by Sally H. '20
Today … is a special day: I found the stove in my home! For days I have been shyly peeking, looking around to see if I could spot the magnificent machine which sponsors the delicious meals I eat during the day. Upon arriving at my new home for the next three weeks, I was exhausted and happy to be there, and therefore did not have much energy to observe my surroundings. But as the days passed, I began to wonder: where was the kitchen in my house? I knew which door the food came through. And several times I had actually gone through the tall metal door to put dishes into an outdoor sink for washing. I had quickly surveyed the courtyard but saw nothing but a set of stone stairs that led up the far wall – to nowhere. This intrigued me but was not enough to throw me off my desperate search.
More days passed, and still, without being obtrusive, I was unable to find the kitchen. This left me to a reflection of my surroundings, and I figured that I knew the layout of the whole town already better than I knew my own house. It came to my attention that surrounding the main courtyard of my home, there were three other sectors, probably with their own rooms, that I didn’t even know existed!
Flash forward a couple of days to the present: a normal afternoon for me; I walked home from Awamaki and arrived at home just as my host sister was setting the table for lunch. She called to her mom to ask a question but getting no answer she proceeded through the mysterious door, with me trailing behind. We entered the courtyard, and I waited with anticipation. She crossed to a door I had never even noticed in my previous trips to the sink. Not one to pass up an exciting opportunity, I slipped into this new room – and there it was. In the corner of the adobe room, the simple appliance balanced many sizzling pans, and to me seemed to exude a glimmering aura of discovery. My host sister, satisfied with her answer, led the way back to the living room with me in tow, doing my best to act nonchalant about the whole exhilarating ordeal.
A short while after lunch I was going toward my room for a quick nap, when my host mom asked me if I wanted to do my laundry. Remembering that the amount of clean clothes I had was diminishing rapidly, I nodded and asked her where I would do it. To this she gestured casually to the corner of the garden with a large tree in it. I had been back there with my host sister to gather tea leaves and had seen neither hide nor hair of anything that could remotely constitute as a sink or stream, or anything washing related. I asked my host mother again, and with the same attitude she gestured to the corner. Tired, and wanting to sleep, I decided that this new great mystery could be a problem for another day, so I just nodded “okay” and went to enjoy my well-deserved detective’s nap.