Sunday, August 28, 2011
Living a Simpler Life
As our container of household items floats along the Pacific Ocean we have been forced to live with the bare minimum. We packed our suitcases 2 months ago and that is all we brought.
We arrived to a lovely rented house with minimal furnishings and kitchen items. It is far less than half of what we owned in Canada but in reality, we haven't needed much else.
Sure I've been cursing the fact that we don't have a dishwasher, but to be honest, some days I enjoy the soothing warm water as I take my time to scrub away and look out the window above my sink. Some nights my husband and I quietly do the dishes together, one washes, one drys, we don't say much but just the feeling of being together for a simple purpose is comforting.
Our stove and oven is of the 1970's variety and I avoided using it for the first couple of weeks, luckily we had meal tickets at our inlaws across the street. After overstaying our welcome we offered to cook for them and I had to jump right in. It is the first time I had cooked with a gas stove and I love it, the instant heat, the simplicity of lighting the oven, it cooks well and it is all we really need.
We have a washing machine, thank god for that, the way my kids go through clothes I couldn't imagine what we'd do with out one. We are without a dryer. This is not a big deal, I always enjoyed hanging our clothes on the line in the summer but we always had a dryer to use on rainy days, to fluff up towels or when I just couldn't be bothered. Here everything goes on the line, if it's raining you wait or hang them on a drying rack inside. Thankfully one of the benefits of living in Australia is the generous amount of sunshine.
In Canada we had a gigantic TV with a billion channels, the ability to record 2 shows at once and watch another at the same time. The kids had Diego, Handy Manny and Phineas & Ferb at their beckon call, they knew how to use the complicated remote and they watched what they wanted, when they wanted. I indulged in all my shows after the kids went to bed, I scrolled through hours of recorded TV trash and sat comatose for hours. Our Wii gaming system used to get a workout, obviously not from my Wii fit, but from Mr5's expertise at Batman and Starwars Lego. He only just asked yesterday if we still had our Wii, and he didn't say that he missed it.
Here we have a little TV with an antenna, kindly lent to us by a friend, we have 8 channels and I have to wait for Wednesdays paper to pull out the printed TV guide for the week. The kids have 1 cartoon channel, and guess what? We barely watch TV. We play outside, go for walks, read books, play Lego, visit friends, visit family. I don't miss TV one bit, okay maybe just a little bit, but I am surviving without it.
As I talk to people, and get a feel for the Aussie way of life it's become obvious that life is a bit simpler here, having a dryer is a luxury, not everyone has satellite TV and heck, who need an oven when you've got a BBQ!
Other things also stand out, North America is so dependent on the convenience of everything. In Australia you are hard pressed to find a drive-through coffee-shop unless you go to McDonalds. Drive-through bank machines are unheard of, to be honest there is not much choice for drive-through anything, unless you count the drive-through bottle-o (liquor store) but that is a whole other topic.
Not every business accepts bank cards and store hours are limited, most businesses close at 5 pm on weekdays, sometimes later on Fridays, and Sunday shopping is a relatively new thing here.
As it turns out, all these things that I couldn't imagine living without are really not missed.
In time we will get a dishwasher, new stove, gigantic TV and probably many other things, but until then I will enjoy a simpler life.
Posted by Tinkertines at 10:29 PM