It’s not all jet-set travel and alpine romps over here, folks. There is also the business of running a household and general day-to-day living. While it may not be very exciting or glamorous, it does have elements that pose challenges if not down right confusion for me on a regular basis. Here’s a quick little post about the four major areas along with photos so you can practice your German at home.
Aside from the language barrier, the biggest element that still throws me is the time you need to invest to clean a load of clothes or dishes. Both take considerably longer than the stateside machines. I will admit that having one machine doing the job of washing AND drying the clothes is still pretty cool. The washer/dryer is the one that I use the most but that I am still tweaking daily. I’ve got the settings mostly understood, and now it’s a matter of dialing in on temperature settings/rpm/clothing amount/detergent type and dryer settings to achieve the cleanest, least wrinkled, dry enough but not insane static electricity results. Running a load of laundry can run anywhere from 2 hours for a hand wash/hang dry load to eight hours for a full load of towels (five and a half if you use an expedited setting and don’t mind hang drying them for a little bit). Because the drum is smaller than we’re used to, and because it takes so long, some element of laundry happens on a near daily basis.
The dishwasher gave us a lot of issues in the very beginning because it spoke German and we did not. It also required elements that we were not used to our dishwasher demanding: mainly a clearing agent and salt. That’s right: salt. I was able to get the translation part down and with some help even understood the right products to purchase. What took a little while longer was figuring out exactly what to do with the salt for the very first run. The manual was not terribly helpful. Luckily youtube was. This dishwasher felt a little high maintenance in the beginning, but it has settled in nicely, and it even sings a proud little tune when its cycle has ended (2-5 hours). What still throws us is where the silverware goes. It’s not like the typical US dishwashers I’ve seen. You must lay the silverware individually within their own little top rack. I was told it was a philosophy, but not one everyone embraces. I think it’s fine, but we quite often forget it’s there.
Next, each room has a panel that controls the lights, heat, and sunshades and room darkening shades. In theory, anyways. While we understand the various elements, we run into buggy behavior regularly, and assume it is somehow tied to the still unresolved electrical and network connectivity issues.
That brings me to the final piece of confounding technology: our home cockpit central control. It is not functioning properly or with any degree of consistency and as such we still have no doorbells, video monitoring, certain shades, or ability to adjust various aspects of this fancy-dandy, high tech home. When it is working, it is very intimidating, filled with technical German and idiomatic phrases. When it’s not working it’s even more intimidating. I feel like a monkey poking the touch screen with a stick in the hopes that *something* will work. It hasn’t yet. Someday the electrician may return. Until then, I’ll keep poking.