Lights Out

The fireworks ended last night signaling the end of Chinese New Year with the Lantern Festival. I am tired of the sonic booms thudding their way through my dreams, the pop and whistle of a bazillion firecrackers jolting me out of bed in the middle of the night. Historically, the Lantern Festival was one of the few days that women were allowed out of the house, cause for celebration indeed. If the girls were lucky, they might sneek a peek at their betrothed.

Ai Lin and I were chatting on the phone when a round of explosives was set off. She was laughing over the lack of safety standards. Which reminded me of how entire neighborhoods in Mexico, for some reason located near the pyramids and illicit firework factories, would sometimes go up in flames at 10 in the morning, no doubt the tequila fest the night before interfering with normal firing of synapses. That must be a pretty scarey job, making firecrackers. I bet it is the little old ladies who make the firecrackers in China, since they are expert dumpling makers. I have not heard of neighborhoods razed by fireworks in the PRC but that could be for a lot of different reasons.

Yesterday I hung pictures with 3 other people: a male driller, a woman to vacuum up the dust, and a translator, Emily. Emily and I got on like a house on fire. Except that her English is minimal and my Chinese non-existent. But persevere we did. I think if you look up the definition of patience in the Bible it will describe two women of wildly different linguistic backgrounds trying to communicate. Emily also supervised some furniture moving:

Me: Emily, can you have the men move the green chair to the living room and move the the white chair in the hall to the master bedroom, please?

Emily: You want green chair upstairs in bedroom with livingroom? White chair in livingroom?

Me: No, just move the green chair to living room and the white chair in hall to bedroom.

Emily: Green chair downstairs. White chair hall?

Me: No, green chair living room. White chair bedroom.

Emily: Oh, okay, green chair downstairs living room, white chair bedroom.

Me. Got it!

Emily was cute but I still had to crack a Corona at 2:52 p.m.

I should know by now to use condensed Chinglish. There are no “ings” , no tenses. Words as pictures. Emily said my Chinese was very good. I know 3 words and I use them with sickening repetition, not having had the energy to actually pick up a book or go to a class. The little dips, swoops, and salutes of Pinyin (anglicized Mandarin) are currently beyond me. Emily is a fibber.

Today is Double Maid Training Day. My new ayi is being joined by a new part time ayi (more is better). I will be channeling the author Peggy Parish. Mrs. Rogers and Amelia Bedelia times two will be in the house. Fortunately, the sheets have already been stripped.

P.S. I uploaded this myself!! Hurrah!

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3 Comments

Filed under Customs, Misunderstandings, People, Reading, Traditions

3 responses to “Lights Out

  1. Mood Ring Momma

    I got you beat on the Corona by 3 hours yesterday. I was you-know-where with you-know-who chattering about who-knows-what. Downed 2 in fact in record time. 🙂

  2. Aha! If I were you I’d take the 5th. I heard you had given up booze for Lent. Were these secret Coronas?

  3. Mood Ring Momma

    I did indeed give up booze, with the provisio that while in S.D., I was permitted, and in fact encouraged for everyone else’s sake, to imbibe.

    Tried to call you twice last night but you were out; will try again tonight.

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