At the end of last year, I made a choice. A decision applauded by some and mocked by others. I was no longer going to hand wash my clothes. All throughout last year I spent hours each week washing my clothes in a bowl. Blisters constantly appeared on my hands, as my skin doesn’t favor calluses. Every weekend I would groan at the knowledge that that big, pink bowl was watching me from its resting place between the dry sink and white shelves, waiting for me to pick it up, put some hot water and laundry detergent in it, and start the monotonous, painful task of washing.

I’m fine with my other ger-living tasks. Getting water is a nice outdoor workout, cleaning is a tension reliever and cooking is like mad science. But washing clothes? Never gonna like it. Instead, I decided to start paying the guesthouse house where I stay in UB to wash them for me. For five thousand tugriks (three dollars) I can wash a sizeable amount of clothes in a real washing machine. And no, I’m not talking about one of those Mongolian spinners which, as the name eludes, spins the clothes in water, after which a person takes them out, rinses them in a big bowl, and puts them in the drier spinner, which once again spins the clothes, this time squeezing most of the water out. Instead, I’m talking about a real American-esque washing machine. One that, dare I say it… actually cleans clothes?!

Now you can label me lazy. You can say I’m shirking my volunteer duties. Really, call me anything you want; I couldn’t care less. And you know why? Cause I just did laundry in UB for three dollars, and my hands are blister-free.


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