My host parents are very, very concerned about conserving water. We live in a part of the US (not California) where there has been a normal amount of rainfall– so a lack of actual water is not the reason.
In the house, the bathroom sinks have no hot water. I have to wash my hands always in cold water. There is also almost no water pressure — water comes put in a trickle.
It’s even worse with the shower. At home I would shower every day. Here, my host parents have made it clear that they don’t want me to shower every day. So I shower every second day.
The host dad has even explained to me that I should only turn the shower on when I am ‘using’ it. So, for instance when I am applying shampoo, body wash, conditioner I should turn the shower off and turn it back on only to rinse. I have been doing this even though it means that I’m often freezing cold. My host dad seems to hover near the bathroom when I am showering and I am sure he is listening to the water turn on and off. I use as little water as is humanly possible. It’s hard to feel clean.
My host parents themselves don’t shower more than once a week. The kids are only bathed once or twice a week.
Then there’s my laundry. I can feel my host dad get upset whenever I go to laundry room. For myself, I have been doing 1 load a week. Every second week I use the super-short water conservation cycle. I only have the clothes I brought in one suitcase, so I don’t have many clothes to change into between wash loads. I don’t believe I’m being obsessive about my own cleanliness.
My own parents have offered to pay a gym membership for me so that I could shower there daily and save on towel usage and laundry. I am very tempted by their offer, but at the same time I feel this issue should be resolvable.
I am not interested in quitting– I really want to keep my commitment to this family. I have managed to adjust to a lot of cultural and personal differences, and I believe that these are good people. But the showering issue for me is very personal.
Should she reconcile herself to feeling (and being) dirtier than she’d like?
Depend on her parents for a gym membership so she can shower more often?
Or talk to her host parents point blank about different expectations about how clean one needs to be?