A disclaimer. I’m not being Mrs. Negativo here. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of fantastic things about living in a foreign country. I’m merely reflecting on things that you “know” but don’t know until you live in a place. Y’know?!
It’s hot. Like, really hot. All the time. I’m talking up to 40 degrees and 85% humidity hot. And air conditioning isn’t a thing. There’s some relief after a thunderstorm, until the sun comes out again… after which it is literally like living in the big greenhouse at the Royal Botanical Gardens. And working in these temperatures is no joke. I distinctly remember moaning when the aircon in my consulting room was constantly on the coldest setting one morning. NEVER SHALL I LAMENT AIR CONDITIONING AGAIN.
It’s not a holiday camp. Adventurous and exciting it may be, but every day I am slapped around the metaphorical chops with the reaffirmation of how filthy stinking rich we are in the UK.
Dirty water. The struggle is real. If there happens to be water in the taps (which is not every day) it’s often the colour of tea. We have filters, which is fab, but we are in the select few. When there’s a thunderstorm, there’s a mad dash to put buckets outside-rainwater makes for a much nicer bucket shower!
Rice is boring. There. I’ve said it. The concept of a “favourite food” here is just not valid. We are really fortunate in that we live next to a town, so there’s a lot of passing trade in fruit and vegetables; but for the folks in the villages, it’s rice three times a day. Veg is seasonal, not in a hipster-allotment-locally-grown way, just that whatever is available is the only plant that can cope with the heat/rain/lack thereof at that time of year. Meat is too expensive for most people (14,000 Ariary/Kg, that’s about £4, and more than a week’s wages). Now, I love a carb as much as the next girl, but I’ve never seen anyone shift 4 people’s worth of rice in one sitting before!
I jest about the next celeb crash being the R&S (Rice and Sweating) diet, but the reality is there are so many malnourished kids here, and by the time they get to the hospital it’s often too late.
At risk of sounding contrived… we have no idea what we take for granted in the UK.
I’ll never look at a glass o’ l’eau in the same way again.