Cultural differences: when turning on the electricity requires hours on the phone and multiple trips to corner shops (think gas stations minus the gas) in order to acquire keys and cards “topped off” with money which are inserted into meters that may or may not be registering outstanding debt from previous tenants.

I am so thankful for my champion English sibs who are kindly navigating these murky waters on my behalf. Of five flats in my building, all of which have been rented for us interns, three are hooked up to one power company, and two are hooked to another. Thus, three have electricity and heat, and two do not.

Another cultural difference: the plumbing requires electricity to operate. If you don’t have power, the plumbing backs up and fills the space with a noxious aroma.

So I am in my third host home until Monday (we hope!) Thankfully it is just the house next door to my flat, and I am occupying the girls’ spare room on a fold-down cot.

In the meantime, I am bundling up and unpacking essentials I couldn’t leave home without.

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Looking forward to being fully settled so I can throw open the doors and have everyone over for family dinner, Southern-style!

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