Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Laughing and crying and trying not to be enraged in China.

I have a funny story to tell...but first, look at this!  Someone knows how to draw..or at least has the basic idea!
Of course, he is drawing on one of his books.  But he doesn't know how to actually make a mark so it's all good.
So here is our story.  Paul got a phone call from a woman we know- MC. She is involved in our son's medical care and she said she wanted to come and see me and our foster son and his ayi.  So all good.  We really like MC and we thought it would be a great time for our ayi to ask questions from a Chinese medical professional.  So good, good, good! 
However, on the day she was to come...she didn't come. We waited for over and hour and then called  no answer.  Then we got through and she said something had come up and she would come tomorrow. I assumed some kind of medical emergency.
So the next day, I came home from teaching expecting MC.  However, our other friend HC was there.   Apparently she is the one who had called Paul and said she was coming.  The names sound somewhat similar and the phone is an enemy to good understanding!  Anyway, she was there trying to sell me Mary Kay cosmetics. I've learned the 10 ways to say no without making the other person lose face.  I claimed allergy which is not a lie- I am allergic to almost all eye-make-up.  She was gracious and didn't push.
So no orphan care conversation..just an attempt to sell make-up.  This isn't the first time we've had this kind of mix-up.
Yesterday was a day where I needed to laugh and was reasonably successful at it.
First off,...we just had our first snowfall.  Right now it is white and pretty with lots of ice.  By the end of winter...it's another story.

Snow is removed here mostly manually.  These are city workers shovels-they were all around our city today.
Anyway, we were getting ready to go out to the school bus, when our water went off.  Let's just say that the toilets weren't flushed yet and leave it at that.  Sometimes the water goes off for a while and then comes back after a few hours.  No big deal.
So off we went to the school bus...which was majorly delayed because of a traffic accident because of the ice.  The kids were great, snowballs were thrown and we got to school with a replacement bus.  It was cold but sunny and everyone lived.  When we got to school, the electricity was out for the first two hours but the toilets flushed and all was good.
But when I got home, the water still wasn't on. People were in our home that day and that evening and the toilets were used.  We got water to flush but it wasn't enough.  That's when I began to be irritated.  It was gross.  Really gross.  We finally went to bed (but spent most of the night up with our little guy who had croup) and finally heard the water go on around 4:00.  I begged Paul to get up and flush/plunge and he did.  At five, I got up and scrubbed the toilets.  At 6:30, we got up and started the day.
The busses were delayed again.  This time we put the kids in a bus that had extra seats and taxied the rest out.  When we got to the school, there was no electricity or heat.  A big snow storm is headed our way and the school wisely decided to send everyone home after a few hours.
I write this not to make China look bad or anything like that.  I write this because it's part of the reality of living in another culture.  Things are beyond your control.  Your limited language makes you misunderstand what people say on the phone.  Water gets turned off.  We found out later that all the landlords and owners were texted about this.  We have a pretty good landlord but he didn't let us know that the water was going off.  Most of our friends didn't know either.  We have decided that it's time to keep a large container of water in our bathroom.  Most Chinese people do.  It's just smart.
Most of the time I can laugh or go with the flow.  But sometimes it just wears on you.
When I got home today, I heated this for lunch.

We were at the foreign market the other day and this just looked so....like home.  Even though we rarely eat it at home.  It was a nice reminder today.

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