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APR

23

2014

today i was depressed for a bunch of reasons. not so much homesick, more of that perennial feeling that i don't belong here in china. on the surface it looks normal, but it's just surface relationships, nothing deep, nothing longstanding. and there's nobody really here i can talk to because my problem is sort of unique. even fantasizing about going home isn't enough anymore and i'm losing interests in the things i used to love doing. i come home, i make dinner, i go to sleep. if there's one good thing that can come from this bout of depression, it's that i'm finally going to bed early for a change.

once again i took the korean bus to work. this may be the last time because i definitely feel misplaced. it's such a small group of people (about a dozen) that when a stranger joins their ranks it feels kind of awkward. "oh, you again!"

this morning wangyan was telling me about how she browsed a bunch of my recommended websites and couldn't wait to talk to me about it during lunch so she could practice her english. but then she sat down with some ladies from the procurement department, and they didn't leave a seat for me. wangyan looked embarrassed, i told her no worries, and went to go sit by myself. in a ideal world, she would've followed me, which is what i would've done. but a girl changing seats just to go sit with a guy had additional meanings, so i understand why she didn't follow. those procurement girls aren't really her friends anyway, as soon as they finish eating, they all just go, leaving wangyan to eat alone. so i sat by myself eating my noodles, feeling a little down. and guess who should sit down across from me? my archnemesis mr.guo! i don't know what game he's playing, no matter how nice he is to me now, i still remember when he and his cronies abandoned me back in november-december. nevertheless, it was still nice to eat with somebody, even if it was my frenemy. the irony!

after lunch i went outside. not for a stroll - which i already did yesterday - the mother of all strolls - but just hoping to run into xianglian if she was out as well. but all this week her department is light on staff, and she never did bother coming out. i went inside briefly, but the silence seemed deafening, and knowing xianglian was just a few cubicles away seemed unbearable that i went back outside again, sitting on the steps, getting some sun, playing with my cellphone until lunch break was over.

wangyan sent me a message apologizing for the lunch debacle and asked if i was okay. she is a very thoughtful girl who makes terrible decisions when it comes to friends. i said it was okay but told her maybe tomorrow we shouldn't plan to meet. what i meant to say was we shouldn't build up our expectation and then find ourselves sitting separately in the cafeteria again, but it came out sort of vindictive. there only just a few good people at the office and wangyan is one of them. i'll apologize to her tomorrow.

i buried myself with work. not that i had that much, but getting lost in work kept my mind from other things. i played office matchmaker for WWY, who has a secret crush on one of the korean boys. earlier i asked wangyan for his info, whether he was single (yes) and how old was he (28). she came up to my desk later in the afternoon and asked if she could have some dove chocolate. she ended up sharing them with chehong and her friend yangfan. chehong came up to me and asked for chocolates as well, and i ended up giving both of them chocolates. i also gave yangfan some chocolates too.

onboard the medium bus, i was hoping xianglian would take it as well, since she knows i always take this bus. i saw her coming out of the office by herself, like maybe she was looking for someone, and then disappeared behind some buses. on our way home i couldn't resist and texted her a message: "would you like to take a stroll after work if you're not busy? the weather today is very nice." i never heard back. now i feel stupid. but a bit angry too. why would she be mad at me? i'm the one who's mad at her!

i came home and went out for a run. i stopped by the bun shop to buy 2 tea eggs for dinner. i ate that along with a piece of xinjiang bread. i did a load of laundry then ironed some shirts. right now i'm about to go to bed before 10:00. fingers crossed i can sleep 8 hours tonight!

