Awkward moments, Discomforts, and Guilt

Trip Start Aug 13, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Hunan,
Monday, August 30, 2010

So right now, as I type, there are two Chinese' handy-men in my apartment. They have just installed a new computer for me, even though I have my laptop here. Apparently, they have to give me a computer because it's part of my contract. They've plugged it in and everything and I'm not sure why they're still here. I can't really say anything because I know I won't understand their responses. I think they're waiting for someone but I don't know who. So, I'm forced to sit here in really uncomfortable silence, wondering what they're talking about.
    Outside, on my balcony, there was a nice sized bee/wasp/some kind of insect nest that has kept me from enjoying my fourth floor balcony. The two men noticed it and decided to swat it down. I was a bit nervous, watching them do this. They took a long pole and from my window, knocked down the nest, upsetting the bees, I'm sure.  When the bees/wasps began flying away, one of the men went outside and took the nest down and brought it inside, which did not make me especially happy. Of course, I couldn't really say anything, though I was terrified that there was a bee or two still in it and ready to attack me. Actually I'm a bit fearful that the bees/wasps are angry now and will find a way into my apartment and sting me and destroy my home, just as those guys destroyed theirs...
    Not only did they bring the nest inside, but as I was writing this, I looked over and saw that they were picking stuff out of the nest and eating it. They saw me looking and I wandered over, asking "You eat this?" (or something like that) in Chinese and they offered me a bit, saying something in Chinese and pointing to my face. I'm guessing they meant it was good for the skin. The guy said that it was sweet, which I only understood because the word was really similar to the Cantonese word for sweet. I picked out a little bit of it-- I think maybe it was honey?-- but then I didn't want to eat it because it kind of scared me. They kind of laughed at me and I went back to my laptop and they continued to sit in my study, talking in Chinese and waiting for some guy to come with some cables.
    I wish I could speak Chinese. I've been listening to Mandarin lessons that are on my itunes and occasionally picking up stuff with other people but I need to put in some good time to really learn. I've been finding that knowing a wee bit of Cantonese is actually helping because some words are similar, but sometimes I get confused about pronunciation.
    Some other discomforts... I've been a little bit sick lately-- I woke up with a sore throat the other day and its moved to a runny nose a little bit. The spicy food here is kind of clearing me up a bit though. I guess that's good. Yesterday and today, I slept a lot, trying to make up for my recent late nights. This morning, I woke up to the sounds of a man on a very loud loudspeaker, announcing something in Chinese. It sounded like some kind of demonstration but I don't know. Other sounds of Changsha: fireworks. It seems like every night, every morning, at random times, I hear so many fireworks. I'm not sure if people are celebrating something or just really enjoy fireworks.Probably the latter. Oh, and in addition, there is someone in one of these apartments that has been playing "My Heart Will Go On,"on his/her saxophone. Everyday. I can't escape this Titanic medley. It's kind of amusing, kind of not.
    Alright, well the computer guys just left. I feel a little bit bad that they had to go through this work to install this computer when I clearly have one already. Sometimes I feel a little bit guilty for having as much as I do, even though I don't even have that much, according to American standards. I've felt this guilt before and I wish I knew what to do with it.
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