Of course, if it doesn’t work out, my heart won’t be broken, because I like my existence well enough the way it is. But I am determining not to be afraid of change, because change can be good. And this new apartment looks really good. And I was considering going to China to teach English for heaven’s sake, so how can I be afraid of moving to NJ? If I’m miserable, well, I’ll just move back.
Anyway, in order to put this all in motion, I had to tell my roommates what was going on. One of the is currently visiting her family in China, but the other one is here, so I explained the situation to her, also primarily to elicit her help in finding a new roommate. She listened patiently and was very understanding of my wanting to move closer to my workplace. At the end, though, she looked very sad. She glanced down at the table and said, “We will miss you, you know.”
Hearing that really almost broke my heart. I don’t get to talk to them very much, mostly because whenever I am in the apartment, they are busy speaking in Chinese, and so I do not know what they are talking about. Sure, we get along, but mostly because I leave them to their own devices. I actually get along with each of them much better individually, because we speak in English exclusively when the other one of them isn’t around!
What she said next really blew me away, however:
“I don’t think we will find a new roommate as good as you. You are the cleanest American I ever know!”
She proceeded to admit that she and my other roommate are not “the cleanest people ever” but that I am always cleaning up in the apartment. I was completely shocked to hear this. I never knew they even noticed! They never said anything . . . ever! And they are not slobs, by any stretch of the imagination; I have just always qualified myself as a neat freak and cannot help but clean up messes that bother me too much to leave lying around.
Absolutely incredible, the things people notice and think about you when you don’t even realize it. And how far a little bit of appreciation can go to erase a well of resentment. I might be willing to clean five sinks so long as someone thanked me for it! Now if only I can remember this piece of wisdom….