APR

22

2014

it's only 9:00 and i'm already in bed! i can't believe there'd come a day where i'd be excited about going to sleep early, but i am. last night i slept for 7:17 hours, i'm hoping to reach an optimal 8 hours tonight. it helps to sleep alone, so nobody is there to judge me when i wear my fitness tracker on my wrist. the withings pulse comes with a velcro sleep bracelet which i don't have and for some reason can't seem to order a replacement online. the past few weeks i've just been using a strap tied to my wrist and the pulse clipped onto that. it's a terrible system because the pulse tends to flop around so it thinks i'm either sleeping lightly or waking up in the middle of the night. then sunday night i came had an idea: i could take an old sock i didn't want anymore, cut off the ankle, and create a simple wristband i could then tuck the pulse inside. i've used it the past 2 nights, it's a much better system.

i took the korean shuttle bus to work this morning, my first time. i didn't want to be anywhere near xianglian, didn't want for her to sit with somebody else while i sat by myself on the bus. even though i call it the korean shuttle, no koreans take it because they go to work an hour earlier (at 7:00); the shuttle is for the chinese hires working for the korean company. we took a circuitous route through the new city, going by the large rotary dividing old and new town, driving by guzhen (fake ancient changshou), before finally getting on the medium highway towards the office. it was a change of pace and nobody hassled me except wangyan, who came onboard and saw me and said, "what're you doing on our bus?"

xianglian texted me when i arrived at work. "i didn't see you on the bus. did you take the public bus to get to work today?" i told her i took the korean bus. she thought i was sick. "i appreciate your concern. no i am not sick." she asked about the fermented tofu she gave me, then about the 1st grade class picture i posted on my QQ zone. the whole time i was seething with anger. her first day back at work yesterday, she had plenty of opportunity to chat with me, to even sit with me, but she never did. now she wants to chat. i had to put a stop to this. "xianglian, i sort of can't talk to you right now," i wrote her. "okay. you are busy," she replied. i clarified: "for reasons i can not fully explain online, i'm a little mad at you. that's why i didn't take the [company] bus this morning." she sent me a "confused" emoticon and then, "last question, can i ask you why?" maybe some people are just that oblivious. if she doesn't know already, what's the point of explaining? "i can't explain online," i told her. "maybe later." and with that i didn't speak to her, look at her, or did anything else with her the rest of the day.

while i was busy giving xianglian the silent treatment, sunmeng messaged me about going to chongqing on sunday. i didn't hesitate to say yes. she was going to go visit a bookstore, but could also take me to nanshan if i wanted, which people tell me is the best place to see all of chongqing from up a mountain. when sunmeng still worked back at the office, we flirted a little bit, but i have no romantic aspirations towards her. i could sense she's a little fragile, especially after finally having broken up with her korean boyfriend, and i wouldn't take advantage of that. we're just friends, something i'm in very short supply of here in china. we plan on taking the 10:20 high speed train to chongqing then taking a bus back. my original plan - before my relationship with xianglian pretty much blew up - was to ask XL if she wanted to go to yuanboyuan, that park i went to a few weeks ago with lihui and his online lady friends.

after lunch, i went out for a walk. i figured it'd be a little stroll, but i ended up walking the perimeter of a large block of industry buildings which took the entire hour long break to complete. every time a heavy truck rolled by, it'd send up a plume of dust. there was probably nobody else in the office who'd ever complete this walk before. nobody except me seem to be curious about the areas nearby.

after work i found the medium bus and climbed onboard, never bothering to look back and check to see if XL was there. the driver was impatient and took off a few minutes after 6:00, when technically nobody is allowed to leave until 6:10. back in town, i saw the xinjiang bread seller and bought 5 pieces of bread from him. i also bumped into zengfei, who's been secretly taking the korean bus home (they leave much earlier). she was with a boy, i didn't ask who it was nor did i really care all that much. i went to the chongbai supermarket to get some spicy dishes for dinner. i returned home, cooked up some sweet rice porridge, and had it with the spicy side dishes i bought from the supermarket.

