Saturday, July 28, 2012

Driving With Jeremy

This picture is for illustration purposes only. While my husband definitely needs more practice operating a motor vehicle, this is not his doing, thankfully.

He did it. Jeremy bought us a car. He had been talking about it and despite my myriad reasons for why we shouldn't have one, he felt they paled in comparison to why we SHOULD have one. So here we are, the proud owners of a 2008 Chevy Aveo. Yes, he bought American, which is kind of cute actually. It's not bad though it is small. And somehow, the previous owner saw fit to remove the buckle part of the rear seatbelts so there is nothing to connect them and secure you into the vehicle. Jeremy also can't unlock the trunk with the key and if it wasn't for me, he wouldn't have figured out why the A/C wasn't blowing cold (he simply needed to push the big button that said "A/C" on it). But that's not the worst of our problems.

Raelynn was almost out of diapers, which meant it was time for us to head over to the Carrefour. It's only 2 bus stops away and has the best prices on diapers. In colder weather, it's actually a nice walk there. But this is summer and it sucks right now. It is so hot and humid and most people and businesses are too fucking cheap to turn on the A/C enough to make a difference. Almost every single bus in the whole city is without A/C as well. And yes, that means the buses are even smellier than usual because the concept of using soap is lost among the masses. During July and August, getting a taxi is damn near impossible because of all the tourists. But why walk, take the slow and stinky bus or stand on the side of the road flailing our arms about in attempt to hail a cab when all we have to do is take our own car?

To be honest, I was terrified of riding in the car with Jeremy. I think back to how brave my mom was when I first learned how to drive. I bet she will laugh when she reads this, as riding with my new-driver husband is payback tenfold. Oh yes.

It's not so much my fear for my own safety, which indeed I am fearful. It's more so my fears for Raelynn and keeping her safe. We don't have a child safety seat yet. Over here, no one uses them. You see kids crawling about in the back of cars all day long. Worse, you see people on motorcycles with no helmets and their infants and toddlers hanging on for the ride. Whenever I take a taxi, I have to hold her in my lap. It's not something I like doing but I keep praying these slowpokes will finish building the damn subway already. I think they have about a year and a half left on the construction of that thing.

Add my fears to Jeremy's own lack of confidence with driving and it was a very tense drive indeed. Getting to the Carrefour should take about 6 minutes. But it felt like 100 years. I did my best to keep Raelynn calm and quiet. From the start, she was screeching due to how hot it was. I had to show Jeremy how to make the A/C cold in the car. Once that happened, things were a little smoother though not much. I could see in his eyes reflecting from the rear view mirror just how nervous he was. I could feel the tension too. He drove slowly and doubtfully. I wished I'd told him to buy one of the automatic transmission vehicles he'd looked at. I just wanted to shove him into the passenger seat and take over. But I can't drive stick and in grand Jeremy-style, he wanted to save some money and buy the manual transmission which is always cheaper.

I tell him to turn after the buses in front of the Carrefour because it seems the parking is there and he coasts past it. Then he slows and grazes the curb, confused about how to get in there. He backs up (here, that is a normal move) and makes the oddest, most awkward turn into the Carrefour. There are big signs everywhere pointing to a parking garage. They are in English AND Chinese. So I can read them and I know he can too. Yet, he seems awfully perplexed by all this. Inside the garage, he is making the other drivers crazy by hovering in the way so no one can get around him. I try to patiently guide him but he's getting testy with me which is further stressing me out on this excursion. He doesn't seem to understand me when I tell him that the parking garage has many levels and he needs to turn around to get to the ramp. But by some incredible luck, the car in the first spot by the entrance leaves and we are able to take that spot.

Shopping at the Carrefour is uneventful. Unless you count Raelynn screaming bloody murder and wailing as we wheel her down the aisles or the stupid, ugly woman with bad man-style hair trying to cut in front of us in the line as exciting. Then it was back to the car. Jeremy was busy again in this devilish heat trying to unlock the trunk with the key. In the time he was monkeying around with it, I pulled down the backseats and loaded the big box of diapers and our bag of sundries into it, folded up the stroller and had Raelynn ready to go. He still couldn't manage to get it open, despite asking some older gentleman who apparently worked at the Carrefour. I love my husband but I get so annoyed when he does that - asks someone who also has not one teensy clue in their heads about something they can't help him with.

