A little writing post, since I've been really busy with work lately and I feel like my posts have been more about pictures. The seasons seem to changing now, back to summer from "winter". Winter pretty much entailed rain, cloudier skies in general, and lots of wind. The temperature was a bit cooler, but no more than a degree or two. Summer time is warmer (I think much warmer feeling because there's hardly any cloud cover) and much less windy. In the morning we wake up and it is hot. Regular old hot. The breeze seems to die out overnight, and strengthens throughout the morning. Our beef with that is that morning is the sunniest time in our condo, so with the lack of wind and addition of the sun, it is super warm when we get up in the morning. It's not a huge problem, we just may start sleeping with the air conditioning again.
And on that note, what I had planned on writing this post about. I woke up this morning and it smelled like summer in Brazil. This place has a great smell to it. I have no idea what it comes from, but I forgot about it over winter. It's one of those smells that brings back memories (okay, we've not even been here a whole year) of the first times you smelled it. So I was thinking back on the things that I remember from when we first moved in here. We were without a lot of things that we had readily available in the US, and it really sort of seemed like we were doing without, in a 'livin tough' kind of way. Now those things we don't have I have almost totally forgotten about. Here's a little list:
1. We don't own a microwave. It's not a all-of-Brazil thing, I've seen then at lots of people's houses. We just didn't buy one when we moved in. This is something I used so many times a day in the states, and when we first got here thought we would have for sure bought eventually. Now I don't even remember what I would use it for. We're pretty accustomed to heating up leftovers on the stove and in the oven. We can pop popcorn on the stove pretty handily (except I think my corn is old, our last batch was awful). I don't even remember what else I used it for! Thawing out frozen things I guess....but in this climate all you have to do is leave it out for a tiny amount of time, and it's thawed.
2. Water heater. No houses or condos in our city (that we know of) have water heaters. That means cold showers, cold wash laundry, and dirty dishes are cleaned with cold water. That was what I had the hardest time with at first. I couldn't figure out how to get the grime off the dishes without heating up a pot of water and using it for dishes. Now we've found an all purpose bar soap (family, you're getting this soap for Christmas) that is the most amazing grease-fighting thing I've ever used. The laundry we've just upped the detergent, I don't notice that our clothes are any less clean. Except our Jiu Jitsu gis. They are pretty gross. They could use hot water. The showers were amazing in the summer time, since it was pretty hot out. Over the winter I missed a hot shower, but still, wasn't bad. We had an attachable water heater (for all you cautious people, this is a super sketchy device that attaches to your shower head and plugs into an outlet IN YOUR SHOWER...how's that for unsafe?) that ended up blowing up right after I got out of the shower, so we don't use that anymore. Our guest bath has a nice heater attachment, so maybe once a week I take a hot shower, just because I do notice feeling more clean (we've noticed ear wax removes easier with a hot shower) after a hot shower every now and then.
3. Dishwasher. We don't have that.... And it's pretty annoying. We're just so lazy and we both dislike doing dishes... Add in no hot water and they pile up more often than they should. But still, I don't think about it like I used to.
4. Garbage disposal. Don't have one of these, but have totally gotten used to the little mesh screen in our sink that catches the food. I did love to use the garbage disposal, but it's definitely not a necessity.
5. Air conditioning. There are two window units in our house, but they're only meant to be used at night in the bedrooms. All winter we haven't used ours at all. With the stronger winter breezes it's been so comfortable sleeping at night. But this morning I woke up drenched in sweat, so I think we might need to consider turning ours back on. We always have our windows open, and there are parts of the condo that are meant to be always open (our back window, for example, just used to be a gridded wall, you couldn't close it), and we don't have any problems with it at all. I used to imagine that there would be bugs, and figured that was the reason most US homes didn't go open air, but we're on the 13th floor, so we get a rare mosquito, but not more than once a month. All in all, I can't seem to remember why AC seemed so necessary in the states. I guess it might be hotter...or more humid... or less breezy. For some reason, not having AC in this climate works well.
That's pretty much it. I've been thinking about it, and I'd love to total up my 'carbon footprint'. I used to do that in the US, and it was relatively low for someone in the US, but here! We use very little electricity in the home, we use our car once a week, tops, about 90% of our food is grown in state.... I've gotta have a super great carbon footprint.
So. Moral of the story. Go turn off some appliances. You probably would be fine without them.