Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My first supermarket experience

After lunch with Mr. Dong and Mr. Fu (I’m so not making those names up), the three of us girls went to the supermarket to get some necessities for our apartments.

I ended up with towels, a new bed set because of how much the old one smells, hand towels, a set of dishes and glasses, a tea kettle, a desk lamp, hand soap for the bathroom, an all-purpose cleaner, hangers, a laundry basket, house shoes, a bath mat to put in the shower, a bath mat to put outside the shower, a new hair dryer, and tons of other things. For the most part, finding stuff wasn’t too bad because we were able to go on our own. The biggest problem we ran into was trying to figure out how the linens worked. Apparently it is very hard to find an actual bed set in China. They like to sell thing separately. And, having no grasp of the language and needing to say something that the phrase book doesn’t include definitely doesn’t make our lives any easier. What I needed to find was a bed set that would fit my massively huge bed. I knew there would be no way to communicate that, so I ended up going with a queen size duvet, sheet, pillow combo that will at least cover the bed, but not be able to tuck in. It’s actually pretty cute. It’s white with purple and pink flowers on it. It cost me 300 yuan, or about $47. I’m going for a pink theme here in my apartment, because it seemed like the easiest and I will probably never, ever decorate an apartment back home with pink or flower patterns. Again, hopefully there will be pictures soon!

Each of us had an entire cartful of stuff that we bought. We were planning on taking a taxi home, even though the apartments are a short walk away, because of how much stuff we had. That was, until we got to the check out and I realized that Mr. Dong had never given us a card with our school’s address on it. Scratch the taxi plan… There was no way we’d be able to express to a cab driver where we needed to go.

Plan B was to just pretend to be stupid Americans and take our carts with us, then return them when we came back the next day. Honestly, it probably would have worked. We were definitely the entertainment for everyone at that shopping mall. If we were doing something out of the ordinary, they would attempt to tell us, realize we were American, mutter mei guo ren (American in Chinese), and just walk away.

Thankfully, on our way out, we ran into the three boys we met when we were moving in – our building “monitor”, a guy from Chile, and another guy whose name I never caught. Although none of them really speak much English, they helped us carry all of our bags, mops, and baskets back to the apartment complex. I’m hoping that Joaquin (I think that’s what he said his name is) will be able to help me practice some of my Spanish while I’m here so I don’t forget it!

So, back at the apartment, I cleaned out the sink and counter in the bathroom. It turned out okay, but the amount of dirt and grime on it was absolutely disgusting. We’re talking, it-turned-my-sponge-grey disgusting. I don’t even know how in the world an apartment can get this disgusting. Who lived here and didn’t even attempt to clean? Who would want to live like this?!

Currently, I have my water thing on so in AN HOUR I can start to clean out my shower and actually have water to rinse the Clorox off with. I’m so upset and disgusted. These are the clean, nice apartments? God help the other students on this program. I’ve sprayed cleaner in my shower and I’m letting it sit. I’m not even a germophobe or a manic cleaner. I’m usually okay with a certain amount of uncleanliness…but this is over the top, unacceptable. There are dead bugs in my shower. The floor is grey. I don’t want to be scared of walking around my own apartment. Oh, and another thing. The effing shower leaks. Even though it’s a closed shower and it’s raised off the ground, apparently no one in China has ever heard of actually SEALING the shower so water doesn’t leak out between the cracks. We had this same problem at our hotel.

I’m sorry for the rant, this is just really grossing me out.

Cleaning my apartment is making me panic. I’ve gone from being completely happy with being here and thinking that I’ve made a great choice to thinking that this is the worst idea ever. I’m panicking because there’s nothing I can do about it. Even if I wanted to go home, I’m almost a full 24 hours of travel away from anyone. I don’t want to go home. I really don’t.

This is a low point. Anyone moving out of the country for a year has them, and once my apartment is clean and I have things to do, it will get better. I know myself, and I know I’ll make the most out of my year here.

I still don’t have my Ethernet cable. We couldn’t find one at the supermarket, so here’s to hoping that the Future Mall has one and we can find it tonight. (Again, you’ll be reading this God knows how long after I’ve written it on my computer because I don’t have the internet).

Again, I feel if I just had the internet or a phone or some way of communicating with the outside world, this moment of panic would pass much more quickly. But, I don’t. I have myself, here, alone, in China.

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