Now we're on the road again, leaving the Carrefour. Jeremy is driving even more slowly and the merry attitude he'd just had while inside the store has completely dissolved into nervous wreck again. I keep praying we make it home unscathed. He takes the longest way possible there, which makes me think he's afraid to make the left turn near the store where there is no traffic light and I can't say I blame him for that one. On this return trip, he stalls out the car no less than 10 times. Each time, I can feel him getting even more frustrated. I try to coach him along and tell him not to worry, even when a line of cars begins honking at us. "Take your time. Panicking and rushing are not going to start the car up. They will wait. Don't listen to them," I instruct him. He silently broods and keeps attempting to get us rolling again. And finally, we're off. He comes quite close to some other cars and I find myself holding my breath, then breathing a sigh of relief when we've passed them safely.

Finally, we make it to our building. Jeremy tells me to take Raelynn and the stroller and get out while he parks. I oblige, being delighted to be alive and home in one piece. My husband proceeds to attempt to park while I watch in silent embarrassment. He is backing up so slowly that it seems time has stood still as I stand there, rolling the stroller back and forth, quite sure that tortoises or even MIL could have walked back and forth across the street at least 10 times in this duration. And as he is backing up, cars keep coming and going, all of them honking angrily at him for being in the way. Even I'm getting bothered by how long he's taking to navigate this little car out of the road. Here, you park on the sidewalk. Of course, Jeremy chose the highest curb and was now bouncing the car's tires into it repeatedly with no success. Again, we got lucky. A man in a car across the street from the spot my husband was attempting to make his own pulled out. I holler to Jeremy to just take it since there is no enormous curb to roll up. All he has to do is roll into this one. Now Raelynn, the car and I all breathe a collective sigh of relief. That is until my husband began fiddling with the lock on the trunk again. I ran back over to him, nearly ramming him in the ankles with Raelynn's stroller and fished our stuff out of the trunk by dropping the back seats once again. I was in no mood to wait around while he cluelessly fiddled around with the car some more.

I am proud of him for trying, I really am. But I don't want to ride in the car with him again until he gets more practice. I think if he has a few more lessons, he will relax more and have the confidence he needs to become a good driver. Until you ride around with that driving coach again though, this is for you, my darling:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eggstra! Eggstra! MIL Sucks!

This is my brain. when MIL is around. AUGH!!!!!

Ok, so for those of you that read my blog regularly, you know this is not breaking news. MIL sucks. Le Duh! But if you're new here (welcome, by the way) then you've got some catching up to do. In a nutshell, my mother-in-law is an overbearing cow with rotting rat-like teeth and I cannot stand her. Do you have a MIL too? Is she as awful as mine? I can't be the only American suffering with a Chinese MIL, can I?

Anyway, this morning she came by as per our agreement to only ruin some of my summer vacation. She came while we were having breakfast. My sweet Chinese husband was making an egg for the baby by steaming it. We've been switching it up each day. One day, she gets her Chinese-style steamed egg. Other days, she gets them scrambled or fried. But of course, that old bag had to criticize the way my husband made the egg. Because we're too fucking stupid to make eggs, naturally! And she had even brought over 'special' eggs she claimed were from some chicken in the mountains. I know, I know. When I read that sentence over again, it just made me crack up. A special mountain chicken. Each egg from this supposedly special chicken is 5 yuan, which is a lot to a Chinese person. Hell, I consider it a lot because IT'S JUST A FUCKING EGG AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE FRESH EGGS WE HAVE IN OUR REFRIGERATOR.

I'll concede that their are organic products in this world that are supposed to be better for you. But in this country, nothing is regulated. There are no guarantees that the people selling you these things aren't lying through their teeth. So I am curious to know what kind of proof she has that this chicken lays golden eggs.

Today's steamed egg was not prepared properly according to the troll. She said Raelynn wasn't eating it because it wasn't cooked right. Maybe Raelynn wasn't eating it because you kept shoving wontons down her throat first! Eggsactly (pun intended, obviously) what the fuck is wrong with this woman? It doesn't even occur to her that she's fed the baby MORE than what I, an adult, ate for my breakfast. God, she is SO dumb. With all the old grandparents here taking care of the babies, it is no wonder all the kids in this country are fat and spoiled. America takes so much shit about being a fat country. Indeed, it is, but one must come over here and see all these fatasses for themselves. Chinese people love to use peanut oil which is about the worst thing you can cook with, health-wise. I shudder to think of Raelynn ever becoming like the huge, bratty kids we see running around downstairs. Ugh!

