do so. 

So, laundry. 

During my freshman year in University, I lived in Krug Hall (to you current Gallaudetians, Ballard Residence Complex West, I think, but for me, it would always be Krug), the only dorm without an elevator on the campus. I lived on the 4th floor, the top floor of the dorm.  The laundry room, with only four washers and four dryers for approximately 300 students, is in the basement, so I became an expert in running downstairs to ensure there were free washers and dryers, then rushing back four flights of stairs to pick up my bin of dirty clothes and rushing back down.

The last few weeks of my residency in Krug Hall, at the end of my freshman year, I was counting down the times I needed to do laundry.  I remember clearly the feeling of relief when I arrived to the fourth floor with my clean and folded clothes for the last time ever. 

Years later, I was living in an apartment in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for tenement apartment buildings, where railroad apartments used to house immigrant families numbering in tens or twenties now only house two people.  For those buildings, bathrooms and laundry rooms were afterthoughts as immigrant families would use the outhouse in the backyard to do whatever they need to do and the laundry would always be washed by hand.  As a result of that, our bathroom consisted of an insanely small shower on top of the sink, and a toilet where you’d need to squeeze yourself in to sit on, and of course, no sight of a laundry room. 

The closest laundromat is about a five minute walk from my house, and while the sight of Brooklynites walking around with drawstring bags of dirty clothes in carts is pretty common, I hated toting it down two flights, walking for five minutes and then doing laundry there.  I remember at one point thinking I wished I were back in Krug. 

When I quit my job in New York, made arrangements to move out of Brooklyn, I remember making that last trip to the laundromat with glee.

Yesterday, when I was washing my laundry, for the nth time, I wished I were in Krug, or even Williamsburg laundry-wise.  While doing my second load, the non-white clothes, I started trying to calculate how many more time I would be doing laundry by hand in my living room or on the veranda of my house, and I realized with a start, that many of my major life changes had included countdowns in loads of laundry.

Seven weeks left of school? Pfft.  Five weeks left of instruction, whatever.  Ten weeks until COS, yeah yeah yeah. 

Seven-ish laundry days left in Kilifi.  That I can relate to. 


This blog consists of my personal thoughts and opinions. It does not in any way reflect the position of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.