Shanghai. Home or HOME? Part II

08/25/2013 4:25am Continued from Part 1.

Go home if you can’t. Next stop – grocery shopping. Thank God for the translated sign “Family Mart”. It’s right next to the restaurant. This is convenient. What to buy? That looks like caramel popcorn. Yes! Walk over to the freezer. “Strawberry ice cream”. Take it anyway. The brand doesn’t matter. Actually, there’s Häagen-Dazs. Make a quick swap. Are those noodles? Microwaveable noodles? You know you don’t eat those 5 second microwave foods but who are you to complain here? Beggars are not choosers so quickly grab one bowl of noodles. You will soon become a noodle expert! It says beef on it so you’re in luck. Hopefully it’ll taste better than that weird tasting meat in the restaurant. Ok, focus and balance everything in your hands. No one seems to be holding a shopping cart here so you can assume Family Mart has none. Now walk in between every aisle, paying attention to the pictures.

Rejoice when you see labels in English like “trash bags”. You need those. Are these flip flops your size? Pick it anyway; it’s the last one and size doesn’t matter right now. You will shrink your feet or the flip flops will expand – whichever comes first. Walk back to the food aisle. OREOS?? Don’t get too excited. Just grab one and hold everything else from toppling over. That lady looks like she works here so ask for a bag – demonstrate. Lucky you! Here comes a cart. Throw in everything you eyed. Water, juice, tissue…Ok you’re done now. Congratulations on buying the entire store! RMB275. Don’t act too shocked; you’ve got this. You have RMB300 in your wallet. Be a big girl and pay with a smile. And smile even harder at the guy that is checking out before you even grab your stuff. The distance home is so short but these stares will make it ten times longer. Remember, I taught you how to smile. Your muscles are in for some training with that pack of water.

Home now or are you really home? Try to unpack your haul but stop halfway. The cleaners cleaned this morning. They’ve taken away the Chinese germs that are clearly not familiar you and vice versa. So it’s your turn to do your own cleaning now. Damn! You bought only one cleaning cloth. Ok, use it in this order – kitchen first then bedroom, living room and finally bathroom. Use a disinfecting spray too because those women cleaned with water. Water! It’s cool. They know the germs here by name, you don’t. Spray, wipe, rinse. Hold on. Run to the bathroom. Your tummy doesn’t know what you just ate but neither do you. So that makes 2…of you. Get back to cleaning. Now that you are done, don’t rest, don’t shower. Head back out to that vegetable market you saw across the street. You’ll shower when you return. Turns out it’s a fruit stand. Again, use that “Learn Chinese” app to figure out the names of the fruits. That red thing looks like tomatoes – “Fānqié”. “Fānqié qian?” “Wǔ”. Extend 5 fingers. No? She doesn’t have them? “Wǔ, wǔ”. Just give up. Buy a watermelon, grapes and what you think is a guava. She is saying the price. Quick! Check the numbers in your app. Oh! RMB47? “Xie Xie”.

Cross the street to that supermarket. Again, praise God for the English translation. It’s pretty big so you should be able to find the other items on your list. Use all the skills I’ve taught you so far today. Pay attention to the pictures.

Aren’t you a big girl now?