I decide to go take out my rage for MIL in my workout. I steal away into our bedroom to kickbox while the troll plays with Raelynn. I hear our annoying land line jingle, and then the sounds of the smelly wildebeast yammering away on the phone. And from the sound of it, Raelynn was getting agitated. I went to see what was the matter and found that the thing that should not be had been feeding Raelynn more wontons while she prattled on. I told her that was enough food and to please stop feeding her. But MIL doesn't listen to anyone because she thinks, with her lofty 2nd grade education, that she is always right. I went back to exercising. Upon finishing, I went to refill my coffee. And again, trollface was on the phone. And again SHE WAS FEEDING RAELYNN MORE FOOD! Seriously?!? This. Bitch.

I lost it. At least I yelled at her in English which she doesn't at all understand. But even someone as dense as her could have picked up on how angry I was. Respect my elders my fucking ass. How about you respect me inside my house a little bit first? How about you ASK me if I'd mind if you made Raelynn another egg instead of going over my head about it? How about I just drive you off to the glue factory now, you horrid beast of burden?!? Yes, that last one would be most eggsellent.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

There Is No Tomorrow

No need to worry, friends. Tomorrow never dies, for us anyway. But for MIL, her dreams of tomorrow have been smashed to bits, delivered in the form of a powerful punch wrapped in a big smile filled with my poorly-spoken Chinese. No, she's not dying. I wouldn't gloat about that. I will, however, boast about my victory today.

If you recall the incident on my first day of summer vacation, then you will no doubt remember how my husband and I negotiated tirelessly about allowing his troll-faced goon of a mother to come over to see the baby. Even though that manipulative beast gets to spend about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with Raelynn when I'm working. To keep the peace, I agreed to let her come see Raelynn for 2 hours on Monday mornings. I figured I could use the time to do a really heavy workout. Most other times, I get my exercise by jiggling Raelynn to sleep (believe me, that is a major workout ever since MIL broke the baby chair) and sneaking in ab and arm exercises while she is otherwise occupied. It certainly works though I have to say I do like getting it all done in one big shot.

So today is MIL's big day. It's Monday. And naturally, despite being told she could come from 8am-10am, she was calling us at 7am and inside our home by 7:15am. Her ploy to sneak in extra time? She brought breakfast. Nothing I wanted to eat, mind you. She just did this to look like the ever-helpful mother to her son and the rest of the neighborhood because that's all the people in this country care about - what other people think of them (though I have to be honest, if you all care that fucking much, take care of your fucking teeth and shower! And would it KILL you to dress in matching clothes? I mean come the fuck on!). I'd been in the bathroom when she arrived so when I got out, Jeremy assured me she just came to bring breakfast and she would wait until 8am to spend her time with Raelynn.

Fine, I grumbled and scowled in her direction. Raelynn was still asleep anyway, for once not waking me up at 6am. My husband kissed my forehead and told me not to worry as he sprinted out the door for his morning run. As for me, I knew better. I know damn well what happens when you give MIL an inch. That cow had it planned out all along. After Jeremy took off, she tried to pick up Raelynn and I told her not until 8am. She then started blabbering on and on about how tomorrow she wouldn't be here before 8am and I just gave her the stink eye. "Mingtian?" I say to her (which is "tomorrow" in Chinese). Yes, she tells me. Tomorrow she'll come and that's when I halt her. "Bu bu bu. Meiyou mingtian." I tell her. Translation: "No, no, no. There is no tomorrow." She put on her best sulk but I'm not buying it. I know she's going to try to guilt Jeremy into letting her come.

When my husband does return from his run, we eat (I attempt to anyway) the breakfast she's brought us. It's gross. It's some flavorless rice soup, a cucumber and some shrimp-flavored fried potato things that look like hashbrowns. Those were okay I suppose. Oh, and my husband made me eggs too because he knew without them, I'd have starved. Over breakfast, I tell him what she said. He assures me not to worry and that she will not be coming tomorrow.

After eating, Jeremy gets ready to leave for work. And I get ready for my workout. He says goodbye to us and that's when MIL tries to play the oh-woe-is-me-I'm-an-old-lady-who-has-no-fucking-life-so-I-must-constantly-interfere-with-yours card. She ASKS him about tomorrow. Yes, while I am right there. After I have told her NO. And I love you Jeremy, because you had my back. You told her no too. Thank you.

