Monday, December 22, 2008

Paying the Rent

Today I paid my rent all by myself. It feels silly to be proud of something so mundane, but I am.

My landlord wants to be paid via bank wire transfer, and the information is laid out in the lease. He uses the same bank that I do, just a different branch.

This afternoon I went to my branch, with a copy of my lease and five figures worth of RMB, in cash. Everything is cash around here, and few places take credit cards that I haven't had to sign my name in public in months, so that isn't a big deal. I showed my bank card, and my lease, and told the bank manager (the only person who didn't giggle uncomfortable or just stare at me when I walked in) that I needed to make a wire transfer. He used my lease to copy the account information onto the transaction slip while I stood by and watched, grateful for his assistance. I'm willing to fill out the slip but I can't read it, and if I tried to write in Chinese characters the bank teller probably wouldn't be able to understand it. After the manager filled out the slip I was given a paper slip with my queue number and went to the waiting area.

When my number was called I handed the paper slip and the large pile of 100 yuan notes to the teller, along with my bank card. He placed the cash in a counting machine to confirm the amount, typed the information into the computer, had me sign a slip confirming the transaction and then gave me the receipt. Fairly simple, really, but still daunting without language skills to facilitate.

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