Bao Zhu: I come from a small village where houses are made of mud. You can imagine what those villages look like, they all look the same. My mother was usually out working, so I was at home with my father and my little nephew. Sometimes in the evening my father would go out to see some friends, so I was alone with my nephew. He used to sleep in the room next to mine and he often cried in the evening before falling asleep. He cried for his grandfather. So I went to comfort him, and when he had fallen asleep I would go to bed myself.
Once on such a night, I dreamed I was lying in my bed at night and my father was waving a fan at me. At first it was all right but then he started waving faster and I could hardly breathe anymore. I told him to stop but he didn’t hear me, he kept waving the fan at me. Then I wanted to turn on the light, I felt for the switch in the dark but the switch didn’t work. Maybe I wasn’t really the switch after all, or maybe there was no electricity, I don’t know, but I couldn’t turn on the light.
The dream went on like that for some time and then I suddenly woke up. Only then I realized that I had been dreaming, it had seemed so real. I felt quite scared when I woke up. During the dream I hadn’t felt scared at all, just very tired. I wanted to fall asleep again but I couldn’t. I tried not to think about the dream but it didn’t work. Somehow the dream had really scared me. I even turned on the light to see if it worked, and it did, so it was clear that I had only been dreaming. But I still felt very scared and couldn’t fall asleep again.
Maybe I had this dream because I was missing my father very much and wanted him to come home soon. I guess we often dream about the things we think about most. But sometimes I also dream about things that I have never thought about before. Something simply appears in my dream, and then a few days later I hear someone say something and I realize that I’ve been dreaming about the same thing. For example, today something happened to me that I dreamed about last night. I used to think that you first need to think about something and then it appears in your dreams. But then I found that sometimes it happens the other way round. These other dreams are very strange.
Sometimes my dreams scare me a lot. I wake up and I feel really frightened. Then later, when I wake up completely, I don’t feel afraid anymore because I realize it was just a dream. But sometimes I start thinking about the dream and about how strange it was, and that again makes me feel scared.
I often sleep during the day and I feel that my daytime dreams are different from those that I have at night. They seem much more real. A few days ago I had my day off and I took a nap late in the morning. I dreamed that my husband would be coming home soon. I live with my husband and my brother, we rent an apartment, there’s always someone coming in or going out, so my dream was quite realistic. But then I woke up and I realized I had only been dreaming. I also felt very tired, as if I hadn’t slept at all.
I don’t often have nice dreams, so when I have one I always want it to go on. I don’t want to wake up, just want to continue dreaming. But unfortunately you can’t normally control your dreams.
I’m from Shaoguan in the province of Guangdong. I came here to Youfan to find work. I live with my husband, my brother and a friend of ours. We’re four people living together. Now there isn’t so much to do at my factory so I often have a day off. My husband is in the same situation. I’m a bit worried about that. Our economic situation is not good at all; actually I would say we are quite poor. Our two salaries together are only about 1.000 Yuan per month. I often complain to my husband because he isn’t doing anything about the situation, he could go and try to find something to do, but he’s just sitting at home all day long.
I think I have some kind of obsessive or anxiety disorder because I always think about bad things. I feel very tired, and my dreams are bad dreams, which make me feel even more tired. I’m not really that old, but somehow I feel as if I had already entered menopause. I’m not hot-tempered towards other people, but I am towards my husband. I feel something’s wrong with me. I suppose my dreams are related to my situation. I think it must be some kind of anxiety disorder, something like that.