Ovens, Hot Water, Sugar Sachets and Cereal Packets
So after my cockroach encounter earlier this week it made me think about any other random experiences I've had since moving here. The first thing that sprang to mind is actually something that I've only recently been made aware of, that having hot water and an oven in your kitchen is actually a bit of a rarity here! I know I apologise as I never realised how lucky I was to have both of these amenities.
I was not that involved in the condo hunting when my fiance first moved here. Mainly because he came in January 2010 and I did not join him until the July. I came out here when he first moved and we viewed a few but none of those came to anything and I honestly don't remember anything about there being no ovens or hot water in the kitchens of those. Perhaps we were lucky and had an agent who was well aware of these peculiar requirements from Westerners and so just found properties with these in for our viewing. With the greatest respect to my fiance he was not aware of that either at the time so I guess we were just very lucky.
I duly arrived in July and thought nothing of it. In fact at the time of arrival the thing I found a bit weird was having water heaters you had to switch on whenever you knew you might want hot water. We've currently got one that heats up the water in our en suite and another for the main bathroom and kitchen. This just seemed strange after being used to timers on heating systems which are normally set to switch on automatically to heat up the water at set times of the day. However I've more than got used to this now and actually think it makes a lot more sense as you only need to heat the water when you actually want it.
My biggest dismay at the time I arrived was that we only had showers in the flat and no bath. Oh how little I knew, I'd have been very flummoxed with the no oven and no hot water if that had been the case too. To be honest, although if we stay anywhere that has a bath that is now my standard luxury, I don't miss having a bath whenever I want half as much as I thought I was going to.
Asides from the unappreciated (for so long) luxuries that our flat has to offer there are other things that still amuse me, firstly that you only seem to be able to buy sugar in sachets or cube form. I don't mean caster sugar, icing sugar etc. but regular sugar that you use for sweetening drinks etc. (yes there are a few of us who still occasionally like a little extra sweetness in our tea or coffee). The sachets aren't a problem but I'm still amused that you don't seem to be able to buy a bag of sugar here like you can in the UK. Please tell me if I'm mistaken on this!
Cereal packets are another thing, they are so small here. I eat cereal most mornings and end up having to buy so much of it due to the size of the boxes which I eat in no time. I know another expat who has three teenage sons all eating cereals for breakfast who must have to buy boxes and boxes of it every week just to keep them fed. I appreciate cereal is not a normal breakfast for locals and is probably mainly only eaten by expats, but I've spent many hours searching for a bigger box of something but to no avail.
All of these things I can, of course, live with and in the case of the oven and the water it sounds like I have it pretty good. It does make me wonder though if there is anything else we've got access to that I take for granted.