Everywhere we look, there are things that look familiar— such as a giant hardware store with an orange color scheme that gives nod to Home Depot, even though it is called Mitre 10 and car makes we’re familiar with but models we’ve never seen or heard of.
Case in point: the newest resident at our address—a Toyota Ipsum we purchased last week. It’s a 6 seat crossover type vehicle (minivan meets small SUV). Like us, she’s a recent import. However, she came directly from Japan where large numbers of gently used cars are exported to other left hand drive countries at relatively low prices. The Ipsum greets us in Japanese and warns us if we’re too close to another object in her mother tongue, but some of her control buttons are in English. Go figure. Thankfully, you don’t need to know a language to use a backup camera or put the car in drive.
Washers and dryers fall in a similar category. They look similar. Sort of. Our washing machine is on the small size by US standards. The dryer is positively miniature. Most people in New Zealand use dryers very rarely, if at all. Nearby, the mighty Waikato River cuts the city of Hamilton in half. Along the river are million and multi-million dollar homes with laundry flapping from clothes lines out back. It’s part cultural norm, part New Zealand’s emphasis on being green, and part economic. The cost of the electricity is high. Using a dryer just isn’t worth it for many kiwis.
I’m still trying to navigate this new means of laundry. Gone are the days of large loads washing, drying, and getting folded once or twice a week. Instead, a small load or two must be washed early in the day and hung out on the line with enough time and sunshine and breezes left to get it dry. Bring it in and fold it in the afternoon or evening. Repeat every day or two.
Unless you forget. After spending the evening in Auckland (an hour and a half drive each way) and arriving home late one night last week, I completely forgot to bring in the laundry. Wouldn’t you know, it rained? Confession: I got my damp sheets and towels off the line the next morning and threw them in the dryer, ready to start again with the next load.
I asked my new friend for some laundry advice. You know you have a good friend when she’ll laugh at you and then answer your questions to the best of her ability.
Laundry not drying fast enough? Maybe I need a portable clothes hanger that I can move around the lawn following the sunshine. That’s what she uses. Good idea.
Detergent to buy? Persil. Or this Eco ball thing she is loving. Excellent suggestions. There’s nothing remotely like a Sam’s-sized dispenser of Tide or All on the shelves here.
No, the sun does not fade the laundry. No, it’s not really a problem in winter. (I’m not yet convinced on this one… Cloudier, rainier, colder, and more humid conditions do not seem ideal for drying clothes.) By then, I will have mastered this, of course.
There is one thing I am pretty confident about, however—my undies go in the dryer.
Just for fun… A Parting Shot