Please Take Advice


For the last two mornings, I have tried to obtain an ATM card with my husband’s assistants. The first morning I failed to bring my passport; the appointment was actually scheduled for Friday but someone, who shall remain nameless, strongly suggested I come into the office and get it over with since he had botched the date and I was in the car anyway. Naturally, I did not have my passport with me so I could not complete the process. To cheer myself up I thought I would pick up with Season 2 of The Closer, but no, the DVD hovel was closed. My frustration was just beginning to ferment, but was kept in check at this point, as lunch and a mani/pedi with Princess Ai Lin were in the offing.

Duly groomed, I returned yesterday with two assistants, one English speaking and one Chinese only speaking, passport in hand. The local branch, a 10 x 10 meter room with 6 attendants servicing 100 people, was steamy at 10:30 in the morning. I was told I was “lucky” as the office was not crowded. As we snaked our way through the line for 20 minutes, I noticed that neither assistant had anything in their hands but cell phones. Is it possible, I thought, that they have memorized Mr. U’s bank account information? Curious, I asked if they had this information.

“Oh no, we don’t need it.”

“Yes, yes you do. We share the same account,” I replied. “I just need an ATM card for the same account. That is why I am here.”

Looking at me as if I had sprouted two heads, they told me that it would only be possible to set up my own account and then my husband could transfer money into that account for me. Then they explained that you can only have one card per account, there are no joint accounts. I called Mr. U, who bless his heart, had much bigger problems to solve but who spoke to me as if he were leader of a bomb squad, having ascertained from Ass. 1 and Ass. 2 that this was in fact the case. Hanging up the cell phone, I got out of the front of the line, mystifying the women trailing me, and returned to the office where I secured in my possession the working ATM card, joining countless families who now share one card but not one account.

Later at the Metro store, the Costco of China, and my new home away from home, I took out $$$ from the ATM. And then I took out some more. Today and tomorrow I will do the same as Mr. Understanding is traveling next week and we might want to eat or pay customs duties on our shipment or some other foolishness; I cannot, in good conscience, leave Mr. U cardless for a week. As keeper of the card, I have to keep track of these little slips of paper printed in Chinese; when the machine was finished printing the monitor said to me “Please take advice.”

Back at you. Where do I start?

NB: Again, my apologies for to my readers for lack of posting. The internet was kaput yesterday and before that it was spotty; sometimes I can get emails but not access to this website.



Filed under Life, Misunderstandings, Moving

7 responses to “Please Take Advice

  1. Yikes! I guess that you can not have a emergency while your husband is out of town. I guess it is under the mattress time.

    By the way, I thought my post funny yesterday. Chocolate on pork tacos was pretty funny to me.

  2. Flaky Friend

    My household would be bankrupt if I was in charge of keeping track of those little slips of paper. Good luck!

  3. Mood Ring Mama

    You’re brave – I can’t imagine life without an ATM card. Are you having phantom pains???

  4. Winnie

    What, do you conjecture, do they translate “advice” to mean? Confucius say, “Chinese way of life hold many mysteries for Western ATM addicts”. I’m of the opinion that plastic should work anywhere, anytime – no questions asked or “advice” given!!!

  5. Jody

    Oh my gosh! I thought my move to France was stressful!! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compared to your move to China. Only you, MK, could pull it off, with manis and pedis to boot. You go girl. Your story reminded me of when I arrived in Brazil, and finally got my ATM card (after months of trying), only to find out that the bank sent me a bank card for children where by 25 reais per day could be taken out of the account. I was NUTTY by then, and ready to freak out. I know how frustrated you must have been. Look forward to more of your witty stories of your new life in China. Beijos, JJ

  6. expat princess

    Radish: You left me at peaches …

    FF: this move may bankrupt me in the end. At least I have not had time to go shopping yet.

    MRM: Ha ha. Indeed. Who wears the plastic pants in this family?

    Winnie: did you know that Confucious was a misogynist? He had an early unhappy marriage which seems to have colored all of his teachings.

    JJ: You had a terrible move to Brazil, this is true. Are you still sleeping on blow up mattresses? Write in with some French stories, please.

  7. maria

    That´s really funny,can not imagine you with no money or ATM card…..Maybe it´s a Mr.U and Chinese people “complo”…

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