16 March 2010
Home Within A Home
For whatever reason (though I think there are actually lots and lots of good reasons) China has always felt a whole lot like “home.” Whether it’s the point in my life that I lived there, the people I met there, or possibly the culture and language, I just love Chinese people. Imagine my explosion of joy when I discovered that there is a massive Chinese population in Sydney!
It all started by mistake. Josh had asked me to drop off some dry cleaning and mentioned there was a place “just below the building.” But I didn’t want to go to that dry cleaners. In one of my many mid-day wanders I had passed another dry cleaners that - for whatever reason - spoke to me: “Come drop off your suits and dress shirts. Just do it!” As I entered with the shirt, jacket and pants my eyes were met with the glance of an adorable Chinese woman chatting with her husband in Chinese about how they needed to “get the spin cycle faster because the washers in Australia just don’t spin enough” (read: your close don’t get destroyed and that’s apparently a problem).
I started in English for fear of seeming like a major d-bag who “goes native” then comes across seriously lame. After she was finished writing the receipt she told me the price - “20 dollars” - and I repeated it back to her in Chinese - “Ar shi.” Her eyes lit up and she said, in Chinese, “you speak Chinese?” Well this led into a whirlwind conversation about where I had learned Chinese, where she was from, why I was here, why she was here, etc. and included all those ingrained social norms and I had some to appreciate in China. She told me where she was from and I told her it was beautiful there. She told me my Chinese was “very good” and I told her “oh stop, no it’s not.” It was divine and now every time I walk by, I holler a quick “Ni hao” and she waves and replies.
Combine her with the AMAZING Chinatown compromised of a real-life Chinese-style market (home of the cheapest produce in Australia), charming gates, and a delicious selection of Chinese restaurants to nosh on and you’ve got happiness inside happiness. So then, if I’m ever craving a little China it’s a quick 10-minute walk down the road. Divine.