0 In Central Asia/ Stories and Reflections/ Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: Adventures in Home Appliances

I should start this off by saying: I’m a horrible cook and I have no interest in becoming a better one. I wish that cooking interested me, and it slightly does in the company of friends, but mostly I just like to eat good food…..prepared by other people. It’s a shame, and I’m sure hugely disappointing for my mother. I should also say, that while I have somehow managed to work my way through some challenging situations, I often don’t have common sense in the most obvious of situations.

I’ve been here for over 8 weeks and I’ve just managed to operate my stove twice. Embarrassing. What is more embarrassing is that I’ve been living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, leftover lunches from my students, and the two pasta dinners I made on the said stove. It also took me over three weeks to notice that I don’t have an oven, in it’s place is my washing machine. Three weeks! It was around that time that I decided I needed to get my domestic life in order and figure out how to light the stove and turn on the washing machine.

In my attempt to live like a normal human being I thought I would start with lighting the stove, a seemingly easy task. Earlier in the week I fiddled with the knobs, not willing to fully commit. It left my apartment smelling like gas, and me paranoid that I hadn’t turned it off all the way and may die in my sleep from a gas leak. I lived to see another day though, so now was my moment of truth. I laid out a few matches, did a few practice runs of turning the knob and made a game plan. This is important, as I didn’t want to turn the knob for too long and have gas everywhere again, but I also didn’t want to light the match too early and burn my finger. Serious stuff. There are also a few other buttons that I can’t figure out and aren’t labeled, so I just decided to ignore those and hope for the best.

As I struck that first match, I swear I felt a pellet of nervous sweat drip down my forehead. My muscles clinched, I turned and pressed the knob in every which direction, and prayed that nothing exploded as I inched the match toward the gas. Nothing. So I pressed and turned harder until finally it was lit. I jumped back in glee….only to have it immediately turn off. Shit. I’d have to do it again! I tried once more and finally got it. Here I had been putting it off for weeks and it was (relatively) easy. The archaic stove with its random buttons and faulty knobs had fooled me, it was as easy to use as the gas one back home. Sadly, having it lit did not magically improve my cooking skills.

Now to figure out what all the Russian on the washing machine means…..

(update on the cockroach front: the only good thing that has come out of my inability to prepare a meal is that the cockroaches are gone. I think they spent a week in my flat before realizing that I’m maybe the worst person to try to scavenge food crumbs from annnnnd they left.)

A few thanksgiving and apartment pictures:

Love Love.

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