Some days are just mundane. I go along thinking there will be nothing exciting, nothing interesting to blog about.  I get up and eat my breakfast, take a shower and put my pants on one leg at a time, just like back in the good ‘ol USA.  Life just seems too dull…..And then I try to do something so average and yet so completely impossible that I have to laugh.  Shanghai has done it to me again.

Today I ran out of the purex laundry sheets that I had packed myself.  I had packed them because I just wasn’t sure how long it would take to get situated and we are living on just the clothes we packed in our suitcases (our crates of stuff won’t be here for at least another two weeks).  So anyway, today I went to the grocery store and looked for laundry detergent. This is when I found out how important literacy is, because soap really does just look like soap. It could be dish soap, hand soap, dishwasher soap, laundry soap.  I had no idea. I felt like the deaf mute. I couldn’t ask anyone, and I couldn’t read the label. Half an hour of my life spent wandering the aisles.  Then, from across the aisle I saw it, glowing in all it’s familiar loveliness!   I was never in my life so excited to see Tide!  Who knew that little red and orange container could bring such joy?

Here it comes in small plastic bags of powder about the size of a bag of pretzels.  I usually buy the liquid and my washer at home has a fill line.  The washer here has three compartments marked I, II, and *. Really??  I asked at the apartment office and luckily they did have directions in English so I did figure out that  compartment II is the correct place for detergent.  The second hurdle surmounted.  Then I looked at the back of the detergent bag for directions about how much to use.  Please refer to the picture above.  And understand my state of mental exhaustion at this point.  I couldn’t understand a thing.  I showed my daughter and we just started to laugh.  We decided the directions are as follows: 1) Start with sparkling clean laundry 2)Fold in nicely in a pile 3) After folding your white shirts miraculously change to colorful dresses and striped polos 4) Put your white shirts in the washer 5) Check to make sure you have detergent 6) Wash your hands.  Somehow at the end of this your laundry will be done!!

In all fairness there are written instructions and I have included them so that you can read along with me 🙂

So in the end I just poured in a small pile of detergent and hoped for the best.  So far my laundry looks ok, and the washer hasn’t exploded in bubbles like that time on the brady bunch.  So I guess I can call it a success.  Hubby’s underwear isn’t pink and the colors don’t have bleach spots.  Now I just have to remember the words on the package so I get the same thing next time.  And, yes – smarty pants- I can hear you say it all the way from here: “can’t you read “Tide”??”  Well yes I can, but can you tell me what the rest says? Please?

About tvglgw

I am an expat wife, mom, RN, felter and sometimes knitter moving from the Hudson Valley, USA to Shanghai, China. I have 3 kids. One is staying in the US to finish college and two are joining me on my adventures.

10 responses »

    • I was! I didn’t leave the apartment while the laundry was going for fear I would flood the whole complex : ) Now I have done a few loads so I feel a little more sure of myself. But who knows what today will bring. I ordered a dress from a tailor and just discovered I have lost the receipt. How do you explain that in chinese??

    • LOL. Of course, why didn’t I think of that 🙂 One option I didn’t mention, which seems to be popular, is the bar of laundry soap. I think they must use this for hand washing. I think there are still a lot of homes that do not have washing machines. I think this could be a great option for camping but i am not willing to live like that on a daily basis!

  1. Making doing laundry more miserable that it already is is just cosmically wrong! Thank God you are much more patient than I am. Glad to know that your sense of humor is serving you well!

    • A sense of humor works wonders, but you and Christopher feeding me endless gin and tonics doesn’t hurt either : ) There are great bars here if anyone is up for the trip!

  2. I showed the pictures of the laundry directions to two staff members here. One said Step 6 is to pray that it works. The other one said the hands are saying, “Voila, you’re done!”

  3. I think it says you use 1/2 scoop for light soil small load snd 2/3 for heavier. That middle kanji in the column left of scoops is water and down below i see 15 minutes – maybe for soaking? I feel for you!

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