Faith, Hope, and Love Remain

Alei's adventures in Ukraine

Bucket Bathing 101 February 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — aleicook @ 8:50 pm

How’s that for a self-explanatory title. I’ve been told that people are in the dark about the mechanics of my bathing process & am a little uneasy with all of the speculation, so consider this a tell-all. In an attempt to provide honest reporting while making a dent in my looming laundry task, I’ve even provided visuals. Feel free to take notes in case you ever find yourself needed to wash your hair as badly as I do by day 5.

One: Cut a hole in the box…oh wait, that’s not right… download an hour-long exercise video because

  • Unless you want to learn the Ukrainian word for ‘smelly’ sweat-inducing workouts are only allowed on bath days.
  • Standing in the buff in February is cold… any effort to start off warmer is recommended.

Two: 40 minutes into the video, head to the kitchen to start the heating process. This allows optimal temperature conditions & little need for thought when you’re exhausted & light headed because you’re out of shape.

  • Turn on the propane tank, light a match, & fire up the stove.
  • Boil water in the beloved borscht pot.
  • Plug in the electric heater making sure to avoid getting electrocuted by the ‘extension cord’…again
  • Push the heater into the doorway of the bathroom; close enough to circulate but not so close that you run the risk of pouring boiling water on it in a few minutes.

Three: Pour boiling water into The Bucket.

Four: Mix 3 parts boiling water with 1 part ice cold water from the tap.

Five: Place your towel and clean clothes within immediate reach & strip down as fast as humanly possible (I must have lost that picture).

Six: Wash your face with the hot water while it’s still (relatively) clean.  This picture also helps to illustrate yet another reason why my height is the bane of my existence- I’m pretty sure the process would go smoother if I was slightly more compact.

Seven: Submerge as much of your head as physically possible to facilitate the critical shampoo step (Warning: you will have water in your ears for a few hours after this step).

Eight: Lather away but don’t rinse yet unless you want to wash up with greasy hair water.  Slightly counterproductive.

Nine: Try to stop the shivering by squeezing water from the sponge all over you. This will probably be the only enjoyable part of the experience.  In fact I went out of order in the documentation process just to get to this part faster, hence the dry hair.

Ten: Suds up & rinse off with the trusty sponge.

Eleven: Dip your head into the bucket again to get the shampoo out.  Essentially the ‘rinse & repeat’ step only I generally ‘repeat’ much less frequently than I imagine Pantene Pro-V copywriters intended.

Twelve: Pour the remaining water over your head for one last attempt at feeling somewhat clean.

Thirteen: Set a world record for drying off & putting your clothes on & make a solemn commitment to never again take for granted the wonder of hot water that falls from a spout in a little thing called a ‘shower’.

So there you have it. Ignore the dramatics, it’s honestly not that bad & I actually may (possibly) be getting a contraption that heats water soon so my days with The Bucket could be numbered. For the time being I’m enjoying it as just one part of the incredible opportunity I have here to see life outside of my comfort zone. The kids still definitely make it worth it & are nothing but sweet. One of my little fifth former boys even raised his hand in the middle of our discussion on why we say ‘I have’ but ‘he/she has’ to tell me that “he liked my style of hair today”. Pretty sure he was lying though because I just so happened to be rocking the French braid approach of dealing with gross day 4 hair, which is never a great look.

Other recent highlights include my teacher friend Olha driving three hours with me to a magical place with frozen vegetables, Tupperware, and spatulas that aren’t made of wood. It was Ukraine’s take on Sam’s Club complete with the huge warehouse, membership card, and endless aisles full of items bought in bulk. It was amazing. I pushed my cart along the familiar cement floor for over an hour in complete and total awe & ended up with bags full of eggplant, broccoli, Gouda, Diet Coke, & 300 hyrivnias worth of everything else that dreams are made of. Thank goodness for friends 🙂


6 Responses to “Bucket Bathing 101”

  1. Maya Says:

    Oh Alei. You are adorable. I love the demonstration of the bucket baths. I have had ample experience with them in that region of the world as well. He he he! 😉

  2. Mom Says:

    Wow, that made me cry a little… Your discomfort is making me uncomfortable…
    I am glad you have a sunny attitude young lady. My suggestion, call that lady about the hot water heater! I feel like throwing in a parental “If you don’t do something about this, I will!” but I’m certain that my limited Ukrainian would be an obstacle. It’s hard not being able to fix things for you.
    I love you dearly,

  3. tricia klein Says:

    Thanks Alei, I now have a better understanding of bucket bath. You have such a great attitude. I agree with your mom call that lady A.S.A.P. I am glad you have a nice friend to take you places. Did you get to pick up any special lard treats? Have a great week look forward to next weeks update.
    Mrs Klein

  4. Colleen Says:

    Ah, a couple things. Number 1 I’ve been a bad friend and have not been keeping updated with your blog so today is the day. 2 the pictures and thirteen step process made my day. hahahaha that sucks, I thought my cold showers were bad buuuut i think i’d prefer cold falling water than The Bucket. I just love the whitiness of it all. I’m so happy you’re adjusting well. I wish so bad that i could come visit… in the summer months of course.

  5. Lauri Fields Says:

    Alei,,,,Hi, finally I have made my way to your blog. I was thinking about you when my new hairdresser told me I washed my hair far too often(everyday). According to her once a week is often
    enough. How do you do it, besides in a bucket bath? We all think about you. Look forward to reading other posts.

  6. Cindy Smith Says:

    Hey Alei,

    I think you now have become an official camper……..bath out of a bucket. Now I know why your mom does so well in the canoe. You girls both are so outdoorsey and didn’t know it. I was just telling someone about YOUR sky diving experience the other day. You really are a gift to everyone of those kids in your class.

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