3 Lessons I learned in Brunei

We have lived in Brunei for 1 year, 3 months, and 16 days now, and as you might imagine it is quite a different place than small-town Iowa where I was born, raised, and lived my entire life until I hopped on the plane for our little adventure here.  There are SO MANY THINGS I have learned from living outside my home country for a little over a year, but today I want to share three lighthearted lessons that I totally didn't see coming.

1. In my past life, I should have vacuumed more.  In our Bruneian home, and most homes I've been in here, the floors are all tile.  Most people partially cover the floors in their living areas with area rugs, we only just bought one a couple months ago.  What I learned from having all tile floors: dirt and dust accumulates lightning fast.  My white tile floor is like the spandex body suit of the floor world- it won't hide a thing!  When the floors have been swept/vacuumed and mopped in the morning, they are already showing signs of dirt, dust, and food crumbs piling up by afternoon.  Even though we never wear our shoes into the house, it is a constant uphill battle to keep the floor from becoming a gritty, disgusting mess under our bare feet.

In Iowa (I hesitate to admit this to the whole world on the internet) when I was a junior in college my roommate and I didn't vacuum the carpet in our dorm room ever.  NOT ONE TIME THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR.  *insert embarrassed emoji here*  Even by American standards that's pretty disgusting, but now, ugh.so.gross.  After I got married and actually owned my own vacuum which made it easier to vacuum frequently, I (er, actually usually Justin) only vacuumed our living room once a week max and more like once every couple weeks.  The upstairs bedrooms maybe got vacuumed once every couple months.  You guys, I know now that carpet is a tricky hider of filth.  I seriously cringe at the thought of how I lived on such dirty floors, and worse how I laid my baby down on them!  When I live in a carpeted house again one day, I vow to keep my floors way cleaner.

2. Don't put off the dishes- it's just never worth it.  Prior to moving here I had a dishwasher and I totally undervalued it.  In Brunei I have never seen a dishwasher.  They may exist here, I'm not really sure, but we sure don't have one.  Which means except for the one day a week we pay someone to come help clean our house for a morning, we do the dishes by hand, old school style.  And it's so easy to put them off and let the pile grow and grow.  And then it becomes exponentially worse because the bigger the pile gets the less I want to tackle it.  Also, the longer the dishes sit, the crustier the food on them gets which makes them harder to clean.  Though I don't always follow my own advice, I have learned it's always a more pleasant experience to just roll my sleeves up and get 'er done instead of putting off the inevitable until it becomes a ridiculously enormous job.

3.  Seasons matter to me more than I realized.  I have to say, I was pretty stoked to move to a tropical island where it is always summer.  Actually, I still love that fact.  But life feels different when the weather is literally the same practically every single day of the year.  And I wasn't expecting that.

This week's (rainy season) forecast
Having grown up with four distinct seasons, I associate the passing of time with the cyclical changing from winter to spring to summer to fall to winter.  My memories are closely tied to the seasons.  The finite nature of each season motivates me to "use the time well" and marks the passing of time more frequently than when a whole year has passed by.  

In the land of eternal summer the time can fly by, because every day kind of runs together with the next.  Sometimes I forget what month it is.  (Not actually, but sort of, because in some ways it doesn't really matter what month it is.)  It's harder to recall when things happened because they aren't associated with a distinct time/season in my mind.  Nobody ever really talks about the weather and I never ever check the weather forecast anymore because it is literally the same every day (see screenshot).  While I am a girl who seriously loves the warm weather, there are also things about winter, spring, and fall that I really miss.


So there you have it.  A few (of the the many) lessons I've learned while living in Brunei.  Maybe in the future I'll tackle some of the weightier ones.  But for now, my epiphanies on house cleaning and my season-less existence will have to do!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I guess I should vacuum more too! But I know you guys have a lot going on too with kiddos and CrossFit, etc. Since I have carpet, I just sweep the dirt under that and empty when I start tripping over the bump!! (not really!) Miss you and family! Love and blessings from your friends here in Iowa!