This apartment had a really cool bronze relief on the wall, but someone ruined it by using spraypaint to color all the water blue.
One of the highlights of this week was opening my email and seeing these pictures from 廖弟兄 [Brother Liao], who I found and taught in Tucheng:
Elder Roe and Bellingham with 廖弟兄.
Brother Liao was probably my favorite investigator of all time to teach. I started a conversation with him as he stood looking at some real estate ads outside of our apartment. He was willing to accept our teaching, and he was always stable and dependable. Although he is old and retired long ago, he is exceptionally sharp and learns quickly. He speaks English, and he worked as a computing professor in the 1970s, so we can talk some mad DOS together. It doesn’t matter to me that I wasn’t able to attend his baptism; I’m just overjoyed that he was baptized.
Aside from that, I ran a bunch of tests on my automated reporting system this week. The first trial had a ton of bugs that resulted from people messing with the templates, so I stayed up with the assistants on Sunday night until they had finished reporting, all the while tweaking the code until it finally worked and was well-proofed against human error. The second trial, on Thursday, went without a hitch, except that one of the three trial zones didn’t send in any of their numbers.
Electronic payments for the month went through yesterday. Predictably, a host of landlords called us complaining that they didn’t get the right amount of money. One of them was a mistake that we made; the rest were them not understanding the tax math.
We even took a side trip to a real-estate office in 新店 (Xindian) so I could try to explain our calculations to an agent. They were calculating the tax based on a percentage of the landlord’s net income rather than on a percentage of the apartment’s total rent, and wondered why there was a difference between the two numbers. I tried every way I could to demonstrate the inequivalency of these two expressions, and finally gave up when I realized they didn’t understand fractions.
Then, we went to the new 新店 apartment we rented, and checked out the awesome fridge. It has a panel on the front that can swing down with a single press, allowing easy access to the chilled beverages inside without the heavy labor of swinging the door open.
On the way home after proselyting on Friday, we stopped at a 7-11 to electronically confirm some train tickets using their IBON system. There were a bunch of white guys inside the store speaking English. They were rude and crass and bought a lot of beer. I was ashamed to be around them.
I ordered a bunch of new carbon monoxide detectors. Much to my joy and astonishment, they came with free Happy Meal-style key chains, featuring a 可愛 fire-extinguisher mascot. I speedily equipped my cell phone with the handy cord.
That’s about all that happened this week.