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Paige: You're listening to Coffee with Gringos. I'm Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I'm Mariah Wika. Today we're talking about different things that we do around the house, around the apartment... household chores and tasks. As you listen, if you get lost along the way, the vocabulary guide and transcript are on the website to help you out.

Paige: So, as we all know, let's be honest, this topic is not sexy.

Mariah: No, no.

Paige: Right? It's not a glamorous topic. But it's definitely one that we talk about everyday because these are things that you're doing constantly, right? In your daily routine. So, it's things that matter, especially if you have a bad roommate. It's probably something that you complain about a lot.

Mariah: Right, or if you are a bad roommate. Not to mention, I was thinking about this, especially for people who are living in Santiago like us who maybe aren't from Chile, we need to be able to communicate about these things in Spanish, right? What if you live abroad? What if you move in and your roommates are British or they're from the United States or they're Australian... how are you going to tell somebody to take out the trash if you don't know how to say "take out the trash" in English, right? So, whether this vocabulary is useful in your life right now or in a future situation, like Paige said, not glamorous but totally necessary.

Paige: So, let's go back a little bit.

Mariah: Let's rewind.

Paige: Growing up, Mariah... obviously I'm assuming you probably had chores. What were the ones that you did most often?

Mariah: Let's see, my most common chores were helping with dishes after dinner, folding the laundry. In our house it was a lot of "as needed" because there were three of us, and it was kind of like: "Okay Mariah, I need you to vacuum this week." Or, "We're all going to work together to do a full house clean!" But definitely like folding the laundry, vacuuming, mopping the floor, helping with dishes, for sure. How about you?

Paige: I mean, all of that is pretty similar, but there were just two of us, so it was kind of more like we switched off. My older sister would take out the trash one week, I would take it out the next week... we were in charge of also mowing the grass, but it was kind of a fun chore because we had a ride-on mower for the grass so I would like put on music and just jam out while I mowed the lawn. My least favorite chore growing up was shoveling. As we know, I grew up in Boston, it snows so much in the winter, and my parents were usually at work. Me and my sister would have a snow day, and it involved like three hours of shoveling our really long driveway and all the stairs and the porch and the grill and the cars... that was probably my least favorite, and it was constant... so much snow.

Mariah: Yeah, I don't mind a lot of chores, but I really, really hate cleaning the bathroom, and I really hate doing laundry. Those are two things that I just can't find joy in those chores.

Paige: It's pretty hard to enjoy cleaning the bathroom.

Mariah: I know it is, I know it is. And so that's probably an obvious thing to say, but I just had to put it there. One thing I don't mind - tidying the common spaces. That's so important in any apartment you live in. Keep your crap out of the common spaces. And if it's there, tidy it up. That I will do gladly.

Paige: So I guess, jumping off that, today you know now that you're an adult and you're not forced to do chores by your parents, what kind of chores around the house do you do?

Mariah: I do a lot of dishes in my home. In my apartment, we have a system where if there are dishes, you wash everybody's dishes. We definitely focus on the community, and so if there's a dish in the sink that isn't yours, you don't leave it. I do a lot of dishes, obviously tidy up my own space, keep common spaces clean. We clean the bathroom on sort of a rotation, so standard things. Take out the trash when it's necessary. Take out the recycling.

Paige: And what kind of roommate would you say you are? There's always a spectrum. There's the person who's a neat freak who needs the apartment to be spotless. And then there's the person who's the opposite who's like, "I'll do dishes once a week!"

Mariah: Right, like disorganized, a total pig. I would say that I'm a respectful roommate and so, y'know, if I have people over for dinner, I'll wash dishes that night so that my roommates don't wake up to a huge mess. Like I said, common spaces are tidy. My room is its own special story. My room is almost always disorganized. It's like I maintain the chaos inside of my space.

Paige: But it's your space, so...

Mariah: How about you? What type of roommate are you?

Paige: My mom is a neat freak. The first thing I think I did growing up when I woke up was make my bed.

Mariah: Really? I never make my bed! Do you still make your bed?

Paige: I do. Everyday. Growing up, never clothes on the floor, everything was clean, but it was because of the way we were raised. And then I got to college, and I lived in a dorm with two strangers who did not grow up in that environment, so the place was an absolute mess and y'know, I didn't have a personality where I was like, "Oh my god I can't live here." But I kind of just had to be like, "Well, if this is the room it's gonna be then that's just my life now."

Mariah: Right... you have to adapt to your new normal.

Paige: So I feel like I adapted so much that when I graduated from college and y'know got my own apartment with friends, I found myself throwing clothes on the ground and doing things I wouldn't do. And I was like, "I'm definitely not as neat as I was growing up!"

Mariah: As I used to be.

Paige: But I think as a roommate, like you, your room is your room, y'know, you keep it as clean as you want, but the common space is the common space. So after every meal I will clean the dishes immediately. I'm a big dish washer. And then I tidy up and stuff, but I'm not someone who will start scrubbing the floor instantly.

Mariah: I'm not into dusting. Dusting doesn't really get me going. Do you dust? Who really spends their time dusting?

Paige: I don't really dust. I try to do a deep clean of the apartment maybe every two weeks. Our apartment is tiny, so when that happens, I'll wipe down the tables and the side tables and all of that, but I'm not really into dusting.

Mariah: I'm not into it either.

Paige: I don't do it as often as a neat freak would say that you should.

Mariah: Right. And I should say that maybe if I dusted more, the things that I have on my shelves wouldn't look like archaeological artifacts, so I could add that to my list... a little more dusting would do my space good.

