Monday, October 11, 2010

Being Taken Care Of

One of the shitty things about living here, as an expat anyway, is, you can't do things yourself. Of course, the more Chinese you learn, the more you can do on my own—for example, I know enough to be able to go to the bank and transfer money without help—but there's still so much you can't do alone. And language isn't the only barrier, of course. Who you know has a lot to do with when or even whether things get done. Emma, one of the new Eastern teachers, is, as we say, my person. She takes care of the things I need. The new apartment had a leak, and the washing machine and a connection to the Internet needed to be installed. I know the Chinese for There's water on the floor, but after that, I'm pretty useless. Emma's been coming over to help with the problems. Today, after several hours helping me, with me grasping only a few words of every conversation between her and others, she told me she'd never handled these kinds of things. She didn't know there was so much involved. "It's hard to live, huh?" she asked.

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