I am happy to meet in the middle. I am happy to give her a little time once a week while I'm on vacation if it will keep the peace. But I refuse to have her try to run our family. This is MY family. I rule this roost. You ruled yours. You did your job. Now go learn how to bake and knit like other grandmas. Go do something with your husband. Go, go, go and let us exist in peace!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Driven To Insanity

I've been meaning to write about this for a little while. I know I've alluded to this topic very slightly in a couple of my posts. But now it's on. Given the title, you've probably assumed that this is about my stupid in-laws. Well, not so much. It's about Jeremy.

You might remember that I mentioned my husband got his driver's license here. I cannot for the life of me figure out which post I stated that in so no link for you. Anyway, traffic here frightens me. That says a lot when you come from Miami where anything goes. The scariest taxi ride I'd ever had in Miami involved a driver who had picked my ex and me up down in South Beach and proceeded to careen all over the road, lit up like he'd just pushed off or something. That was even scarier than when I hailed a cab in Mexico. But the traffic here makes those experiences look like serene Sunday drives along a beach made of candy and rainbows.

My joke about Chinese drivers is that one day, a car was delivered to China. And some guy climbed in and toyed with all the buttons and such until he felt he could operate it well enough. And this guy then taught everyone around him to drive as badly as he did. If you see how people drive here, my theory makes complete sense.

Something that makes no sense to me though, in a place this crowded, with a subway almost completely constructed, is that my husband now wants to buy a car. He's buying it this weekend. I've given up arguing with him because I've been completely driven to insanity over this issue. I don't want a fucking car here. I don't even want to live here. What sucks all the more is his nosy parents told him they would pay half of whatever we paid for the car. Oh goodie! Can I just tell you we don't need their money? I, for one, don't want their money. They are always pulling shit like this so they can tell us what to do. I keep trying to give it back to them but nothing works. When I bought health insurance for Raelynn, AFTER I'd paid for it, MIL gave us 10,000 yuan for Raelynn's health insurance. Why she feels the need to try to one-up me all the time I will never know. I should just take that 10,000 yuan and apply it to our move which I am hoping to have happen within the next few years. I will move us so far away that we seldom, if ever, have to see those people again.

I strongly oppose owning a car here for so many reasons. Let me count the ways...
1) My husband has only just learned to drive. It will be like riding around with my 16 year old self. Eeek.
2) I don't think Jeremy fully gets what owning a vehicle entails. I made him a list of costs that he'd have to assume with owning a car (gas, insurance, parking, registration, etc.) but I don't think he truly gets it.
3) I loathe being dependent on people (if you know me personally, you know this quite well) so I will be agitated to sit somewhere, waiting for my husband to come pick me up.
4) When we do go somewhere, we will likely spend hours trying to find a parking space.
5) The trolls will probably pester us to drive them EVERYWHERE.
6) Jeremy wants to use the car to take Raelynn out to Laoshan which is the most boring place I have ever been. It's where my in-laws' other house is which he wants us to visit. That, my sweet husband, is not even remotely what I consider fun. How about you stab me in the eyes with chopsticks instead? That seems decidedly so much more fun than an afternoon with the goat-faced village folks in Laoshan.
7) I fear for our lives even though the car he plans to buy has been inspected and has airbags on all sides.
8) Despite his insistence that he doesn't mind having to drive me around, he'll throw it in my face when he has a bad day and needs to take it out on someone. Ugh.
9) I'd rather us rent a different apartment in the center of the city and rent this one out to someone. I'd be so much happier if we lived in a building with an elevator (oh what luxury!), where I'd at least see some other foreigners and easily be able to push the stroller down the street to neighboring malls and coffee shops. But noooo. He thinks buying the car and all the costs associated with it will be cheaper than renting. Hand me those chopsticks. I think I'm ready to jam them in my eyes now.

