After this long in China, I really should have learned: you can’t have expectations. Life is great here month to month and even most weeks are good, but individual days seem to delight in defying my expectations. Sometimes it sucks, but sometimes China passes the low bar I’ve set. Sometimes I think I’m in for an average day but things turn out to be way better.
Today was one of those days – a good one. I slept in late, grabbed a lunch of jiaozi, did some shopping, and went back to my room. I spent the afternoon working on pictures from our trip and watching movies, but I actually made progress and the movies were actually good! I’ve updated the Chinglish album with some new gems, and put my top 100 pictures of us from the trip up in a new album.
As far as movies, Ghost Town was both hilarious and somewhat meaningful, and The Princess and the Frog at least made me laugh with its horrible English subtitles. They were apparently based on someone’s sub-par listening skills, as they featured such Freudian slips as:
- “We’ll never come up with the money for the damned payment!” (instead of ‘down payment’)
- “You drive a hot pot.” (instead of ‘hard bargain’)
- “This man is obviously a Satan.” (instead of a ‘charlatan’)
I went to dinner with Pun, and even though we ate in the cafeteria the food wasn’t bad. Also, the group of Americans was in there and I finally introduced myself to a few of them.
My evenings usually wind down in front of the computer, but not today. Around 10, the phone calls started. My friends downstairs, Deni from Mexico and Paloma from Colombia, called to see if I wanted to join them for sandwiches, salad, and wine – which of course I did. I can’t think of the last time I had a sandwich . . . it was delicious (and included bread)!
While I was there, my phone kept ringing (which is really quite unusual). Dad called to check on me and wish me a happy New Year. Yong Zhi called me to say his sister thought I was pretty and wanted to give me a present. I know, right? What a great evening.
Even without the phone calls, it was a great night. We hung out in their room for a few hours, just talking. It’s something I really miss from TU. We talked about our classes, our travels in China, our plans for the rest of the break, our lives back home, and what awaits us back there.
Speaking of heading home, I successfully signed up to keep my apartment at TU for next year. I have a roommate and everything, which makes it all seem so close. Is it weird that I fantasize about my apartment back in Tulsa? A room of my own with a walk-in closet and soft bed, a living room with places to sit and entertain, but most of all a kitchen. Deni and Paloma sympathized with my longing dreams. Preparing food here is such an ordeal, even two people making sandwiches is difficult. We don’t have the space, don’t want to invest in the equipment, can’t get the right ingredients, and the only utensils we have in abundance are 筷子 (chopsticks).
I’m planning on baking/cooking up a storm next year when I get back to that huge shiny kitchen with a full oven, microwave, dinner settings for 8, and jars of flour and sugar on the counter. Get ready, Tulsans!
Tomorrow will be a sort of practice, though. It’s Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnavale, whatever) and I’m planning a big celebration. I’m going to bake all day, then have a nice dinner with friends, and end the night with sangria and the Lantern Festival.
Just gotta remember to keep my expectations low.
PS – My Hong Kong proxy hasn’t been working recently, so I’ve been using Washington DC or San Francisco. I almost had a heart attack when I went to check the weather and saw temperatures of 48 and 55. If that’s Celcius, then we’re in for a toasty February!
PPS – I’m always surprised by the controversial topics that Golden Girls took on, way back in the 80’s. I’m part way through the 5th season and I’ve seen: infidelity, homosexuality, artificial insemination, assisted suicide, homelessness, care of the elderly, immigration, plastic surgery, and more.