Shanghai’s July heat has a way of testing you. Barely a month ago, you were still in that delightful Shanghai Spring — with its warm breezes perfumed in osmanthus and peach blossoms. But suddenly, the romance is over, and you discover you’re locked in a pressurized sauna. You almost have to part the humid-heavy air aside as you walk down the streets, now weighed down with moisture beading all over your face and body. It’s a public penance, where everyone must pay for those golden Springs and Autumns with molten, unbearable summers.
As July began to strangle Shanghai in searing heat and humidity, I felt strangled once again in my neighborhood as yet another source of noise and confusion marched through our lane.
The city of Shanghai decided our historic buildings needed upgrades on the water pipes and fire extinguishers. Since they scheduled the work in this scathing July heat — seven days a week, without a single holiday or weekend, until August 15 — there was only one thing to do: start earlier. Officially, they announced the working hours as 8am, but that seemed more like a suggestion when John and I began to hear the ruckus of drills and hammering outside our windows as early as 7am, and even 6:45am.
We moved here to escape the late-night garbage din, only to replace it with another. If the city of Shanghai pays for Spring and Autumn with the summer heat, I wonder — am I paying for past mistakes or bad karma with a neverending string of noise?
How has China tested you?
Memoirs of a Yangxifu in China is the story of love, cultural understanding and eventual marriage between one American woman from the city and one Chinese man from the countryside. To read the full series to date, you can start at Chapter 1, or browse the Memoirs of a Yangxifu archives.