Before I got here I was not sure what to expect….I had heard all the bad stories I had heard a few good stories….either way they were all just stories…and I had no idea what I was in for. But I did know that I would be in for a challenge. Having traveled a lot in my life via backpack and via suitcase…I was better equipped for the job than most….so I remember thinking at the time.
When I first arrived to this country 7 years ago I was enthralled with culture, food, customs, habits, smells, feelings, sayings, languages from “the orient”. I had made it….I remember living in the hotel for a couple weeks….it was easy. There was a restaurant there, they had all the electrical items I needed, they had a bed, sheets, towels, the works….simple life.
Then I ventured out to get an apartment….seemed like a simple task at the time…so I woke up early and hit the road to Futian to do so…after 8 hours of looking and looking and looking it became obvious that I was not in Kansas anymore. Needless to say it took me a couple more days to get into a place. I remember at the time asking my translator…why do they want to make it difficult? Why can’t we just sign the stupid contract and get it over with? Why do we need to talk about the price for this long…..just give it to them…that is the price they are asking…I am willing to pay it….get it over with for fucks sake.
The next day I woke up in my apartment, went downstairs to get some eggs, bacon, and bread….well ok then…no bacon and the bread well….it looked like bread but….yeah…so I return home to cook some eggs….I open the first one and WTF???? It is black on the inside…..oooohhhhhh that’s fucking wrong….ok so open the next one…..WTF is going on….this one is black also…..and ok just to be stupid lets open a third one…..ok so off to a local restaurant to get some breakfast….through pointing and sign language of “I want this one give it to me now I am starving” food arrives at my table.
Ok mission accomplished….back home I go to make a list of all the shit I need to buy for the house….list complete….go downstairs and go to the shopping mall. I get as much shit as I can carry and head home. Some purchases I am happy with…and of course some were made out of “they have this and I do not know where to go to get what I really need”. Then comes the power cord….Apparently, my house at the time had “Industrial” receptacles in the walls they are slightly bigger than the normal Chinese receptacles…mind you I did not know this at the time.
So I go down stairs and buy one…come home…does not fit….go back downstairs to return it and get another….no speak-a-english??? Ok…so I just buy the other one…..come home……it says it is 3 meters…fuck it is not….ok go back downstairs to “return it” no speak-a-english…motherfucker ok then….I buy another 3 meter and make sure it is….then get home….motherfucker it is not Industrial…..aaaaaaaahhhhhhh….back downstairs to buy another……by this time they are all laughing at me…of course they know what I want…they just want to see me be an ass. So I try my best to collect myself….this being the fourth trip her for a fucking power cord….so I now have one of every cord in front of me that they sell….none of them are Industrial that are 3 meters…..not fucking one….the wall is FULL of cords and they do not sell the ones that are used in the same building they are located in WTF????? Ok so I buy another “2” meter and go home and daisy chain them together….laptop and printer now have power….very good……
So that was the first day of being alone here….I was soon to realize in the months to come that I have seen every shade of red in the pantone chart living here….I have been on every scale of anger ever charted….
For me China is a love hate relationship….I love it in the fact that it is a good place to be for business and I can make/save a lot of money here. I hate it here though most of the day….people told me that it would be easier when I learned to speak Mandarin….so I did just that…I learned…it did become easier….but I still am just as angry on a daily basis…I have to leave here twice per year for at least a couple weeks…..preferably 3 weeks…but not always possible.
I am stuck here for the next 16 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours 36 minutes, ….when my little monster hits 18….I will be kicking myself out the door and leaving the house to him….
In hindsight now after all these years…..I have seen it all….I just can’t imagine not coming her though…it has made me more patient and more able to ignore things….which is good….
I have so many stories similar to the first day…..when I think of them sometimes…it almost feel like they were dreams…bad dreams that is.