Yesterday, after having been back in Changsha for half a day, the gate keeper asked me if they could come into the apartment and change the placement of the AC units. Our apartment complex is in the midst of some major external renovations. Part of this renovation is changing the position of all the outside AC units so they line up straight from top to bottom. I asked the apartment manager if they could wait three days until I moved out; they said it couldn’t wait (which I don’t believe.) So a crew of 3 -4 Chinese men came to my apartment and began the process. I was a little embarrassed because I had done two loads of laundry that morning and because it had been raining outside, the laundry was strewn across the apartment, including my unmentionables. So—I tried to move a few things to my room, and clean up a tiny bit before they arrived.
Two of the workers arrived along with the young gate-keeper guy. The young gate-keeper was there at the request of his Uncle (the main gate-keeper.) So, while the two guys were working in my room, I just sat awkwardly in our disheveled living room and made small talk with the gate-keeper guy whom I think has a little crush on me. He started asking me questions about whether I have a boyfriend or not. Now, this is a fairly normal question for people to ask foreigners here in China. But, he asked me how my parents would feel about me having a Chinese boyfriend. And, in addition, he was smiling a lot and acting jittery. It’s at times like these, when I let my Chinese level slip a few notches and pretend I’m not sure what the other person is talking about. I think this probably also makes me look incompetent and less crush-worthy (that’s what I was going for.) Just then, one of the workers stepped out into the living room and started taking out his cigarette to light up. I asked him kindly if he could go outside to smoke. Now, if he had asked me for permission to smoke inside our apartment, I very likely would have let him. However, the presumption that he could just start smoking without asking, kind of frustrated me. All this after being back in Changsha not even a day. There is more to this story that made it an even more frustrating situation, but you'll just have to ask me the details to find out.