Monday, July 9, 2012
Cultural Bathroom Differences
Sharing your home with three people from a radically different culture requires lots of patience. As with any guest you have to play your part in being a good host, but sometimes you need to be prepared for anything, especially if you share a common bathroom.
For example, if your guests are used to not having toilet paper and are used to using a hand and water method of cleansing themselves, one might walk into a bathroom and find liquid all over the seat of the toilet. For a part germaphobe like me, it makes me want to scream EWWWWW and run screaming out of the bathroom. I have to keep reminding myself that it is just water as I clean it up and always try to remember that in the middle of the night, sitting it not something I want to do.
However, the hardest aspect of sharing a bathroom with someone from a radically different culture is the understanding of plumbing systems. In American culture, normal shower practice dictates that you shut off flow to the shower head before you turn the water off. Otherwise, the next person to take a shower gets in there, turns on the water and is greeting with an ice cold spray of water. In winter this can send you into the early stages of hypothermia before it has a chance to warm up. In summer, especially when your core body temperature is just shy of the melting point for steel because it is so darn hot, it can just about cause your heart to skip a beat or two or perhaps stop all together. I've missed more than a few beats of my heart over the last couple weeks.
Perhaps the easiest thing to get used to are the assortment of additional hygiene products with funny names that start competing with your hygiene products for limited horizontal space. Who names a soap Placenta?