Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moving Day and Another Cultural Mix-Up

Much like the coffee fiasco, I made a slightly poor decision based on my lack of savvy and am paying for it with callouses. Perhaps my first hints should have been when we moved into our Santiago house and it wasn't entirely clean. While it wasn't filthy, we spent a solid block of time spiffing it up before putting our things away. Having logged years in the apartment management business, I know its not true for everyone, but the cultural norm I'm accustomed to is to leave your rental clean. When you move into a new rental, its clean. Clean, clean. Like good hotel room clean.

As soon as Josh disappeared into the distance with TheMovingGuy and TheCronies, the cleaning crew got to work. Melanie showed me how Dominicans do it. We cleared everything out of the house and got the hoses.

All kidlets stripped to their undies and enjoyed the indoor pool while the gang
swept/mopped/shooed with our feet & hands all the gunk out of the house.
Not gonna lie--it was fun.
Somewhere an hour into the cleaning/inside-slip-n-slide frenzy, one of sweet Dominican helpers asked me, "So, why exactly are we cleaning?"
"Isn't that what you do when you leave a place?" I asked, slightly confused by her question.
"No... Well, sometimes we sweep all the trash into one corner."
"Huh," I paused, "Well, I guess that takes the pressure off."
We still managed to spend most of the day cleaning and painting despite my lowered standards, with a lime slushee break in between (I wasn't kidding when I said I needed my blender to stay with me!).

Enjoying the clean floors and cold drinks, sans furniture, of course.
We treated ourselves and kiddos to ice cream after a hard day's work. 
As I discovered later--much later--the social agreement here seems to be that you clean your new place, not your old place. So, I arrived to our new home late that night, boxes everywhere, furniture in any old place and another home to clean from top to bottom.
A week later, we're still cleaning. To be fair, we've taken two trips in that week which kept us away four nights, but still. This place was filthy. We're taking it slow, because we're good at that pace. I cleaned the kitchen floors first and don't have a before picture, but did this job just this morning:
Before. The kitchen grout was black. The tile shown here isn't as bad, but as you can see, is still filthy.
After. And we're slowly making all the tile look like this.
I refuse to post pictures of our new home until its nice & clean. Might be a while, there's a whole lotta tile. 


  1. wow! check out that grout work! mine's grey, and I'm leaving it as such - it goes with the curtains :)

    1. Good call. :) Had ours just been grey when we moved in, I likely just would have mopped and called it a day. As it was/is, I used 3/4 cup baking soda to 1/4 cup bleach. Works like nobody's business.

  2. Love reading your posts! Miss you and your family. I'm happy to hear the move went well :) xo Sarah mac

    1. Thank you, Sarita! We miss you too. Muy mucho.