Pasta catastrophe 

Mondays are one of the only weeknights Andy and I get to spend together. Even though I teach until 6:00, Monday nights are better than Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday nights because Andy doesn’t have class. 

We typically plan to eat together and catch up a little or relax. Last night, Andy texted me that he would make pasta for dinner and have it ready by the time I got home. How sweet! I was excited. And by the time I was walking home from the bus stop, I was starving. 

As I opened the door, I smelled pasta. Andy appeared and seemed upset. I said hi and asked how he was. He was upset. 

The bag of pasta we bought two weeks ago had bugs in it. 

Gag. Now I was upset. 

He relayed the story to me very quickly and I immediately resolved to take the pasta back to the store where we bought it and demand a refund. 

And then I remembered that I don’t speak the primary language here and that my demand may seem unreasonable to some. 

I put on my shoes anyway. 

We threw out the buggy pasta and carried the remainder of the bag with us to the store, which is fortunately within walking distance from our apartment. Disgusted and feeling somewhat culturally insensitive, I marched into the store and right up to the first associate I saw. 

Do you speak English? 

She pointed to the woman behind her. 

Do you speak English?

Uh, a little. 

Okay. I bought this pasta here. There are insects in it. 


(I look up the Chinese for “insect” and find 虫子 (chong zi). I show the woman and she looks horrified.)

After she contacted a manager, I successfully negotiated a refund for the pasta. 

That was way easier than I expected. 

It was almost 8:00 by then, so we went to one of the new restaurants near us called Cafe Bleu. It was super cute and had a happy hour special of buy-one-get-one free wine. We figured I would buy one and Andy would get one free. 

Nope. We misunderstood happy hour and both had two glasses of wine. 😳 

Needless to say, after a long day at work, chong zi in the pasta, negotiating a refund, and two glasses of wine, I was not going to be marking any essays! Overall, though, we were happy that the evening turned around. If ever there was a way to turn an evening around, it was by a happy accident of misunderstanding happy hour… 


One thought on “Pasta catastrophe 

  1. Ewwwww. I’m comforted by the fact that the store manager was “horrified.” It makes me wonder if you should not buy foodstuffs that you currently understand as “shelf stable” to be such longer than a week or so….I know the US “treats” food to prevent exactly this….maybe that isn’t done in China? It’s worth checking out because you’re likely to have other “visitors” in your dry stuffs.

    In other news, I had a dream that Branden and I went to China to visit you. You were in a Troll (yes, the toy) factory, and every time I got a glimpse of you, you turned a corner and I never did catch up. I think it’s a manifestation of me wanting to help you through this adjustment, and that you’re doing just fine on your own, with Andy!

    I chuckled at your two glasses of wine…we are so, so different. LOL


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