Paige: Best thing I've learned being a roommate is just being very transparent, so set rules from the beginning, be there open about what bothers you. Share tasks, things like that. Because there's nothing worse than living with someone who doesn't have the same philosophy of being a roommate and then you're like clashing... but if you just had a conversation that was like, "Mariah, I like it when you dust a little more."

Mariah: Right, for example/

Paige: If you know that bothers me, you'd be like: "Okay, I'll probably dust more than I would personally like to dust!" And then you're like: "Paige, I really wish you did your dishes more!" And then it's like, "Okay, I'll probably do my dishes more."

Mariah: Which I would never have to say because I've heard you're a big dish-washer. It's all about adjusting to the people around you, right? And being respectful. I think that because I'm somebody who's not a neat freak at all, sometimes I just don't notice. It doesn't bother me if a counter isn't perfectly clean or if the stovetop is a little dirty. So I've really appreciated in my life when people have been like: "Hey, Mariah, pull your weight. Wash the counter better." You know? Or things like that because like you said it's all about transparency and some people are very Type A, and some people like me need a little direction.

Paige: One of my last roommates in the US, one of my best friends, I've lived with her maybe for three years. She was on the dirtier side, and I was more on the clean side, so we met halfway. And she was very respectful where she was, y'know, cleaning more than she would normally for me. But one of my... it wasn't a pet peeve, but something that she did so often that I couldn't get mad, it was funny, she never finishes a drink. So, our apartment looked like a scene from Signs the movie. There were just half glasses of water all over the apartment... like half cups of Dunkin' Doughnuts Coffee. Because she cannot finish a drink, but she's I guess always thirsty.

Mariah: Oh that's funny.

Paige: As we talked about from the beginning, this isn't the most interesting topic to talk about, but hopefully if you live with a pig, now you have the vocabulary to say, "Hey, I wish you'd do more dishes!"

Mariah: Yeah, "Hey buddy, dust more! Do your dishes! Take out the trash!" Now you're ready, you're prepared. Prepared for those tough roommate conversations. Thanks again for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.


Chore(s) (noun) - tasks and jobs that need to be done in your house/apartment

Example: Today’s episode is all about chores!

Sexy (adjective) - used informally to mean attractive

Example: Let’s be honest, this topic is not sexy.

Glamorous (adjective) - elegant or fancy

Example: You’re right, talking about chores isn’t a glamorous topic.

Roommate (noun) - the person you live with

Example: My roommate is very organized.

Take out the trash (phrase) - to take the garbage outside

Example: We take out the trash once every two days.

Grow up (phrasal verb) - to get older, frequently used when talking about childhood

Example: Growing up, what chores did you do?

Fold the laundry (phrase) - doblar la ropa

Example: I hate folding laundry because it always takes a really long time.

Vacuum (verb/noun) - aspiradora, pasar la aspiradora

Example: We usually vacuum the floors once a week

Sweep (noun) - to just clean the dust and dirt from a floor, NOT to wash

Example:  In general, we sweep once a day.

Mop (verb) - to wash a hard floor

Example: When the floor gets really dirty, we mop it.

Switch off (phrasal verb) - to take turns

Example: Paige has a sister, so they switched off with different chores.

Mow the grass/mow the lawn (phrase) - cut the grass around your house

Example: Paige was in charge of mowing the grass as a kid.

Jam out (phrasal verb, informal) - enthusiastically listen to music

Example: I would jam out while I was mowing the lawn!

To shovel (verb) - to clean snow from around your house

Example: My least favorite chore as a kid was shovelling because it snowed so much in Boston.

To do laundry (phrase) - to wash your closes

Example: Doing laundry is Mariah’s least favorite chore. She hates folding!

To tidy (verb) - to organize

Example: Tidying common spaces is really important when you live with a roommate.

Forced (adjective) - obligated

Example: Now that you're an adult and you're not forced to do chores by your parents, what kind of chores around the house do you do?

Neat freak (noun, informal) - a person who is obsessed with cleaning

Example: My mom was a neat freak and cleaned all of the time.

Spotless (adjective) - completely clean

Example: Neat freaks love for spaces to be spotless.

A pig (noun, informal slang) - used informally to describe a very disorganized person

Example: She’s a pig! She only washes dishes once a week.

Mess (noun) - a totally disorganized, unclean space

Messy (adjective) - totally disorganized, unclean

Example: When I moved to college, it was a shock for me because my roommates were so messy, and our space was always a mess.

To dust (verb) - to clean the dust from your space (limpiar el polvo)

Example: Some neat freaks dust really frequently. I definitely don’t!

I’m into/I’m not into (phrase, informal) - I’m interested in or excited about/I’m not interested in or excited about

Example: I’m into sweeping, but I’m not into dusting.

Set rules (phrase) - to make or establish rules and expectations

Example: The best thing I've learned about being a roommate is to be transparent and set rules from the beginning.

To clash (verb) - to have conflict because of differences

Example: If one roommate is organized and the other roommate is very messy, they’re probably going to clash a lot.

Pull your weight (phrase, idiom) - participate and contribute more

Example: Please pull your weight and wash the dishes more often!

Type A (noun, informal) - a person who’s very focused on details and order

Example: Paige is more Type A than Mariah when it comes to cleaning.

Pet peeve (noun) -  a small thing somebody does that bothers or frustrates you

Example: My pet peeve is when my roommate doesn’t take out the trash.