At Least the Shower Didn’t Melt

I did have a lovely Tuesday night out. The best part of Jinqiao is the availability of what is called “Teacher Nights.” They are nights when hard-working educators are rewarded with excellent food deals and half price drinks.

The Fat Olive is a hipster Greek restaurant by Dulwich College (the British School in the area) and Carrefour. It’s TN is Tuesdays, so I decided to join the crowd of usuals and tag along for buy one, get one free Greek-style pizzas and FREE (yes, FREE) glasses of wine from 6:00-6:30. Too good to pass up, right?

The night was wonderful and relaxing, even if it was Tuesday and not really Friday. It was good food – cured proscuitto and arugala pizza and a tzatziki and pork sausage pizza along with Greek fries. I loved having an extra pizza for lunch the next day. Highly convenient. We tried out a really good white wine and had our laughs in a warm, toasty upstairs room that overlooked the green playing fields.

When I got home, I sat on the couch, chilled for awhile, then walked into my bedroom, wondering what was lying so strangely on my bed. And, in the dark, that’s the weird thing. I flip on the light to see the heater that used to be mounted high on the wall now hanging down from the cord and the pipe to the outside. It was the bedside lamp that was the lump on my bed.

After doing a “I can’t believe something else has busted” dance that looks suspiciously like I’m having a  nervous breakdown, I do some deep-breathing and just think, “I’ll deal with this tomorrow…”

As my flatmate Amy reminds me, we did have our shower “melt” when we lived at Hayfield Flat in Oxford. The entire control box just disintegrated one day during a shower. Melted right into itself. We also walked in from our trip to Paris, only to have a lightbulb completely shatter overhead as well. The standard British electricity was super-fun to work with. I think the electrician thought we were overloading the delicate circuitry with all our products.

So, I just have stuff bust on me. It’s Murphy’s Law of Apartment Living. My last apartment in the States  featured a refrigerator that made sounds like someone pounding on the door of a mausoleum. I also had a dribbling shower ceiling. And a steam radiator heater that bounced inside the walls like a muffled heartbeat. And let’s not forget the evil squirrel that nearly broke down my screen door.

Heat is especially important since it’s coming into winter time here in Shanghai. The weather has turned noticeably colder but is still in the mid to upper 50’s. We have longer periods of hard rain showers than we have sun some weeks.

The strange thing is, I’ve been here four months officially today. The leaves don’t really turn – they just sort of give up and fall off the trees. And the leaves are enormous. I have to figure out what kind of tress they are. When the days are nice, I take a longer bike ride home from work, up the school’s main street where its lined by pine trees and gorgeous ex-pat developments over to the street where Dulwich sits; I can breathe in the occasional burst of evergreen scent and ride up to the “back” street where a lot of the Western-style restaurants reside. I can swing around to my flat this way. It’s a more relaxing ride, a little less crowded and bit more scenic, if you will.

I’m adapting, slowly. Very slowly. Right now, we’re in the thick of preparing for Christmas holidays and everyone’s got loads and loads of stuff to do. It’s only three weeks until I fly home for Christmas, and all I can think of is the opening scene to the film Love Actually when people are crying and hugging on each other at the airport. I’m very tempted to put a bow on my head when I get through immigration at O’Hare.

Three weeks.

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