I have been on a pretty standard sleep schedule, waking between 6:30 and 7:30 AM. This morning I woke up like usual, in a pool of my own sweat, cursing the 105 degree weather and swimming through the Chongqing humidity. I threw on some clothes, the least amount possible (but just enough to prevent scaring C should she leave her room) and headed to the sofa to try to keep my skin from melting while I surfed the web and watched some CCTV5.
Showers are the highlight of my day right now, because the water is a comfortable cold and it’s the only 10 minutes of the day I don’t spend sweating out the toxins. At about 10 am, I was ready to give in to a shower to begin my Thursday layer of sweat. As I headed for my room there was a knock at the door.
Who’s there? I’ll give you a hint: It was not the cops, a crazy crack head* or Publisher’s Clearing House. Yes, standing at five feet tall and weighing in at 100 pounds it was GRANNY. Replay her last visit, minus the washing machine. Granny came in and began toiling away over our marble floors. The little girl was with her and immediately got to watering the plants. I knocked on Catherine’s door – warning her they were back. Again we toiled, mystified as to what they needed. Why is our landlord’s mother in our apartment? Why is she cleaning? What does she need? Does she think we’ve picked up Mandarin in the last 3 days and will be able to chat with her?
C picked up the phone and we called the foreign relations office to ask for some translation and inquiry to why Granny was back. Let this be our first lesson in how different American and Chinese culture is. Granny was just there to be helpful and friendly. Seriously. Our translator attempted to explain to granny the American way of being left alone after renting – asking Granny to give a bit of warning before dropping by next time. If you are thinking what I’m thinking, it’s that there will be many more stories in the Granny series to come.
Our apartment is now an even better deal. A 2BR/1BA apartment with a built in cleaning lady – not bad for $238/month. Has there ever been a time in the US when your landlord has showed up to clean for you? If so please let me know where and how much your rent was – I’d happily live there.
*This is mostly a jest on my brother, who opened his door to a stranger – who ended up being a crack head. However, I will admit my own stupidity because I opened the door only after asking “Who is there?” twice and getting no reply. In my own defense – I’ve not seen any crack heads since arriving in Chongqing so I was willing to bet on my own life and Catherine’s that opening the door would reveal some sort of pleasant and non dangerous surprise.