“Hey, Bruce!” I typed into my WeChat message to my Chinese colleague, “Bruce” Liu, yesterday. “Sorry to bother you again but have you checked on my apartment yet? I just want to make sure the recent earthquake didn’t do any damage or cut off my electricity to the refrigerator.”
The reply was almost immediate.
” I am so sorry. I forgot but I’ll do it now. Wait a minute.”
“And can you take a picture?” I added. “I really miss my home.”
“Will do!” Bruce replied.
How fortunate I am to have Bruce helping me out with apartment worries.
Bruce (one of the English Department teachers) and his family live on the 4th floor of my campus home in China while I live on the 9th. He has always been the one that I leave my key with during my vacation absences. In the past, he has kindly watered my plants and done a walk-through to make sure things were in order until I returned. To show my appreciation, I brought him goodies or small gifts back from my travels as a thank you.
But as my planned 1-month absence ballooned into 2 months, then 4, then 6 and now 1 1/2 years (!), I dismissed him from watering duties and told him not to bother entering my home unless there was something he needed to borrow. This he has done on several occasions, such as my plastic stools to use for his visiting friends or my collapsable table when he had extra dinner guests.
The last earthquake that shook the building, however, was quite severe and I was concerned about my refrigerator. While no perishable items were in it, the defrosting with electricity cut-off would pool water all over the floor. That was something I certainly didn’t want to happen.
And I was curious as to how dirty and dusty it was, plus the longing just to see my Chinese home.
Bruce didn’t disappoint.
He reported that all was well, but the plants once again caused him great distress.
“I am so sorry. They are all dead,” he texted with a sobbing emoji afterwards. “Maybe you will have to replace them.”
After seeing his photo of my once-lovely, green-leafed beauties, collected in the bathroom where I had placed them for Bruce’s easy watering, I couldn’t agree more. Definitely all need replacing.
Yep. That’ll be the first thing on my ” to do” list when I return: Buy new plants!
From Marshall, here’s wishing you 平安 (Ping An, Peace) for your day.