Ellen Esterhay Photograph


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November 1, 2012   

It started with my Macbook charger dying suddenly last Sunday.  I couldn't be too upset since it was well past its due date - it is actually amazing how well it withstood the damage I inflicted on it over the years.  I normally wouldn't be too concerned by this loss, but living in another country has made me even more dependent on my computer than before. It is pretty much my only means of communication with my family and friends back home.

The obvious next step was then to get a new charger. Going to an Apple store was an option, but I had class the next day, an essay due Tuesday, and I just couldn't afford the time. Plus, I was worried they wouldn't have it in stock. So I went online, but then decided if I used the Chinese website it would arrive much more quickly. And if Apple for some reason shipped it from America, it would cost a lot more. But I wasn't prepared for the fact that the Chinese Apple website didn't have an English version (even though it makes complete sense that they wouldn't, I sometimes miss out on the obvious). I had to find the product, fill out my address and go through the payment options all in CHINESE. Gah! Sometimes I would switch back and forth with the American store version to try to figure it out, but it was still such a pain.

Afterwards I started getting worried that I had written the address wrong, or that something would happen to it. Then, come Monday, I got a call and text from the Minzu University's post office, which had never happened before. Usually our mail gets dropped off at the International Student's office, and the ACC administrative workers get it for us.

I had to ask three different people where the post office was. Also funny that I never thought to ask if the campus had a post office, because this entire time I have been walking three blocks distance to get to one down the street! The post office worker directed me to a truck parked out in the street, where I had to present my Minzu student ID and then sign off with my Chinese name. 

This might all sounds very mundane - ordered a package online, picked it up at school, no big deal. But from my point of view it was such a huge accomplishment! In the past, I would ask a teacher's help when doing these kinds of simple things. Now I am at the point where I could really live here and get by, if I wanted to. Which is such a cool feeling!