But wait. Perhaps there are some good points. There must be...right? Let's see if we can think of some...
1) We could use it to accidentally-on-purpose run over the in-laws.
2) I don't have to stand in the hot sun trying to flag down a taxi during tourist season, which is the hardest time of year to get a taxi. Just today, on my way to meet a friend for lunch, as I folded up Raelynn's stroller to put in the trunk of the taxi that stopped for me, some old cow (incidentally, all the old ladies here look alike. They ALL look like MIL which makes me instantly hate them all with the biggest passion ever.) and her adult son tried to start in on MY taxi. I yelled at her in English and the taxi driver, who had been a gentleman and had gotten out of the taxi to help me put the stroller in the trunk, told her to buzz off. She began to complain that she'd been waiting first, way down the street. How the hell would I know that? I myself had gone up and down the intersecting street, and not having any taxi luck, decided to take the bus. When I saw an available one come by while I was at the bus stop, I tried my luck and the taxi gods were on my side. You have vegetables. I have a baby. I win. Take the bus. Toodle-loo!
3) Maybe it has a CD player in it so we can listen to English songs. That would be kind of cool.
4) We can shop in bulk more easily. Which never really bothered me since it's an unspoken rule we have that Jeremy is to carry everything we buy up the stairs and I carry Raelynn.
5) Maybe we can use the time in the morning when Jeremy will drive me to work to talk more, which could be nice since some nights, we don't get to talk as much as we would like to. If I'm right about the costs of the car versus the apartment issue though, I can use it to find new ways to sing, "I told you so" over and over again to drive him to insanity too. Now that's a win-win!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Nightmare Summer Vacation

Today is the first day of my month-long summer vacation from school. A time when I should be enjoying the days of summer, filling them with outings with my precious daughter, mingling with friends, plus getting things done around the house and in my life that I've been too busy to think about while the semester was in session. I've worked very hard and I've earned this time of relaxation. Yes, it should be my time, shouldn't it?

But naturally, my dreams of a blissful summer vacation have turned into a hellish nightmare before noon on my very first day! How, you ask? Well, for starters, this hideous creature showed up at our house BEFORE 8am:
What the fuck?!? Right? My husband INVITED her. I am so angry with him right now, you have absolutely no idea. But first, before I go into my rant about that, let's talk about this outfit, shall we? My dear friend Aaron Gordon would have a field day with this outfit. I should point out that she has worn pants that match that shirt before. Of course the shirt is like what would happen if flowers died and were then eaten by a sick goat that then proceeded to barf the whole thing back up again onto some cheap fabric. And these polka dot pants! Sweet merciful fuck! I have to wonder if she is going blind or if she dresses in the dark. I just...I just can't. THIS is what I had to look at before 8am.

Now, the old me would have assaulted anyone who dared to disturb me before 10am, but these days, if I sleep until 7am before the baby wakes me, that is what I consider sleeping in. So it's not like she woke me up. But while I was playing with Raelynn, I heard the phone ring. Then I heard my husband speaking in Chinese. He was using hushed tones so I couldn't hear everything he said, though I heard my name mentioned several times.

When he hung up the phone, he announced to me that his parents would be coming over today to - are you fucking ready for this shit - SHOW ME HOW TO FEED HER FOOD. Did you read that? Yes, they wanted to come over to show me how I should be feeding my daughter solid food. Exactly how fucking stupid do these people think I am?!? I was beyond insulted by this and to add insult to more insults, my husband allowed his mother to come to do this. Each day, she steams an egg for Raelynn. I don't mind that though I have requested Raelynn have some variety. Since that fell on deaf (and apparently dumb) ears, I always give her other foods when I get home from work: meats, vegetables and fruits. I was shocked that this stupid old cow would come into my fucking house to show ME how to make eggs. I KNOW HOW TO MAKE EGGS! I KNOW HOW TO FRY THEM. I KNOW HOW TO SCRAMBLE THEM. AND YES, I KNOW HOW TO STEAM THEM! GAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Jeremy had made it sound like she was coming around lunch time. So imagine my astonishment when I hear the troll herself rapping her gnarly old goat hooves on our front door. I'm still in my pajamas! My first day of vacation before 8am and already, it is being tainted with stress. She comes in and proceeds to gabble away about making eggs for Raelynn. I tell her in Chinese, "Xiexie, Mama, dan shi wo bu shagua." Which means, "Thanks Mama, but I am not stupid." She laughs and thinks I'm funny but I'm dead serious as I give her the death stare with the utmost of insistence while she continues to talk to me like I am some completely base person who has never once even seen an egg, let alone cracked one open.

