Persistence is necessary in both writing and in living in a new country.
Not giving up when things don't go the way we expect. Trying again and again and again. Sometimes trying a different approach.
Living in a new place means trying and sometimes failing. Learning the language. Or enough language for survival. Learning to navigate the streets and discovering where to shop. Not finding what one wants, and searching, knowing the product is somewhere.
Recently, we've been searching for a music store where I could buy a piano. (Our piano was destroyed in the Finland to Iceland move.) I'd love to buy another top quality upright, but with all our moving we wanted a good electronic piano.
We asked people where music stores are and got a vague answer--but enough of an answer to make it worth the hunt. A week ago we went searching for the music store. We went to the mall where it was supposed to be and walked through the most upscale mall here. (Think fancy NYC shopping mixed with the Orient. I saw all the expensive labels I'd only heard of before, plus fancy dried, packaged caterpillars and tea rooms.)
We tried again this past Saturday.
This is what we found as we wandered near a metro stop through winding narrow passages in an underground mall filled with tiny shops no larger than 5 feet by 8 feet.
A Moomin shop! I had to take a photo. For those who have never heard of Moomins, they are all over Finland, made popular by the childrens books by Tove Jansson and are translated into many languages. There is a Moomin shop in Helsinki. Moomins are about the last thing I expected to find in China.
And then we walked across the street.
We entered a modern mall. The mall is similar to what one would find a a big city in the US--seven or eight stories tall, with everything from electronics to clothing to furniture to books to a grocery store.
I've never seen the slanted moving sidewalks (like in airports, but steeply tilted) in the US, but they are in every mall overseas I've been in. The grocery carts have special stops on the wheels so the carts won't roll away while on these sidewalks.
We wandered around a couple blocks in each direction, hoping to find the music store.
We saw this entrance to a park.
Lots and lots of people, but no one to ask.
No one speaks English.
We flagged a taxi and headed home.
We'd ask again, another person.
We would try again.
But on our way back we saw a music store.
"Ting. Ting," (stop) we tell the driver.
We climb out, hoping there are pianos in the store.
Tons of pianos and all types of instruments, just like in a US music store. And luck was with us. A university student who speaks English works in the store on Saturdays ! :)
I took photos of some cool traditional Chinese instruments.
I could have looked longer at the guzheng. They are beautiful. Carvings, inlays, fine workmanship. They've been played for over 2000 years. They sound awesome.
Here are some pipas, essentially a type of lute. The next photo is of Chinese flutes.
After looking at everything in the store (music stores are as much fun as book stores) I chose a piano.
I had eyed the wooden pianos, sorely tempted. But we ended up buying a Yamaha--a super nice one--with a full size keyboard, weighted keys, touch sensitive, great tone. Not the same as my old piano--a great upright with amazing sound and wonderful response to my touch--but extremely nice for an electronic model, as nice as they come.
The interesting thing, in writing as well as in life, thwarted expectations and being forced to explore paths we didn't first see gives new experiences to us and the characters in our stories.
Next Saturday--back to the music store.
I'm going to buy a guzheng and schedule lessons.