Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why there haven't been any pictures

My laptop has slowed down ever since we got to Chengdu and I can’t figure out why. Plus, our apartment doesn’t have Internet yet because the people who lived there before us didn’t think that paying the phone bill was important, so any time I want to check my email I have to come to one of the other apartments.

The most significant reason for not having uploaded pictures yet is that China censors my blog from me. That’s right, I can’t go to websites with a .blogspot.com domain. I can write posts and edit them, and I get emails of people’s comments, but I haven’t actually been to my blog since I created it before I left.

Today is a breakthrough day. We arrived in Chengdu last Saturday, and on that first day I realized that I didn’t have a heater, so I slept in Traci’s bed. On the second day, I realized that I wouldn’t be getting a heater, so I slept in Traci’s bed. On the third day, I went out and bought a heater (and carried it all the way home), but couldn’t plug it in, so I slept in Traci’s bed. On the fourth day, I went to the store to buy an adapter, but they didn’t have any of the type that I needed, so I slept in Traci’s bed. On the fifth day, I found an adapter that worked (it turns out that you only need two of the three prongs to be adapted, so I used one that converted American plugs to the European circly kind), but realized that the plugs in my room didn’t work, so I slept in Traci’s bed. On the sixth day, today, I got the maintenance guys to come and fix my room and now I have heat, so tomorrow on the seventh day I will rest. It’s been like the creation story, except that every day has ended will “Will saw that it was bad, so he went to sleep.”

And good news in a different category: we have hot water again. A few days ago our hot water heater decided that it wanted to join in on the fun of things going wrong and has worked spottily. I thought I had a system worked out in which I turned the faucet on full blast, igniting the flame to make our water hot, and then I could turn on the shower and turn off the faucet. It turns out that was just luck, though, because last night when I was feeling sick and really just needed to take a shower, hot water was nowhere to be found and I just gave up. Today I got our program director to bring her husband over and he diagnosed that the problem was as simple as a dead battery, so tonight we should be set.

I think that pretty much sums up the kind of triumphs I’ve been having recently. I wish I had more time to do fun things online, like add pictures from when we visited Shanghai, or talk about how there’s like 30 people in the program this semester, but I still haven’t met all of them because the year-long students are trickling in from their winter traveling, or basics about Chengdu, like how you can only see the sun a few times a year, how it doesn’t really rain, it “mists” according to Google weather—an accurate description, I’d say—or how Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province and is the tenth largest city in China, with a population roughly the size of LA. But at this point when I’m just trying to stay healthy using my holiday-tinted lip balm and copious amounts of vitamin C and Chinese vocabulary, I think information will just have to be picked up as I happen to mention it.

2 comments:

Virginga said...

Ok, Will, here is a promise I hope you will make: to be very, very careful with your heater if you ever get it connected and working. I suspect it isn't the kind the shuts off it is gets tipped over(not to mention how it will react if wet clothes, or dry, are left near it). You get the message. Grammas are allowed these liberties of embarrassing you with fretful worries born of experience...Stay healthy and safe.
I can imagine how your head might have a space where it is writing all the interesting things you mentioned and yet the rest of your head is just too busy meeting your needs for food and shelter. Maybe Maslow was onto something. When the time is right we'll still be listening.
Hi to your new friends. I hope we get to meet them sometime.
Love to you, Virginia PS we just had our 1st snowfall.

Mel said...

holiday tinted lip balm!!