After she prepared the steamed egg she deemed me too unfit a mother to prepare my damn self, she insisted she feed it to Raelynn because I am obviously so mentally deficient I cannot get food into my own daughter's mouth. So I strangled the laundry as I watched in full-on rage while this vomitous beast cooed at my daughter in my living room before 8am on my first fucking day of summer vacation.

Before she'd even gotten here, Jeremy and I had been negotiating. He felt his parents should be able to come over EVERY day on MY vacation to see Raelynn. I flipped out. I think that's really unfair, don't you? I'm the one who brings home the most bacon here. I have patiently waited for this break to come so that I could enjoy this precious time with my even more precious daughter. And this feels like a huge slap in my face. It says to me that I'm not important enough but because my face is white and I am an expert in English, I can fucking support our family and let those yokels take over raising Raelynn. I'm not having it.

I roared. Jeremy and I then spent the next 30 minutes before the troll arrived negotiating this point. No way could they come every day. How about they come once a week for dinner instead? Oh I know, what if they come Monday through Friday in the mornings from 8am to 9:30am? ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?!? And so went the negotiations until I agreed that Monday mornings, they could come over from 8am-10am to play with the baby while I stay in our bedroom in the confines of cold A/C to kickbox, and attempt not to kickbox their old, idiotic heads out the window.

At least tomorrow Raelynn and I have a lunch date with a friend of mine and her baby where us grown-ups will enjoy a nice bottle of wine and evidently have much to gab about. Being that she is married to a Chinese man too, perhaps she'll have some advice on what to do in my situation.

In the meantime, the house is quiet as Raelynn naps and my thoughts simmer down a bit. I'm still quite angry with Jeremy. Even angrier at MIL. But now that I've vented, I guess the best thing to do is be proactive. And that means now that I have more free time, I can spend it looking into HOW we can move to America in a few more years, which means we will be FAR from that ancient demented zombie and her overbearing ways. Now that's the ultimate vacation, isn't it? Freedom from her! Hooray!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Turn On The A/C Already!!!

Have you heard about those power outages, affecting millions of Americans? Maybe you're one of those poor folks, and if you are, I'm sorry and I hope your electricity returns soon. I'm sure those people would have their air conditioning units running full-blast right now if they had a way to power it.

Here in China, I appreciate every air-conditioned moment I've got, for they don't come easy. Even in my own home. We have 2 wall units: one is in our bedroom and the other is in Raelynn's room. I have to admit that we actually didn't even need to turn on our A/C until the last few days of June. It was truly breezy and nice outside, especially at night. But in a matter of days, it turned into that brutally hot summer weather and air conditioning became a necessity, in my eyes at least.

Before taking a much-deserved shower at the end of my day, I turned on our air. Jeremy, ever the penny-pincher, tells me I should wait until I get out of the shower to turn it on. Which to me makes no sense because I'm taking a shower because I feel hot, sweaty and sticky. Why would I take a shower and then walk back into hot, sweaty and sticky conditions? I won that war but very late that same night, I awoke. Not to my daughter's screams, thankfully. But to an overwhelming feeling of hot. I was sweating as though I'd had a nightmare. Why was I so fucking hot? And then, as Jeremy snored away, I noticed that he, at some point, had turned off the air while I slept in my mock-arctic bliss.

So why does he do stupid shit like that? Because his parents (and every other Chinese person ever) think the cost electricity generated from an air unit is akin to the astronomical national debt. Seriously. It does not cost THAT much to cool down our house. And it would stay cooler too IF YOU AND YOUR CRAZY PARENTS WOULDN'T OPEN THE FUCKING WINDOWS WHILE RUNNING THE A/C! Sweet merciful crap!

I can't stay cool at school either. There, I have to share an office with 4 Korean teachers, our director (also Korean) and the other English teacher (who happens to be French). And I like all of them until it comes to concerns about turning on the air conditioner. Well, the other English teacher had no right to complain the other day because she showed up to work dressed like she was going to a kegger on the beach. She had on a tank top that gaped at her underarm, revealing her bra, and way-too-short jean shorts. She has the figure for it but it was absolutely inappropriate to wear to work. She whined that she was cold and I shot her a look that would have frozen anything solid in its tracks. PUT ON SOME FUCKING CLOTHES! What cracks me up most about that is every other day, she dresses like it's winter outside. Long sleeves and jeans, sometimes long sleeves and capri pants. I think her icy personality probably contributes to her constant chilliness but that's a whole 'nother story.

