We got a good laugh, though, when Don tried to ask the housekeeping ladies if we could borrow their vacuum on the days when they don’t clean (they come on Tuesdays and Fridays) because with two kids, the floor is dirty within a minute of when they’re done cleaning. The housekeeping ladies don’t speak English, so Bill and Luo stepped in to help translate. We tried to "explain" that we didn’t want housekeeping to come vacuum every day, we just wanted to borrow the vacuum on a daily basis to vacuum on our own. After about 10 minutes of haggling back and forth, Don and I were chuckling to ourselves because we’ve learned that you can either laugh or get super frustrated over simple things. We think what we finally agreed on is that when the cleaning people are on our floor, they will knock on our door and let us use the vacuum. We’ll see if it really happens. I’m thinking we’ll end up buying a cheap vacuum to get us by for the time we’re here.
Going from our house in Washington to a 2-bedroom apartment in China has been a bit confining for us. Our living/dining//family/computer room (which were all separate rooms at home) is about half the size of our living room at home. The hardest thing is keeping the room clean with so much going on in such a small space. We really felt the coziness yesterday as we had our ayi (kind of like a nanny), Luo, watching Andrew, our Chinese tutor, Bill, trying to teach me the difference between zhi, chi, shi (pronounced zhur, chur, shur respectively, but pretty much sound the same when spoken in conversation), and two housekeeping ladies frantically cleaning our apartment (usually there’s only one, but from their hurried demeanor, it seemed like they were swamped that day). Don came home as well in the middle. It was chaotic as we all kept bumping into each other. We love all the services we’re getting (thanks to Microsoft), but it was a bit much all at the same time.