And then there was NO light…

For a little over the past week, John and I have been experiencing brown-outs.  Our power would go out for a few hours then turn back on.  While this was highly annoying, it wasn’t a huge deal.  And it also appeared that the power outages were not just limited to us… one night the entire Bazimen community (the neighborhood of several blocks that we live in) was without power.

Yesterday morning though… yesterday morning was different.  We lost power yet again.  For the third or fourth time in a couple weeks.  So we just assumed that it was another brown out.  Until the power never came back on.  We retreated to the city for lunch, an afternoon at a coffee shop (an adventure in and of itself), and dinner to wait out the power outage.  When we returned at 10:30pm, we assumed that the power would have been back on for hours.  Our neighbors all had lights shining cheerily in their windows, so we climbed the six flights of stairs full of anticipation.  We swung open the door and turned on the light switch… and NOTHING.  Perplexed and incredulous, I walked into the living room and tried more lights.  Still nothing…

Yes, my friends, our power was still off.  For some completely unknown reason.  After flipping breakers just to be sure this power outage was not somehow our fault, John trekked all the way downstairs with our tiny flashlight to check the power meters and try to figure out what was going on.  The power meters only confirmed our fears and prompted many questions.  The whole building had power, just not us.  Why?  What was going on?  Since we are living in apartment provided and paid for by the school, we have no idea what the bills are or even how to go about paying them (not to mention that we still haven’t signed a contract or been paid, so we couldn’t have paid any bills even if we could figure out the Chinese system).  Given the fact that it was so late, we decided to try to sleep and call someone in the morning.

This morning, bright and early, we called our handler at the school and reported the power outage.  They said that the owner of the apartment (they made a deal for us to live here with a local business man) would arrange to send someone over.  So we scrambled to clean the apartment, and I jumped in the shower quickly.  At the end of my freezing shower (the hot water is electrically powered), the power mysteriously turned back on.  We think that whoever was supposed to come must have seen the problem with the power meters and told the school to pay our bill.  Regardless of what actually happened, we have power again!  And that excites me!  I loathe cold showers…

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