If there's one thing that causes the most consternation when moving to another country, it's laundry. Sure bathing and washing dishes and driving and the exchange rate and any number of things can confuse and frustrate and make life a bit more interesting to maneuver. But it is the laundry - how you do it, when you do it, and how long it takes to do it - that can really bring an expat to his or her knees. Scrubbing. Scrubbing and folding and/or crying.
When we first moved to this house, we had washer/dryer combo. The combo washing machine is quite small, so we could only really fit in a day's worth of dirty clothes. And because it both washes and dries your clothes, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to complete the entire cycle. This type of washing machine is the bane of my existence, and of most expats I know. It's also prone to breaking down, not washing and/or drying sufficiently, and uses an enormous amount of electricity. We usually ended up doing a "short cycle" on the wash and then hanging it out to dry.
A word on hanging your laundry: on the rare sunny/warm day in Ireland, I simply LOVE to hang out my laundry. It dries faster than in the combo machine, the sun naturally gets spots out, and - you know - it looks all nice and homey. But even when the sun isn't out, the wind here can get your laundry dryish, too. You then bring your dryish laundry in and hang it on the radiators to finish up. This is not as fun and causes laundry chaos throughout your house, but it gets the job done.
This is mostly a moot point for us now, though, because our old combo machine broke down a few months ago and we now have BOTH a washer and dryer. And they are awesome. The dryer is a rock-star of a machine, the drum is quite large and it dries our clothes in less than an hour. AMAZING! I love it so much, I actually enjoy doing the laundry now. Yes, it still takes up to 3 hours to wash it, but I love that I'm not a slave to my laundry anymore. I can forget about it for a few hours, pop it in the dryer and then be done with it. And because the wash takes so long, this ensures I never have to do more than 3 loads (tops!) a day.
Still, there are days when I'm feeling whimsy and I hang out my laundry just for fun. Not really fun, but you know...