Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Wonderful Invention that is the SHOWER CURTAIN

OK-Today I am addressing a subject that is near and dear to my heart here in Romania..

When I arrived in this country, I realized quite quickly that the bathroom area was missing something of great importance. Something that I discovered that I had relied on and taken advantage of all my life...the SHOWER CURTAIN. The first few nights at the hotel in Targoviste, I though "Ok, wow, I guess this is an extra expense that the hotel didn't want to worry about..strange but I can handle it. I'm a PC trainee--flexibility right? I mean, this is probably even a test!!" So for the first few days, I tried not to splash around during each shower, but inevitably left a flood on the floor each time. It was like an art I couldn't master for the life of me. It became a discussion at the dinner table with fellow trainees--"Where are the curtains? Are you leaving a sea of water on the floor too? How do they do it?" We were mystified, but not defeated...yet.

At my gazda's house, I was pleased to see that they had MacGuivered some sort of curtain with string and some plastic to cover the shower. I later discovered that Peace Corps had warned our host families that as Americans, we often "splash" in the shower and we were used to the curtains. Really-we "splash"?! What are we...5? Determined to prove them wrong, during every shower I made sure not to spill even a drop onto the floor. But I digress--the "curtain" that was put up for me was this thin, see-through piece of plastic that hugged my everytime I was busy shampooing or lathering up. It became a daily ( I didn't take a shower EVERY DAY..this is PC after all) struggle with the shower curtain. In my attempt to unwrap myself from the plastic, I ended up spilling water on the floor anyways. So...still losing the battle but I refused to be defeated again.

I arrived at my site here, and this is what met me when I opened my bathroom door. A beautiful bathroom, new sink, shower, toilet...and NO SHOWER CURTAIN. Not even a rod installed. Alright-this is the big test. Shower one went as I expected. No matter how I stood, where I stood, or how I held the shower head, it was an epic fail. The floor was covered. The sink was covered. I realized--I can't do this for 2 years. I can't clean up my bathroom floor, sink, and everything else covered with water after each shower. I AM A SPLASHER! Sad, defeated, I went to the big city of Timisoara in search of a curtain and rod.

I walked down the aisles, feeling a bit of a failure. Do they even sell them? Are the Romanians looking at me and laughing? Do they know I'm a splasher?? I found them in a small, tiny area of the cleaning supplies. Ironic. I saw one I liked-then saw the price. 40 LEI?! 40?? Really? that is like..10 American dollars, but I refused to pay that much for something so..boring as a shower curtain. Forget that it is a necessity, forget that I've spent countless mornings mopping up the mess on my floor, I WASN'T GOING TO GIVE IN YET! I left the store, determined to become the good, flexible PCV I knew I could be. This situation was not going to get the better of me.

So luckily, I was with another volunteer who (after being here a year), knows a thing or two about shower curtains. He gave it to me plain and simple. "Sara, its all about the squatting method. You have to squat in the shower. It's how they do it." REALLY? I was skeptical...squatting?! What kind of shower is that? Don't your knees cramp up? (Maybe thats just me...lacrosse for 9 years has given me the knees of a grandmother) What if I fall over? He assured me that indeed, this was the answer I've been looking for. I went home, determined to try this new technique without falling, cramping, or spilling any water in the process.

Well friends. SUCCESS IS MINE. To all the Volunteers to come, for all the ones that are already here-the squat method is the way to go. While not entirely comfortable, it is 100% effective and you will no longer be considered, embarrassingly, a "splasher". Try it. Make me proud. And thank you, dear friend, for the advice. For after 3.5 months in Romania, countless trials and errors, and the shame of being called a splasher, I can now relish in the sweet, sweet victory of taking a shower without using 45 towels to soak up WWIII on the floor.


  1. Sara, i laughed with tears. I know a German guy that seems to be a "splasher" too which lead to years and years of bitter grumbling from his Romanian mother-in-law. Be proud, if it works for him too you might have saved a marriage with this posting :D

  2. My bathroom came with a built-in floor drain! I can splash all I want, wahoo!!!!

  3. I totally sympathize with the "friendly" shower curtain. Ran into those in London, and never got a shower without at least one fit of "GET OFF!!" lol The hotel we stayed in that was run by an Indian man had no shower curtains, either, but there was a slight slope to the floor with a large drain! I laughed and laughed with you at your adventure...

  4. Sara,

    This was really a roar. I have a friend who has arrived in Bucuresti and shared the experience. Maybe I'll keep to missions work in the states ;-) Hope your work there has gone well.