17 November 2011

Living Without...and With

My home has been without electricity for two weeks.Yes, two weeks.

What does this mean, you ask? How does one live without electricity? Let me tell you:
  • For bathing I have two choices: cold showers or warm bucket baths (after heating water on the stovetop). Both have advantages and disadvantages.
  • No leftovers. Anything I cook must be eaten that day since there is no cold refrigerator to put things in.
  • Early to bed, early to rise. Without power I go to bed early! And wake up early.
  • Limited laptop use. The battery life on my laptop has gotten significant shorter over the course of the year. This week is emphasizing that.
  • I'm learning to not agonize over emails (and blog posts!). I used to draft, re-read, draft again...now I just write and send. If I want to get the maximum time out of my computer I can't waste time reading and rereading.
  • Thank goodness RTC has power...I use my computer at home in the evening and then bring to the office each day to charge.
  • We used to lose power every day...in some ways not having power at all is easier. You know what to expect instead of hoping it might come back in an hour or two but not really knowing if that will happen.
  • In reality, few things in my day-to-day life/routine change without electricity.

To be honest, it's really not that bad. Would I like to be able to watch an entire movie on my laptop before it dies? Yes. Would I like to listen to music while I do things around the house? Of course. Would a hot shower be nice? Definitely! But none of those things are necessities and this year has taught me so much. I've learned to live without. Without: consistent electricity, hot showers every day, American consumerism, a schedule, a car, bagels, an oven, an excess of stuff, consistent internet access, a full keyboard on my cell phone, communicating in English, and the security of people who know me.

But before you feel sorry for me please know that I don't feel like I'm missing much. My boyfriend recently asked me what's the first thing I want to eat when I get back to the US. I couldn't think of anything I'm desperately missing. I told him: I have what I need. And I am grateful I for the means to get some of what I want. I am reminded every day how little I actually need. Including electricity

Because this year I've also learned to live with: people from other countries and cultures, less stuff, a new language, one jacket, beautiful people, a new sense of courage, prayers from many people, the means to give to those in need, the time to listen to others, mosquito nets, reminders of how big and small the world is, and love for a new country and culture.

I might not have electricity right now. And yes, it's annoying and I DO hope it comes back soon (rumor is maybe tomorrow!). But I'm learning that life continues.

Sorry, I take that back. Life is good.

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