Saturday, May 31, 2008

a broken water heater

A broken water heater could perhaps sum up my experience thus far.

My cousin is younger than 30, and kinda, sorta resembles me. She works at the office of some bookstore company, and lives at a company sponsored apartment with 2 coworkers. I'm staying in her room, sleeping in her bed, and she's sleeping in the other bedroom with her friend. This place is really quite shabby, and really quite old-there is no internet access, and her water heater is broken-nevertheless, it's cozy, and I'm certainly glad for any place to stay.

The Bathroom: a small room containing a toilet and a decrepit sink in one corner, a washing machine in the opposite corner, and a shower head in the corner in between. There is no partition between any of these elements--it is one all-encompassing room. It stinks like every other bathroom one will encounter in China -- and let me tell you, it is not pleasant.

The Shower Situation: with no hot water, my cousin kindly boils water for me every night, throws it in a plastic bucket halfway, and fills up the rest with cold water. This delightfully mixes to be the perfect bathing temperature. I then take a washcloth to the bucket, and proceed to wash myself from that water. All while standing in the middle of the toilet, sink, and washing machine. My clothes and towel go into two plastic bags that hang from hooks on the wall so as to not get wet.

My Daily Breakfast: begins with my typical awakening at approx 7:30am every morning. Not sure why, maybe jet lag hasn't left yet, maybe it's because I sleep so early every night (midnight or, one time, 10:40 pm). This is because every one else in the apartment sleeps this early, all the lights are off, I thought I didn't have internet, and it was just awkward to be awake doing nothing. 小方姐姐, or (Little Square Big Sister if translated literally, hahaha), my cousin, makes eggs for me every morning, and sets it on the table next to my green mug that she bought especially for me, next to a loaf of bread, an apple, and the container of orange juice. She's really quite great, really considerate, always thinking the best for me, and yet does not understand me at all.

hen I first met her at the airport, it was a little strange. I think I might have met her once in my life, when I was 2, and she was 9 or so. I have not seen her since. Clearly I have no recollection of her. She doesn't know any English. She also thinks I am anorexic, or something. Whenever she asks me what I want to eat when we're at the store, or wherever, I never have much to say--mostly because the first instance was right after I got out of the airplane (from the last entry, we know why I wouldn't be hungry), and... I don' t know. For some reason my appetite hasn't been there.

I've decided that my lack of appetite must be due to one of these reasons:
1. the uneasiness i feel from the plane has not left yet
2. my stomach is adjusting to the cultural/food change
3. brushing my teeth using water from the sink (you can't drink tap water here) has negatively affected my body

My Situation During The Day Since My Cousin Works All Day: consisted so far of me meeting up with both Mong^2 and Robbie. In the future, Robbie will now be Cao Shan.

For now I will end here.


Anonymous said...

robbie's name is oven?

mahta said...

yay! i put you on mine too :)

Frances said...

robbie.. <3

eric said...

you need to update

Anonymous said...

these are great angela :] i read every entry and word. so are the houses like that in beijing? even in cities? man i want to hear these stories.

Def Leppard said...

hahaha, your cousin Does seem "quite great". hahaha

man, sounds like the Philippines.
i get to go there in december! yessss, i finally get to leave the country again