XL arrived at the bus stop a few minutes before we were about to leave. "good morning," she said, not looking at me, chewing on her fried pancake breakfast. i found 2 empty seats on the bus and waited for her to follow behind me but she sat down with somebody else. so that was how my monday started. after being gone on vacation for 10 days, XL returns without as much as a "happy to see you again."

the past few weeks i've developed a twitch in my right eye. this has happened before in the past, but never for this long. i don't think it's work stress because i'm hardly ever stressed from work. it could be the lack of sleep, poor diet, failed romance, rigorous work schedule, etc. finally catching up to me. i'm hoping it'll go away on its own if i can ever commit to a healthy 8-hour-per-night sleep schedule. as for the other things, all i can say is i have 2 more months of work and then i no longer have to worry about those things.

i don't feel much like working on this monday morning, but then again, who does? mondays are universally reviled in the work industry, more so for me since i'm looking down the barrel of a long 6-day work week. the key to survival is to treat the week like a marathon, to pace myself, leave some work for later in the week, don't overdo it every day. what i'd really like to do is to go home and play with my toys. i've got a panasonix lumix camera CCD that requires cleaning now that i have a set of replaceable-head screwdrivers. i'd also like to go for a run, to clear my head, but there was a drizzle this morning that i'm not sure will stop early enough for the track field to dry.

internet was down in the office this morning. local network worked fine, but i couldn't get online. i went to find the korean-side IT guy (the chinese-side IT guy lihui is currently on vacation) who said "i'm working on it," before i even got a chance to talk to him. we were finally back online 20 minutes later.

for breakfast, i brought my leftover babao rice porridge from last night.

i wasn't in a bad mood at work, but i made no efforts to go visit XL in the contract department. i am not going to expend anymore efforts trying to woo her, the days of wooing are over. i'm also not particularly fond of the contract department, still remembering how they failed to invite me to dinner last week. i did notice later in the afternoon that both LXL and MH are absent today. but i don't want to be the person she only hangs out with when her usual friends aren't here. XL came to me around 4:00 to sign this week's timesheet. "you must be really busy," she said. yes, busy wondering what's up with her. she sat down briefly but before we could have a chance to chat, she left.

in the afternoon i took a break to go outside. i had one of those moments of, "what am i doing here?" one thing my stint here in china has taught me is to make better use of my time. with just one weekend day per week and cramming as much activities as possible into one single day, i realize how precious time is. it also helps that i turned 40 here in china, with a bit more awareness of my own mortality. returning home, i will also be more thankful for the level of freedom and protection we take for granted living in the US.

after work, xianglian and i hung out outside. since the buses don't leave until 6:10, there's no point climbing onboard to a stuffy cabin. she'd texted me yesterday that she had to take her friend to the hospital because she got splattered with hot oil. i asked what happened. apparently her friend decided to toss something in a heavy wok full of hot oil and ended up getting splashed on her face, her hands, and her feet. it sounded like a horrible story but XL was laughing about it, which seemed like the wrong attitude to have when your friend is being scalded by oil.

we finally climbed onboard the nearly empty bus. i figured we'd get to sit together, but she sat down next to some guy while i sheepishly picked an empty seat in the back. all i could hear was her laughing and having a good time. it drove me absolutely crazy that i got off to take one of the other buses. the few passengers that were onboard gave me curious looks as i got off. this actually isn't the first time this has happened, i've gotten off the bus, thinking XL would sit next to me while she ended up sitting next to someone else.

i played it cool, standing back outside, sipping my tea, pretending nothing had happened, but i was pretty angry. from a distance i saw mrs.gu, who gestured there was a medium bus waiting to take us back into town. so i took that bus instead, nursing a bruised ego all the way home.

i can't believe what terrible luck i have, this is the second time here in china where i have a crush on some girl who shows no interest in me, yet i'm too blind to see it despite all sorts of signs and red flags. i should just enjoy the 70 more days of work i have, and not get myself caught up in some sort of entangling alliance. i don't think i was particularly happy or sad when i was alone, but circling around the relationship wagon is making me downright miserable.

