It is about one in the morning as i’m writing this. Usually, I am asleep at this time here in China, but something has happened that has been keeping me awake. I debated on whether or not to post this, but I decided that since I am writing a blog about my experiences here in China it wouldn’t be fair or real unless I posted the bad along with the good. So here I go.
I didn’t have classes today, or tomorrow, because of a national holiday called the Mid-Autumn Festival. So because I didn’t have to be up at 6, I decided to stay up a bit later. I was sitting on my bed relaxing, just looking up some things on my computer. I am super comfy when I feel something brush past my arm. Naturally, because it can never be a cute, fuzzy little bunny rabbit that accidentally managed to get into my room somehow, it is a bug. I have had bugs in my room at home that sometimes manage to find their malicious way into my bed, but never before have I found a COCKROACH IN MY BED.
Please, let that soak in. I’ll give you a minute. Think about it when you are trying to go to sleep tonight and know that is something that I will not be doing. Sleeping that is. When I was a kid, if I found a bug in my bed or close to it and didn’t succeed in killing it, I would sleep in the guest room or on my parents floor. Here, however, I HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried to kill it. As soon as I saw/felt it, I jumped out of the bed and grabbed a sneaker and can of Raid. When I threw back my blanket and it scurried to the edge of the bed I came within an inch of it with my sneaker, but I missed and it went off the side of the bed to where the bed meets the wall. Normally, I would move my bed away from the wall and just go WWIII on its supposedly un-killable ass. But my bed is huge and solid all the way to the ground, and i’m not sure if I can move it. I think I might be able to move it a little to get behind the headboard, but I am a little terrified of what I will find. What if there are more of them!? It makes my skin crawl to think that I have been sleeping in that bed for the past week. What if it has been crawling on me every night. What if the bug bites that I had on my leg weren’t from a mosquito but from cockroaches. Do they bite? I don’t even know.
I can deal with the little water bug things that I find in my bathroom. Ignoring the fact that I keep spraying Raid and I continue to find them. I can’t, however, deal with cockroaches in my bed. Call me a wuss or a priss, fine. I just can’t. So now I am sitting at my desk alternating between watching T.V. shows on my computer and reading a book (currently ‘The Night Circus’ for my book club back home (in case you are wondering, I really like it so far)). I keep looking over my shoulder expecting to see a black spot dart across my floor. In my mind it runs straight towards me like it is coming directly for me.
For your amusement, this was how the sequence of events went after I lost site of the cockroach.
1.) Get mad. “WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE ON MY FREAKING BED OF ALL PLACES!??!” I stomped around my room, moved furniture angrily away from the bed and sprayed Raid determinedly behind the bed as best I could.
2.) Freak. Out. “Omg, omg, omg, what if there are cockroach eggs in my pillow. What if I move the bed and there is an entire nest of them. Oh my god.” I paced around the room and examined every single speck of dirt on the carpet and walls to make sure it isn’t another bug. If I deem it suspicious, out comes the Raid (which has never left my hand).
3.) Cry. Yes, I cried. It wasn’t entirely the cockroach, so don’t judge me. I had had a crappy day where nothing went right. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, but sometimes you just have shitty days. This was one of them, and finding a cockroach in my bed was the icing on the cake. So yes, I cried. I cried and walked around my room and made my bed and put my furniture back where it was supposed to go because I needed something to do and I couldn’t think of anything else.
4.) Drink and cower. This is where I am now and where I will stay for the night. I drank half a bottle of wine and I plan on sleeping at my desk with my sneaker and can of Raid right next to me. I am at a loss as to what else to do. So I will sleep at my desk tonight, with the constant feeling that something is crawling on me (you know the feeling). Tomorrow, I will strip my bed and wash all my sheets, putting fresh ones on for now and buying new ones next week (this wasn’t prompted by the cockroach, I was planning on buying new ones since I got here). I may or may not sleep on my bed tomorrow. If I do, it will be at the foot of the bed as far away from the wall as possible. Then on Saturday when my friend gets back, I will bribe her with the promise of wine to help me move my bed and kill whatever I may find back there. We may or may not enlist the help of other teachers on our floor (of the male variety).
I hope no one thinks that i’m so fragile and stuck up that one bug scares the life out of me. I’m not, I promise. I go camping and deal with those bugs.I have lived by myself and been the sole bug killer, and I have even killed centipedes (my worst nemeses). But finding a cockroach in my bed really shook me. I think of my bed as my sanctuary. I am never more comfortable and relaxed than when I am in my bed. Finding a big bug there scared the hell out of me, and I am not one to admit when I am rattled. So tonight allow me to freak and cry and drink a bunch of wine so I can fall asleep at my desk surrounded by as many bug killing objects as I can find. I know that tomorrow I will deal. Tomorrow I will put my big girl pants on and do whatever I have to do to make my bed comfy again. Just allow me this one night of ‘I don’t have my Pop to kill the scarey bugs’.
I think this was such a big deal to me because it was the first real encounter that I have had since I arrived in China that has been a true window into life here. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t asked my friends and colleagues yet, “Hey, find any cockroaches in your beds lately? Is that normal?” However, I think that it is more common here than it might be in the U.S. I know that everything will be OK because it has to be. I know that there are far worse things in the world than cockroaches in beds. I know that a lot of people don’t have beds to find cockroaches in, so I need to count my lucky stars that I am fortunate enough to have a warm place to sleep at night.
I know all of that, and I do count my lucky stars every night. But please, friends, allow this Ohio gal her fears and flaws as I alternate between old episodes of Archer and NCIS until I am tired enough to fall asleep hunched over my desk.
Buona Notte from China everyone, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.
I shouldn’t have said that. Ew.