Ok so I know that the title is like the WORST kind of typical millennial white-girl blabber, but hear me out. I have been thinking a lot about the little differences in my daily life here in Maria Elena and my life at home in the U.S. And you know what? I take a lot for granted!
For example, in Maria Elena we frequently lose power. Sometimes for just a little bit, sometimes for a whole day, but I would say it’s an on-average once-a-week experience that we go some amount of time without electricity. This, however, is preferred to when the water is shut off, which also happens (although fortunately less frequently). At first, I was like, WTF is this, yo? How am I supposed to be expected to go even an hour without electricity?
But you know what? I don’t have internet at home anyway, so it is not like I am suddenly cut off from sitting on my computer aimlessly surfing the corners of the web. We have TVs in the house, but I do not usually watch much TV anyway. We don’t have, nor need, AC or heat. I have my two feet, and I can go for a walk. I keep my phone and my Kindle charged so that I can listen to podcasts or read. And there’s definitely plenty of daylight in this land of endless sun to read by. The power will come back soon.
There are also plenty of little conveniences that are standard in American life that I don’t have here. In addition to the aforementioned lack of heat/AC, we don’t have a clothes dryer, a garbage disposal, or a dishwasher. No matter what I do, I cannot get stable water temperature or pressure in my shower (I have always believed that showers is where the U.S. really excels compared to other countries). I cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet.
But hey, at least I have a toilet and a shower! At least I have a clothes washer, and don’t have to wash my clothes by hand. And the dry desert air is pretty effective at drying clothes you hang up. And given my extremely limited ability with cooking, I have become the house’s dishwasher as my contribution to mealtimes. It turns out you can get by without all those things.
Another major convenience I am doing without is a car. A car is freedom, a right of passage. At home, everyone has a car; in my family we have five cars for four people (which sounds a little insane). Here I am in this tiny town and I have no way of leaving or getting anywhere else without taking a bus or relying on others. I am an independent woman coming from an independent culture where we all go where we want when we want to. But in doing so, we end up constantly focusing on doing things solo and lose a little bit the value of sharing with or having to rely on others.
Because in the end all those little conveniences and all the stuff (read: crap) we collect are not that important. As long as you are healthy (and can travel!) and have people in your life that you care about and that care about you, you´ll be fine.