Now that our air freight is here (glory, glory, blessed be - finally!) I will try to explain what it is like to live off the "welcome kit". Mind you, I am not trying to compare our "privations" to the lives of the impoverished, for whom even our meager surroundings may seem a bounty. But for those of you reading at home in your stocked houses or apartments, imagine this:
- You have to do laundry frequently because nobody has enough clothing to last a week.
- Down to the salt and pepper (in our suitcase this time!) if you want to make a meal, you must go out and buy every single ingredient. You don't already have in your pantry a bottle of olive oil, a jar of basil, a can of baking powder. Now repeat this experience a dozen times or more. And while we're at it, remember you have no car and you're new in town so you have to hand carry home every item you buy and you might get lost in the process. And sometimes you have to go somewhere else for your fruit, or your meat, or your dry goods - not a lot of one-stop shopping outside the USA. Good for building muscles!
- Your children have four toys so they spend a lot of time aggravating each other for entertainment. You can't count how many times you have told them about your friend's aunt whose toys throughout childhood were "One red pencil. And one blue pencil. You at least have more than that. Now go play."
- For two-pillow sleepers it is especially challenging to get a night's sleep, as the welcome kit pillows are more like one-half pillow. I resorted to snitching the kids' lovey-pillows if they weren't sleeping with them that night.
- Tummy bugs cause real panic, because there is exactly one set of sheets per bed. If the vomit doesn't make it into the bowl, the kid sleeps on a bare mattress until laundry can be completed. (We were blessed with sufficient notice, decent aim, and very good friends who loaned us a set of sheets).
- On a similar vein, on laundry day nobody can dry their hands or take a shower either, as there is also exactly one towel per person. Extra bonus for the exfoliation skills of the towels we have, as they are at least half sandpaper (be careful drying those sensitive spots!)
Ah, yes, the glamorous life!