Last night I was quietly surfing the internet when the lights in my apartment went out. Blackouts were pretty common while I was in Vietnam, but this is the first time it has happened since I moved to Shanghai. The neighboring apartments all seemed to have electricity, so I decided to try to find out what the problem was from the apartment security guard.
I went to the front desk, & told the guard there that I didn't have any electricity. He asked me which apartment I was in, & I told him. He said that I should call the apartment handyman & told me the number as I wrote it down. I asked if the handyman spoke English, & the securtiy guard said that no, he didn't. But I don't speak Chinese, I whined-- Then I suddenly realized that I just had that entire conversation in Chinese. Huh.
Bolstered, I took the number & once back in my apartment, I called the handyman. "喂你好 wei4 ni3 hao3. Hello?" I was able to tell him - in Chinese - that my electricity was out & which apartment was mine. In a few minutes, the lights came back on & all was illuminated.
I'm pretty amazed at the whole thing, actually. Looks like my Chinese skills are getting a little brighter :)