Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Thieves in China I would assume are different than thieves in West Africa.

Last night I arrived home to a burglarized apartment.  My bedroom had been turned upside down with the bedsheets all askew, the Peace Corps medical kit dumped out, my journal open and on the floor, my nightstand and cabinets gone through.  In the guest room, a suitcase full of free items for students had been dumped out and six used watches which were donated by an ex living in the USA for the reading competition were on the bed.  In the living room, drawers were open.  In the kitchen, the mosquito screen was in the sink and there was a tiny hole punched into the kitchen window, just enough to push the latch open, making it the entry way of the thief to my second floor flat.

What would a thief in Africa steal?  Any and all electronics as well as money  

What did a thief in China steal?
The thief was looking for money, but unlike in Africa I do not hide cash around the house.  There are banks everywhere in China.  In Africa, I went to the bank so rarely that it was best to withdraw as much money as possible and hide it around the house recording the hiding places in code in a little book so that I wouldn't forget where I hid it.

The thief found no money coz there was no money in my flat except for a little blue purse full of 30 American dollars on the coffee table that the thief overlooked.

Did the thief touch my ipod, the desktop computer, my CD player, the DVD player, the watches?  Nope.  What about my passport or American credit card?  Nope.  

So what did the robber steal?  He/She got my small camera and found two rings that I had sitting in a drawer.  One was a steel one.  The other was a custom handmade white gold decorative band, a gift.  That particular ring has had the worst luck.  The first time I lost it was while washing my hands in Africa.  It slipped off and went down the pit latrine.  My ex made me another one and umm... here in China, it got stolen.

The university called the local city police who came to visit and wrote up a report.  They took pictures and had a kit to dust for fingerprints.  They found sole marks upon the white window still   They asked me questions and I had to put a red inked fingerprint over each of the written parts of the report.  The most unique question was "Have any of your knives been moved?"

The burglar picked the wrong flat.  I find it pretty incredible that out of all of my possessions there was so little that a Chinese thief would want.  Should I feel offended that the thief didn't want any of my stuff?

Is it weird that I feel a sense of satisfaction that I own nothing that causes me to feel grief if I lose it?  I have never wanted to live to own possessions and have never wanted to feel attached to material things such that I would feel pain and anger if I lost them.  Why don't I get angry or emotional over these kinds of things?  Why am I so laissez-faire?

"Laissez faire et laissez passer." -Colbert-LeGendre 
("Let do and let pass.")

Life goes on...


jane said...

odd -- i would have thought they'd at least have gone for the ipod! must have been a real amateur.

universalibrarian said...

Not weird at all but kind of nice that you don't have all sorts of weird investment in your stuff. You have written about living the life of a wanderer, well, I think that this shows that part of you is really well suited to that. Glad you are ok. Have a good day,