i made rice porridge for dinner, a combination of pickled long beans, smoked pork, and leftover korean kimchi. i had a side dish of pickled garlic and sichuan paocai. the flavors were intense, but i could feel it wrecking havoc on my blood pressure, which i later took a reading of and saw my numbers skyrocket (160/120, hello strokeville!). i ate while watching last night's episode of game of thrones.

rest of the evening i was waiting for XL to text me like she was doing before she left for her vacation - just so i can ignore her, but she never did text me. the only person who QQ'd me was WWY, asking for one of the rhinoceros photos i took at the zoo yesterday.

i took the korean shuttle bus this morning into chongqing to show my filipino coworker romeo and his wife around the city. also on the bus was mr.park (going to church) and wangyan (going shopping). the driver was new and didn't even speak english so everyone was fortunate that wangyan was there to translate (although i could've done it as well). the driver didn't know where the church was and dropped off park a few hundred meters away from where he was supposed to be. the rest of us got off minutes later at guanyinqiao. "you're going to have a tough day," wangyan told me as she went off on her own to go shopping, leaving me to play tour guide.

romeo i didn't mind; his wife on the other hand never talked to me, never smiled, and seemed to be a perpetual bad mood. she was also slow, so i was always waiting for them to catch up. earlier i asked romeo what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to see pandas so i took them to the zoo. once i dropped them off, i got back on the subway and went to shiqiaopu to pick up my 18-200mm camera fix. i was afraid they'd do a poor job fixing it, or at least the lens would come back with additional cosmetic damage. but there wasn't a scratch on the lens, and it worked as good as before, if not better. not bad for RMB$400 (US$66). i then returned to the zoo to meet up with romeo and his wife.

romeo loves to talk. so it must kill him that most chinese that he meets outside of the office don't understand english. but whenever we'd come across another foreigner, he'd take the opportunity to chat with them. we met an aging french backpacker with a tangle of pepper-colored hair and beard at niujiaotuo station; he was going to jiefangbei, i pointed him in the right direction. later at the second subway restaurant we visited, he chatted up with a guy whom i thought was either american or israeli but turned out be to libyan; he was in chongqing visiting his fiancee.

i also realized that this was my first time on my nearly year-long trip to asia that i've gone out with somebody who spoke english. this had some interesting side effects. the chinese have a tendency to gawk, and someone like romeo - of filipino descent - stands out from the typical chinese han ethnicity. so people already noticed him. but when we start talking in english, suddenly everybody is confused. hearing english has a tendency to turn heads, and i could see people looking at us while we were talking. they might expect some westerners to be using english, but it's not often they hear a chinese person speaking fluent english.

with the warming weather comes the return of the pretty chongqing girls. seeing so many in the city actually put me in a good mood. it reminded me that there are some better choices out there, girls who are pretty and with a nice personality, girls that don't run hot and cold, normal girls.

we bumped into manfred, who was there with his sister and his 16-year-old daughter. it was already 2:00 so i took my filipino guests 12 stops to jiefangbei, because romeo said he and his wife both loved subway sandwiches. the company shuttle bus back to changshou was scheduled to leave at 3:30 from guanyinqiao but there was no way we were going to make it so we decided to take the public bus instead to buy us some more time in chongqing. we went to hongya dong and had a very late lunch at the subway restaurant there.

afterwards we wandered the area a little bit, before returning to jiefangbei and catching the subway to hongqihegou to take the bus back to changshou.

i felt this weekend was a little wasted. it's hard to gauge if romeo and his wife had a good time, especially his wife, the constant sourpuss. dragging them along, it was hard for me to take photos. on the other hand, romeo did pay for most of this trip, including zoo admission (RMB$30), lunch (RMB$34), and bus ticket back (RMB$31). i also now realize i can take the company shuttle to chongqing and save myself the RMB$31 it'd usually cost me to go there on a sunday. next sunday i will go back on my own and do the things i want to do and not have to worry about others.

