But no amount of cultural acclimation could have prepared me for the events of today. Today, no longer avoidable after days of putting it off and becoming increasingly smellier, was laundry day. I stuffed three weeks worth of laundry in a reusable grocery bag and lugged it down the street to a laundromat, then unstuffed it from the bag and restuffed it into a washing machine. Naturally, the door wouldn't close and after 5 awkward minutes of pushing my butt up against the machine in an effort to close it while attempting to look nonchalant to passers-by on the street, I turned around in anger, slammed it shut, and the door latched nicely closed. Go figure.
Then I successfully purchased one token and a cup of soap and began my wash, sitting down to relax and read, very pleased with my accomplishment.
BUT NOTHING IS EVER THAT SIMPLE. Wet clothes need to be dried, and alas, laundromat driers require a token to operate. Each token is €3, but I had used my €5 bill on the first load. All I had was a €20 bill, and instead of giving me one token and change the machine gave me 20 EURO WORTH OF TOKENS. They came spilling out of the machine like the freaking wildebeest stampede in The Lion King. So now I'm 20 precious Euro short and an unnecessarily amount of laundromat tokens richer, and I plan to carry them around with me and solicit people to buy them every time I pass the laundromat (which is every day). I guess it's the gift that will keep on giving. What is "I'm stupid, pity me, buy a token" in Italian?
Luckily I was able to pawn one token off on a nice couple that came in to move their sheets into the dryer. They left as I was folding my clothes with my back turned toward the dryer. Just my luck, out pops a TENNIS BALL from their dryer load and hits me in the back. I wish I was kidding. Firstly, is it even normal to dry tennis balls, and secondly what are the odds that the force of them would open the door (which took me a solid 4 minutes to close) and hit me, the only object in the room?
Finally I was all packed up and ready to go, sauntering my way back down the street. Now you should know there's a convenience store across from my house that I frequent. I've only ever bought apples there, a) because they're delicious and b) it's what I eat for lunch every day. The man who owns the store is quite nice and sometimes gives me candy with my purchases, but apparently has designated a nickname for me. As I pass by, he says "Ciao mela!" Not "Ciao bella," like normal Italian men say, no no..."mela" means apple in Italian. I joked a few weeks ago about how people would start calling me Apple Girl because it's all I eat. I guess it was just a self-fulfilling prophecy. I can't say I'm not flattered...I guess.
At least I once again have clean clothes I can sweat through in 4.2 seconds. Ciao, mela!