Today we were struck with a tremendous irony (I think it’s irony. I don’t actually know how to use the word irony properly. For awhile in Chicago, Richelle and I were really into the TV series Castle. The lead character, playing a crime author / murder mystery solver / NYPD homicide detective sidekick, was always complaining about how people overuse and don’t really understand irony. Probably he was referring to me). Anyway, today we were struck with something that seems to me to be ironic. Richelle and I have been married for nearly eight years and yet we have never purchased a major household appliance until today. We have always lived in rented apartments where the fridge / stove / microwave / etc. were already furnished and we always went to the laundry-mat to wash clothes.
Today, here in Wolaita Soddo, we just purchased our very own college dorm room-style refrigerator and, strangely, we feel really grown up about it. Why does this seem ironic? I guess because buying household appliances seems like one of those really home-making sort of things that people do, but after eight years of living together, Richelle and I are now living in our least “homey” place; we’re living in the place that seems least our own. We are now living in a three-room space (concrete walls and floors, no real kitchen, running water only two days a week, draining water only in the bathroom, hot water only after boiling it, and beds made of plywood propped up on wooden blocks) in the middle of a dorm-style row of children’s rooms. Children are always running and screaming just outside our door (sometimes they just open the door and walk in). Kids are often peering in our windows as we work on the computer, wash dishes or make coffee. And I can’t work in the garden without fifteen little “helpers.” Yet, somehow, this place feels a little more like “ours” because, together, we just invested in a refrigerator.
P.S. We have created a sort of kitchen… plywood countertops propped up on wooden blocks, 3-electric burner hotplates for a stove, and a plastic basin and bucket with spout for a sink. And now a fridge (though the fridge is in our bedroom because there’s not enough space for it in our kitchen – nor enough electricity).