NOTA PARA NUESTROS LECTORES EN ESPANOL: A la derecha tenemos un boton de traduccion gracias a Google Translate. La traduccion no es 100% perfecta pero bastante buena. No dejen de leer nuestras entradas en ingles solo porque estan en ingles! El internet hace todo el trabajo!
Well, I figured it would be fun to talk a little about the “little adventures” of everyday life in China. I’ve kept fairly busy working on job applications, my ongoing internship at Zidisha, subbing at Cam’s school (mostly to middle and high school students), decorating our place, etc.
We have hired an ayi (the Chinese word for house help) to come clean our apartment twice a week. Here you actually pay per hour, and at the end of the month. With me spending more time out of the house working as a substitute teacher it’s nice to have someone take care of cleaning the apartment. Since I love during my laundry (It’s weird – I find it relaxing!) and have a thing against other people doing my laundry (I think I have to thank my mother for that one), we still do that, along with ironing (I would maybe want to ask her to do some of that because while I do enjoy ironing I’m not great at it). It’s a work in progress, but going okay so far. Also I want to make sure we’re not always doing something around the house and can actually spend some time together. Help here is significantly cheaper than the Dominican. We are paying about US$75 for our lady to come twice a week. I’m not sure that would’ve got us a whole lot down there – and of course accounts for nothing in the US.
Last Wednesday we had a couple of bills to pay, so off I went for some errand-running. It was electricity, internet, and a water bill we kept forgetting at home every time we left the house and was now two days late. This last one, we had to go to a bank to pay but turns out the bank closes at 4 so Cam left school too late to do it.
Electricity – piece of cake. You go to a convenience store, give your bill to the cashier, pay the money, she stamps it, you leave. Pretty easy. I then left to try to find a place where I could pay internet. Google Maps didn’t really help me so I put the address on Google Translate and took a cab. Long story short, the China Telecom office was around the corner from where I was originally. Fail.
Internet bill, also easy. Show your bill, give money, get your bill stamped, leave.
So next up was the late water bill. Cameron had told me there was one branch of the bank we needed to go to across the street from the mall (where we do everything else). For some reason I forgot and I was going to another branch. I got on a taxi, told the taxi dude to turn left…and off we went into the deepest boonies of Kangqiao (which is a lot to say because Kangqiao, where we live, is kind of the epitome of the boonies). I realized I should’ve told him to turn right after about a mile and a half, and asked him to just take me back to the mall. Second cab fare down the drain in less than an hour.
I finally get to the bank and (angelic music here – AAAAHHHH) the teller speaks English! Yay! She tells me to go to some machine to pay my bill. Yes, you pay your water bill in an ATM sort of machine. A guard came over to point things out to me because everything is in (surprise surprise) Chinese characters. Seemingly you can’t pay with cash, so I tried Cam’s Chinese debit card. Nope. I go back to the teller, so sheepishly confused, because I had no idea of whether I had been able to pay the bill or not. I showed her my card, and no. She then sends me to the bank that issued the debit card to see if they had a machine so I can pay the bill there. I get there, no machines. I show the bill to the information lady, she writes something in Chinese characters on a deposit slip. (Because that’s going to help me so much). If you know me, you’ll figure out by this point I was this close to just burst into tears in the middle of the bank. I just left, because I already get stared at enough here as it is…imagine if I start crying in the middle of a bank.
I decided to give the convenience store another try although Cam had tried the day before. You can’t pay late bills there.
In the end, we gave the bill to Mr. Fix It All at Cam’s school – I’m not kidding, this dude gets things DONE – to take care of.
This is a very long way to say WHEN IN CHINA PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME, otherwise it’s a pain in the butt.
We’re pretty much done getting appliances. In the past week we got a blender/juicer/food processor (it was on sale!) and a used toaster. That, in addition to the countertop oven should keep me happy. I could just use a hand mixer…then my kitchen would be totally geared up.
The highest point of this past week was riding my bike all the way to school, no stopping, no almost-bumping-into scooters, AND biked through the crosswalks!!!!!! I’ll have to show you a picture of my super pretty cherry red bike.
This is it for now – tomorrow it’s a Chinese holiday so…day off! Tonight, we’re going to a hockey game (yup, ice hockey) and tomorrow…sleeping in, taking it easy and having some friends over for empanadas and mojitos!
Until next time,