Bolaseca is a commercial dehumidifying product that looks like white aquarium gravel, but is actually calcium chloride. You place a cup of Bolaseca in the ventilated dome top of a dehumidifier container and stick the apparatus in your closet. A few weeks later, the granules have melted away and the collection base is filled with almost 2 cups of water! Our apartment has abundant closet space, which is convenient, but because the air is so humid (Lima’s average annual humidity is 84.2%) clothes trapped inside get stinky and mildewed easily. We place 2 dehumidifiers in each closet and leave all the closet doors open all the time; while this choice detracts from the sense of order one feels when all our stuff is behind closed doors, this strategy has allowed us to triumph over the humidity.
A tacho is a bucket, bin or trashcan and yes, a tachito is a small garbage can. While any bathroom in the U.S. is likely to have a tachito, here tachitos usually have lids and because plumbing is rudimentary, all toilet paper goes in the tachito and not down the toilet. For those accustomed to decades of routine toilet paper flushing, it takes a concerted effort to remember to dispose of paper in the tachito.
These are just a few of our daily habits that have changed since taking up residence here. All of these seemingly small changes remind us how much we take for granted at home, while also reinforcing the joy, laughter (and periodic discomfort) to be derived from encountering something foreign and different.