Monday, December 17, 2007


Something is happening in our house, the likes of which I thought only happened in China. Last night the air con in our dining room turned itself on and refused to be turned off. We had to leave it running all night. In the morning, I climbed up and manually switched it to off (which Erik tried unsuccessfully a number of times before) and it stopped. Five minutes later it started again. I finally figured out that if it starts on its own, I can turn off the main switch and make it stop for awhile. This is not a long term solution. When I called the AC guy he laughed and said he'd be by later to check it out.

This sort of quirky thing happened in China all the time - stuff that makes you scratch your head and say, "Oh well. What can you do?" Like the time my friend opened her window and it just fell out. When that happens on the 20th story of an apartment building you just yell "Four!" and hope for the best. Thankfully we lived on the back side of the building. Another time a friend's washing machine spontaneously caught on fire - just out of the blue, with no apparent instigation. My upstairs neighbor's tile floor buckled. We didn't have hot water for the first month or two in our bathroom. When they came to check it out, all they had to do was open a valve that had been covered when we first moved in. Not only was that keeping us from having hot water, but it was keeping everyone who lived below us from having it too. Oops - sorry. And my personal favorite - my neighbor turned on the shower one day, not knowing that they'd shut off the water that day (this happened often - usually there was a notice at the bottom of the building, but that's not helpful if you can't read Mandarin). She left to go shopping, but left the water on and a plunger over the drain (because otherwise the smell came up). Since her bathroom had no bathtub, when the water came on it poured out of the bathroom, down the hall, into the living room, and was making its way to the bedrooms by the time they returned.

Stuff like that happens there. It made life more interesting. So this quirky AC thing brings with it a bit of nostalgia for me. And after that quickly passes, I hope it will be fixed before our electricity bill goes up too much.

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