Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My first bathroom cleaning experience...

...was at the age of 26. I was a newly wed, and disclosed to my patient husband that I had never cooked a meal or cleaned a bathroom, or any room for that matter. He taught me how to do the later-- like here's a trick, he taught me: When sweeping a room, always, ALWAYS sweep towards the exist of the room, so you don't find yourself stuck in a corner with a broom in hand and a small hill of dust. you know.

So I left my ever so patient husband in Cairo/Egypt (we spent the first two years of our marriage in Cairo/Egypt) and embarked on a week long spiritual retreat of sorts. I was staying at my teacher's (at the time) place. He lived in a two story house, with a big yard and a pool. And other than taking classes from sun-up till sun-down and gathering at night time for religious chants (dhikr), we also had to do khidma (service). There were thirty girls/students at the retreat, and a schedule was hung with who would be doing what chore/day.

I must've gasped so loud when I saw my name on that sheet under bathroom cleaning, that the girls looked at me in surprise.

What's the problem?

Oh, nothing, It's just that I've NEVER cleaned a bathroom in my life. Bathroom cleaning scares me!

Who cleans the bathroom at your place then?

Oh, the cleaning lady of course! (I was spoiled)

Don't worry, there's always a first for everything, it's not as bad as you think.

So dear and lovely readers when that dreadful day (in my head at the time) came, I was almost in tears. The sisters gave me a bucket, a brush, a squeegee, rubber gloves, some cleaning products and I was left to do my thing.

My memory of what I've done in there that day, is not pretty!

It took me 2 whole hours (I must've missed several classes that day) and when I finally emerged I received a big cheer and enthusiastic clapping from a small audience.

I have since moved on to clean bathrooms in different rented places in two different states in America, and, and I have recently taught my older sister how to clean her bathroom in Canada. (impressive, no?)

I currently do not clean bathrooms, the cleaning lady does that for me, but I would take bathroom cleaning in America anytime any day. I once made the mistake (when I lived in America and was sick of cleaning bathrooms) of posting something on facebook along the lines of: "I think every upper class Egyptian girl (or boy) should clean a bathroom at least once in her life" I received a lot of comments on this post. The most one that I remember now as I am back in Egypt was "why would you say that? Egyptian's have it rough too!"

I take it baaaack!


In case you wanted to know my strategy of cleaning our teacher's bathroom that day, I just poured bucket upon bucket of water. The bathroom must've  been a mess, and I am quite sure someone went in there after me and re-did the whole thing. They were such nice girls!

Another thing I feel the urge to mention is: Any religious reference of how I choose to practice my religion is NOT for discussion on this space. It's personal, and was mentioned for the sake of the story. If you wish to comment on the story you are more than welcome to do so. Otherwise, let's play nice shall we?


1 comment:

N. Perez said...

Good for you! I grew up in a third world country myself and understand the difference between cleaning washrooms there and in developed countries :o) I must say, the way Egyptinas master the art of using the squeegee hasn't stopped fascinating me.