late last night there was a thunderstorm. it wasn't a surprise because the weather was acting weird all day yesterday, with a sudden dip in temperature and strong winds. i was tempted to get up and watch the lightning, but sleep was more important.

saturday. of all my 6 day work week, saturday should be the easiest. the owner side of the project don't work on saturdays so there's a more laid back feeling. i've also mentioned this on several occasions, but i've personally vowed to work as little as possible on saturdays, as a civil protest for inhumane work hours.

i brought carrots to work as a snack, but i ate most of it on the bus on the way to the office sitting next to ZAS. i had to find a way to use up these carrots because they were starting to get soft in my fridge. people were kind of shocked that i was just eating raw carrots. everything - including vegetables - is cooked here. the chinese think things just taste better when cooked, and cooking has an added benefit of killing off any parasites.

maybe sunmeng has a network of spies in the office but she asked me this morning if i had a girlfriend at work. never one to lie, i told her i didn't, but that i was hanging out with xianglian a lot. i told her for various reasons (one of which is XL running hot and cold) we weren't officially going out yet, and it may never happen since i've got about 2 months left of work.

as i have nobody to walk with after lunch, i used my break to go out on my own, examining the wildflowers growing along the side of the road, stopping every once in a while to take a snapshot with my camera phone. there were also some insects: all sorts of flies (green bottle, tachinid, bee fly) and some ladybugs (larva and adult). i could've done this all day, walk for miles, provided i'd be able to find something new every once in a while.

right before the end of lunch break i remembered to call the camera repair shop. the man on the phone said my lens was already fixed. everything is in place for me to return to shiqiaopu to pick up my equipment.

* returning to the tailor to ask about special sleeve work; i get the idea she's never done an alteration like that, i will probably have to return to my old place (smoky mahjong joint) * eating knife-cut noodles by myself for dinner
* wandering the streets of changshou to reach 10,000 steps on my fitness tracker, taking photos with my cellphone camera
* coming home, noticed some dust on my winter jacket; turns out it's mold after 2 weeks of not wearing it

yangfan was wandering around our cubicle area in the late afternoon. she found a piece of dove dark chocolate on WWY's desk and was about to leave with it before WWY caught her in the act. "do you want some chocolate?" i asked her before she was about to leave, disappointed. i showed her my cache of dove chocolates inside a round cookie tin. i gave each of them a handful of chocolates, both leaving happily. later WWY wrote on her QQ zone that american dove chocolates are better than chinese dove chocolates.

i sat next to WWY on the medium bus going home. she peppered me with questions about what it's like to live in america. since i was getting off at the same stop she was, she asked me where i was going. i was a bit evasive, and she said, "oh, are you meeting your girlfriend? i haven't seen her in a while." i never did answer. i was meeting someone but it wasn't who she thought.

i went to the top floor of chongbai mall to the movie theatre and called sunmeng. she asked me where i was, i told her i was already at the movie theatre. she seemed confused. i told her i was upstairs, by the peking duck restaurant and the sushi shop. she seemed to understand and a few minutes later i saw her. waiting inside one of the restaurant was one of my coworkers. i'm not sure if he saw us, and if he did, whether he was confused to see sunmeng again, who left the company back in december.

i soon realized i made a terrible mistake. i just assumed when sunmeng said she wanted to go see a movie she meant the movie theatre on the top floor of the chongbai mall. but apparently there are 2 other movie theatres in the old city, and that was the one she meant. so i made her come all the way out to the new city for nothing. the movie we wantd to watch - captain america 2 - was playing here as well, but the only showing was 9:50.

we decided to grab dinner first and see what happened from there. originally we were going to go eat at the sushi restaurant, but it seemed a little empty on a friday evening, and most of the good stuff was probably already sold or gone bad. there was the peking duck restaurant, but that seemed a little fancy. sunmeng recommended the new steakhouse at the soon-to-be mall across the street from chongbai. so we went there.

