Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Hunchun, China: Week 7, Part 2 (Laundry)

When I get home to Durham, I am going to love my washing machine sooo much. We've got one here that does a fantabulous job of jolting your clothes about while screaming like the Star Wars trash compactor, and the water only goes out, not in, so you have to constantly fill buckets of water from the tap to pour in. Also it doesn't really rise or spin dry, so I end up doing those last stages with the help of the bathtub and with my herculean wrist strength. It takes me about almost two hours to wash the equivalent of half a load of laundry. BUT I'm not complaining, because at least I have running hot water. I know when to count my blessings.

Today laundry, tomorrow cleaning, Thursday night packing. I withdraw in stages, but my things are scattered and I realize that despite my yearning to move, I am not at all ready to go. At night, I stay up too late reading, and barely stumble out of bed at 6am to unlock the office door before the other employees get here. In the past 1.5 months, we never locked the door at night, but with Joshua and Mel both gone, I become unreasonably terrified of the dark and of people sneaking in.  I let my insecurities kick in and think about Sheryl Sandburg's quote in her New Yorker profile, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" Well Sheryl, I'd unlock the door. But anyway, I don't.

The sing-song drip of water into plastic tubs continues to make me feel industrious, even though I'm now just sitting here reflecting.

I went to buy my train ticket today. The window is in a nondescript building labeled simply "train ticket depot." You step in the door and turn the corner, and there's a lady behind plexiglass opposite a dark stairwell. I don't begrudge her the view. They were sold out of sleeper car tickets, so I ended up with a regular seat. I'll try to upgrade when I get on the train, but if not I'll be in for a delicious 24.5 hour train ride sitting upright. I shall endeavor to make fast friends with my seatmate, so they don't knock me on the head when I slump, sleeping, onto the lady's shoulder.

Tony and I go for Korean style sushi in the evening, squeezing through the ruckus of the night market to get to the restaurant. There's motorbikes, pedestrians, bikes and carts all jamming together between the crackle of roasting meat, the scent of fresh fruit laid neatly on the roadside, and the cry of revelers ordering evening snacks. Further out in the square, elderly women are waving their radioactive pink fans and stepping lightly to the traditional music. After dinner, we discuss life dreams, interrupting ourselves so that Tony can help me buy souvenirs. He bargains down to 40% of the list price. I try to negotiate on something else but my heart's not really in it and I end up paying 60% list price. We talk more about applying to graduate school, and what it's like to feel unhappy at work. I go home then. And lock the door.
Tags: food, friendship, leadership, travel - asia
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