I was forgetting something. What was I forgetting? This was important. But . . . Ohhhh. Sigh. The others were waiting for me. I’d already kept them too long. Forget it.
I grabbed my stuff off of my desk—including the portable heater and laundry bag I carried back and forth and back and forth between work and home—and ran out the door, down the cement stairs, over the wet tile, past the sewer vents, through the mud, to the van. I could tell the others were annoyed. “I’m sorry, guys!” I said as soon as I’d slid the sliding door shut. No one said anything. Suddenly I realized why. It was my turn to drive. “Oh, sorry.”
I fumbled for my keys in my purse and moved to the drivers’ seat. The gray sky began to cry as I drove down the hill. It was just as well. The pitter patter was soothing. No one felt like talking.
Once we reached the two-lane highway that ran along the coast between the school and our little town my thoughts began to shift from my irritated coworkers (my meetings with the Taiwanese director were always going late—why OH WHY didn’t we have more than one vehicle?) to . . .
What on earth am I . . . ?
Suddenly, it hit me. Hot water. I needed a new propane tank. The last half of my shower had been ice this morning. I’d never asked Nicole to call the propane company for me. Damn. I’d have to ask Wei-Ming. I hated to bother him, but . . . What choice did I have? He was always so gracious. He didn’t mind.
I loved him.
When I got to my apartment, I collapsed with my belongings onto my bed. The rain was really coming down now. I shivered and looked at the clock. Was it really already four? In just two hours I’d have to drive back and pick up the others. Sigh.
I forced myself to sit up. There was laundry to put away, my heater to plug in, groceries to get, and . . . propane tank. I pulled my purse out from under my laundry and found my cell phone.
Riiiiing . . . riiiiing . . .
“Hi, Wei-Ming? It’s Jessica.”
“Oh, hi Jessica!”
“I’m so sorry to bother you, but I need to ask a HUGE favor.”
“I was wondering if you could call the propane company for me. I ran out this morning.”
“Ohhhh. Sure! No problem. You will be there?”
“Yes. I need to run to the store in about an hour, but . . .”
“I will tell them.”
“Okay. Thank you so much, Wei-Ming! I owe you!”
“I will see you for language exchange tomorrow?”
“Okay, great. Thanks again!”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God for Wei-Ming . . . Thank God for a new propane tank!
If happiness means convenience and ease of living, I am much happier in the States than I was in Taiwan. During the two years I was there, I lived in Sanzhi, a small country town about an hour north of Taipei. My apartment had a broken washing machine and no dryer, no oven or microwave, no heating or air-conditioning . . . In a building without insulation made of brick and tile floors, this meant winters were cooooold. (And let’s not even talk about the summertime.)
You see . . .
After the propane man shuffled in forty minutes later, and after he left his muddy footprints on my newly-cleaned floor, and after I’d given him his money and we’d exchanged the most basic words in Mandarin imaginable (he knew no English, and my Mandarin was terrible), I can’t even begin to explain the JOY I felt deep inside. I felt like a queen. I HAD HOT WATER!!!
I was, quite seriously, the luckiest girl in the world.
- alone in an igloo (jesscy.com)
- this contradictory life (jesscy.com)
- lesson from a pair of pants (jesscy.com)
- on privacy (jesscy.com)