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Sunday, 22 February 2015

61. Learning new skills

I was wide awake with the fairies early this morning.  For some insane reason, at the vampire-worthy time of 1am, I started trying to recall how many times I had moved houses and countries.  For the sake of not driving you (or myself!) mad, my tally will commence from when Matt and I started dating: four times in Australia, five in Hong Kong, twice in London and twice in Singapore. That’s 13 to add to the home we have now settled in the US – bringing the total to a mind boggling 14 houses we have called home since we met in 1996. 14 times in 19 years!  Holy Toledo!  Which brings me to my subject du jour: moving so much can be character defining, forcing you to either swim or sink – gracefully or not, is another matter!

More a glam-per than a camper, though I keep a tidy-ish house, a domestic goddess I am not -- not even by the furthest stretch of anyone’s imagination!  While I do find myself constantly shutting doors left open about the house and picking up socks and other paraphernalia strewn around (laying-in-wait for me to trip over!), cooking is my only ‘domestic’ skill - something I picked up in earnest after the girls were born.  No Nigella nor Delia, my hands are often covered in some sort of burn or cut.  Oh well, there goes my career as a professional hand model but at least there is always something yummy on the stove.  Which brings me to ANOTHER activity which ensured my non-existent hand model career never took off: IRONING!!

Full disclosure: I am quite possibly the worst ironer in the world.  In fact, if there were an Olympic Games for NOT being an accomplished ironer, I could very well take the gold!  So, somehow, right up until recently, I managed to dodge the whole ironing ‘thing’! When I was younger, everything was either sent to the washers or the dry cleaners. Then, once the girls came along, I lived in a la-la-cloud whereby the countries we lived in offered very affordable housekeeping – COMPLETE with fabulous ironing.  So, in the summer of 2014, shortly after landing on the fabulous shores of Connecticut, I found myself sobbing over the cold hard reality of an ironing board one Saturday night

That night, panicked by my meltdown, Matt began madly researching cleaning companies on the Internet.  “You don’t understand!”  I gulped between tears, “nobody irons here! They only clean!” What Matt did not realise was that was the same week I had learnt that a. nobody ironed,  b. if they had an ironing lady, they weren’t sharing, c. the local dry cleaners charged in excess of $30 to do sheets - PER piece!  And my list of discoveries went on! More than once, I found myself being assigned the role of ‘chump’ when I confessed my conundrum.  I was even led on a merry chase in search for some mysterious laundry spray which ‘relaxed’ clothes enough to make them look ironed -I think someone was having a laugh at my expense (aka “taking the mickey”).

Anyway, getting back to Matt. Ever so practical, my husband was irritated that I wanted to solve this by myself.  “I don’t understand it!  At 40-something, you want to start ironing?  Why would anyone want to start doing this at your age?  Besides, you are REALLY bad at it!”  I didn’t have a comeback line because he was right.  I was really bad.  But that was probably my a-ha moment when I became determined to get at least a little good at this whole laundry thing – I hate being “really bad” at anything.

Fast forward 6 months and I have found my rhythm and thankfully no longer burst into tears at the mountain of ironing beckoning my not-so-bad expertise.  I find myself earnestly wondering what mysterious portal that second sock could possibly have disappeared to, how one child could possibly manage FOUR changes of pyjamas in one day, and other (as one friend put it) first world country ‘problems’.  And yet, I am thankful.  For a new skill aka making me more independent – to add to my other newly learnt skills since moving here:          1. driving on the other side of the road

                                                                                2. lighting a fire

                                                                                3. shovelling snow

                                                                               4. thinking in imperial vs metric                                                                                                               
And so the learning continues.

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