Breakdown in China

You know how when something goes wrong, something else also goes wrong? And something else goes wrong? And then before you know it, everything is basically wrong?

In China, this rule of life manifests itself as a string of breakdowns. Something breaks or stops working or your landlord raises your rent, forcing you to find a new place, or I mean — something goes wrong right after you fixed the last wrong! Sometimes if you just put one thing off long enough, everything is wrong.

For example, for a while now, I’ve noticed a small pool of water collecting by a corner of our washing machine, near where a drain in our bathroom floor is. I have no idea where it comes from since it’s just a pool of water, and it didn’t seem to come from our washing machine. I’d wipe it up, but then a few days later, I’ll notice that it’s back. It’s almost creepy, like some kind of bathroom stalker slowly creeping back into my life and building up strength whenever I’m not looking so that it can attack me if I don’t mop it up. This has gone on for weeks.

Then, one day, a kitchen fuse blew, which went largely unnoticed. A flip of the switch and everything was OK again. But little did we know, it was the first sign of another breakdown.

A few days later, our microwave stopped working. The timer works and the microwave buzzes as if it’s on, but there no longer seems to be any waves that heat up our food. So far we’ve held onto it in hopes that if we whacked it just the right way, it will start working again.

Then last week, I noticed there was a lot of water in the cabinet under our bathroom sink, which had sadly destroyed quite a few of my womanly products, if you know what I mean. I couldn’t pinpoint a leak, so I thought I’d wait for a few days and see what was up. Sure enough, I checked it again today and it was so wet under there, it was like a tiny shower. Boyfriend called the wuye, who pinpointed the culprit: a broken 八字阀 (bazifa), which is apparently a type of valve.

While he was fixing our sink, boyfriend noticed the fuse had tripped again and it kept shutting off. We consulted the wuye again and was told that it was our water kettle, which I had bought only last year, leaking electricity (is this the correct English term?). He told me, in the way a father would tell a child, not to use the kettle anymore. I dutifully promised him I wouldn’t.

So now we have a broken kettle, broken microwave and a mysterious pool of water that has moved from beside the washing machine to right in front of the sink. I’m wondering if it’s just leftover from the leak, but why is it coming out now? China is so mysterious! Hopefully, it is the last of our breakdowns for a while because we have a busy May coming up — a perfect time for a host of new problems to fester!

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