So I watched as a man from the school came, tried everything that I had tried short of shutting off my own gas and decided to call professional familiar with the particular unit in my apartment for getting hot water to my shower the next day. I found myself surprised early in the morning when I went to the bathroom and turned on the faucet to wash my hands only to discover that turning on the faucet turned on the shower head as well and if I hadn't moved faster I would have had a cold morning shower on my first day of school At first they said they were coming in the morning. I did not know this until I had to stop my class to give my keys to my liaison so they could get in while I was teaching. Then they weren't coming until the afternoon. I didn't have my lunch card yet so I went to the noodle shop next door. I got a message saying they were coming during lunch. So I asked to get my stuff to go and the lady started asking if it was bad and if that was why I didn't finish eating so I pointed to my phone and repeated "da bao" and tried to explain that it was good but I had a commitment. So I arrived, noodles in hand, watched them examine the unit, and then finally shut off the gas and shut off the water so they could remove the unit completely. They are coming back tomorrow.
I have not had a hot shower in my apartment once since returning. And it's not something I'm angry about because I'll make it and clearly people are working hard to help me. But it has been over 7 days since I got back from spring break and I have been thinking that a hot shower on a cold rainy day would be nice. And I'm done with instant noodles but as of right now I can;t have any other hot cheap meal so...instant noodles it is. It could be worse. I have light, I have heat, they just installed wifi here, and I have been cleaning myself by boiling water, filling the tub I was given for washing my face, grabbing a soap and a sponge, washing my hair, and giving myself a final rinse by dumping the tub over myself. So I still get to be clean, it's just more labor than usual.
Now I guess to get to the new year stuff. I expected a lot of kids with much shorter hair, but one of my students was clearly distressed about how her bangs were cut at a sharp angle until they were gone from half her face. I told her it would grow back eventually. And I really wasn't prepared for the new look one of my colleagues was sporting. I know about "peanut butter hair" and the kind of orangey color that Asians get when bleaching their hair...but...I had to curl up my tongue and bite it for a while so I wouldn't look suspiciously happy or amused by the peanut butter colored, swirly hairstyle I found him with. I know, Asian style is a bit different and this is definitely considered appropriate for a relatively fashionable or trendy young man...but it's still different from the person I knew last year with the occasional white strand in his straight black hair. Very different. But hey, new year, new haircut, maybe things will be different when I'm over the initial shock. But it's been good to see people again. Class 5 applauded when I showed up and everyone seems to be having fun with talking about personality traits according to their Western zodiac sign. Capricorn has confused them ("What goat is it?" I guess a fish goat does look pretty weird.) People are asking if I found my family and visited my ancestral town but I have to keep saying no because I don't really have that many ties. I only had one cousin's information and I didn't see him.
It should all work itself out. And I guess on the bright side, even with the problems I'm having I managed to get through a week and spent less than 200RMB on food because I make enough in a night for leftovers and have gotten better at using China's tendency towards weights and measurements to better portion out my groceries for eating alone. I guess the mix of things here is just a reminder of all the good and difficult things that make up living in China.