I had to get new glasses this week. I had heard that glasses were inexpensive in China, so I brought my prescription in the hopes of buying an extra pair. But my vision has gone to pot in the last few weeks, and my old glasses were not doing the trick. I had to wear my off-the-shelf reading glasses on top of my fancy trifocals just to see 12-point type! I don't know why the rapid deterioration -- maybe because I've been actually wearing my trifocals more?
But I wasn't sure if I could managed to get my eyes checked in Chinese! Still, there's an eyeglass shop on the road right outside our gate, so I thought I'd give it a try. My trusty "Essential Guide to Mandarin" even had the phrase, "My vision is blurry!" But more importantly, the optician spoke some English.
My old glasses were 1.75 magnification. The optician put these big black glasses with interchangeable lenses on me, and put lenses of 2.0 in. She then handed me a Chinese newspaper and asked me to read it -- we both had to laugh when I said I wouldn't be able to read it even at 10 times magnification! So we switched to my "Essential Guide to Mandarin" book. And at 3.0 magnification I could see! But one eye was still a little blurry, so she popped in the 3.5 magnification, and voila! I can see clearly now the rain has gone . . . . (sorry, couldn't resist -- I made a cultural reference to Diana Ross and the Supremes today in class, and they absolutely didn't get it. I figure this audience will get 60s music references!).
Then I selected frames, paid about $60, and was told to come back in two hours. I went to pick up the kids from school, and we headed to the eyeglass shop. As we walked, I asked Zoe if she could guess what color my new glasses were, and she nailed it: "RED! Because it's your favorite color!" And then enlightenment, "I know why red is your favorite color -- it's because red is a lucky color in China and we're IN China!" (Never mind that it's been my favorite color since before I ever knew there was a China!).
So I'm happy with my new glasses, even if they are more like high-falutin' off-the-shelf reading glasses than my fancy trifocals. After all, I can see clearly now the rain has gone . . . .