And speaking of different stories, the Koreans are a whole different genre. ALL of them get cold quickly. But at least none of them show up wearing skimpy tank tops and daisy dukes. My boss, Lesley, is always dressed immaculately. The woman has incredible style. She's very classy. But she's always cold too, despite dressing in clothes that cover her quite well. As for the other Korean teachers, in Korean culture, they do not speak up to someone in authority if they disagree. So, for example, if Lesley changes the schedule on us, they just smile and nod and go along with it. If she turns off the air and it's hot, they smile and nod too. But an American like me will speak up. And for that, my Korean teacher, Christina, is grateful. I think even Kelly and Eunice, two of the other Korean teachers, don't want to be trapped in a room with humid air occasionally wafting in from one window that Lesley has opened just a slit.

Then, there's Eun Ah. I've mentioned her before. She complains when I turn on the air in our office. And in her classroom - where I have to go each afternoon to teach the four year olds for 30 minutes - she NEVER turns on the air. NEVER! She just opens the fucking windows even if it is hot and humid and there's no breeze and her poor little students are drenched in sweat. I'm sorry, but I shouldn't have to fucking sweat at my job. I can't take off my clothes. I don't understand what is so fucking hard about bringing a sweater or jacket with you in case you get cold. At least the semester is almost over (2 days left - yay!) and I get a month of vacation. A vacation where I can play at home with Raelynn, who also hates being hot, with the A/C units cranked to full blast.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Walk Among Them

I thought this picture of Jeff Daniels in "Dumb and Dumber" made for a good visual. That movie so totally rules!

You know those "they walk among us" jokes? I don't know who is originally responsible for them, but here's a link to some. The premise is that there are more of us intelligent folks ambling about in this world and for us to watch out for the stupid people out there. Well, here in China, it seems the reverse: smart people with common sense are in the minority and the vast unwashed masses of morons are who I walk among.

The man who lives directly beneath us is no exception. Actually, he makes MIL look like a valedictorian. Yes, he is truly that stupid. I always claim MIL is so stupid it is frightening. Not after today. This man is without a doubt the scariest kind of stupid there is. Here is why...

This morning, as I left for work, I smelled gasoline in our stairwell. I remarked about it to Jeremy as I was saying goodbye to him and Raelynn. He thought the smell was wafting in from outside. But when I got downstairs and outside, I didn't smell it anymore. I sent him a message while in Hao Shufu's taxi asking him to check it out. It had smelled very strong to me and I worried that one of the scumbag migrant workers from upstairs would smoke and start a massive explosion. When I got to work, Jeremy had texted back saying that our neighbor beneath us was the cause of the smell. Get ready for this: he said that the people up on floor 8 have a dog that keeps peeing on his door so instead of *gasp* talking to them about it like a normal person, he DOUSED HIS OWN DOOR AND THE LANDING WITH GASOLINE to attempt to deter the creature. I so wish that I was kidding but sadly, I am not. This guy is a fucking moron. A dangerous moron!

I get that it must be annoying to have a dog piss on your door every day. Why it pees on just his door, I don't know. We have never had this problem and the dog has to walk past our door too. Maybe those people let the dog do it on purpose since this guy is obviously seriously unhinged. In any event, this guy is a total fuckwad. He could have killed everyone in the building. I was shaking in fear at work until Jeremy had called me back to let me know the neighbor had cleaned it up. FIL had gone to check and make sure of it. The thought of a horrible explosion taking my daughter away from me, and yes, even MIL too, made me absolutely sick. I don't like MIL and sometimes I do hate her a little but I would never want something like that to happen to her.

My husband says this guy is a few wontons short of some soup since his wife left him some years ago. If he uses gasoline to attempt to stop pesky dogs from pissing on his door, I can see why she left him. Why couldn't he put chili powder there? It would have sent the dog a strong message without harming it or anyone in our building. I am beyond grateful that everything worked out okay though. We will just have to keep walking among them until we move back to the states. Are people this stupid in America? I've forgotten if they are this stupid, less stupid or more stupid. Of course, my old state of Florida seems to be the winner in all things stupid. But you tell me - do the people of China sound stupider (see all my MIL posts in addition to this one describing the neighbor), or are the people of the US stupider? Or is it a tie? Or is Florida still the champ? Discuss!