the first thing i noticed at this steakhouse was the salad bar. there was probably only 8 things to choose from at the most, but i'd never seen a salad bar in all of chongqing. i may come here and try the salad one of these days (it comes free with certain entrees, or RMB$25 separately). we got a fairly private table at the back of the restaurant with a window view of the outside but soon realized it was hotter and stuffier back here (the waitress had already warned us) so we moved out closer to the front of the restaurant where there was air conditioning.

we ended up ordering some fried calamari as an appetizer, a 9" thai pizza (medium size, the largest is 12", the smallest 7.5"), and a shared tall pitcher of cold lemonade. it took a while for the food to arrive, which made sunmeng complain to the waitresses, but before i warned her about angering the waitstaff (anything could happen to our food in the kitchen). the portion for the calamari were tiny, as well as the size of the pizza. sunmeng kept talking so much that she hardly ate. we exchanged office gossip, everything from romeo's slew of illegitimate children, to sunmeng dating one of the koreans in the office and going out to dinner with many of the korean managers. she also told me how each one of them took turns trying to woo her back to the project after she left.

the bill came out to be about RMB$95. a little pricey given the lackluster food quality. the calamaris were okay but just not enough. the thai pizza tasted like hawaiian pizza, and the tomato sauce was probably similar to ketchup because it tasted too sweet.

it was only 8:00. originally i was just going to call it a night, told sunmeng we could catch the movie tomorrow night in the old city. but she said captain america 2 doesn't start until 8:30 back in the old city, so we had time to make it. in hindsight we should've just hailed a taxi, but sunmeng followed me lead when i whipped out my changshou bus pass. it took us 20 minutes to get to xiexin plaza, and some more minutes to actually get to the theatre on the top floor of the mall. the theatre was a lot more impressive than i'd imagined, reminded me of the kendall landmark theatre, but with more spacious ceiling space. i was going to treat but sunmeng rushed to pay before i could get out my money. each ticket was just RMB$25, not bad for a 3D movie. they gave us glasses before we went inside, heavy industrial-looking rubberized ones with a security dongle to prevent people from stealing them.

the screening room was larger than the largest screening room i can remember back home in the US. but like at home, the start of the movie featured a stream of trailers. there weren't that many people watching captain america 2 on a friday night, only because this movie had already been playing in china for a few weeks, so it was new anymore, relegated to their secondary screening room. sunmeng had bought snacks while she was waiting for me at the mall earlier and handed them out to me. if we came just a bit earlier, i would've bought some popcorn, the classic movie theatre snack.

captain america 2 thankfully was not dubbed in chinese but retained its original english, with only chinese subtitles at the bottom. the only time i had problems was the few pieces of french and russian dialogue, since i couldn't read the chinese translation. the movie itself was okay, typical comic book action hero film, i tried not to think too hard about it in order to enjoy myself.

the movie finished by 10:30. we made our exit out of the theatre. the mall was already closed by then so we had to use the back stairs which presented some problems because there was no lighting as we descended (i used my cellphone screen from illumination). out on the street we hailed a cab. sunmeng got out first, to her house in the old city. i continued to the new city. not sure why, maybe there was some taxi cab shenanigans, but after the initial RMB$5.60 fare, the meter quickly jumped to RMB$9.30. i didn't care, i was tired and i wanted to get home, glad it wasn't raining even though it looked like it would with all the strong winds.

as we approached the office this morning, we saw the aftermath of a motorcycle collision at an intersection. it's the second time i've seen 2 motorcycles hit each other at this same exact location. you figured they'd put up signs or install traffic lights (maybe they do, but not everyone follows traffic safety laws). a man was on the sidewalk with a cut on his forehead, a woman was a few meters away with some cuts and abrasions of her own. i wanted to get off the bus and help because it seemed like the right thing to do but nobody else on the seemed to be thinking the same thing. i also wanted to help because i've been through 2 motorcycle accidents of my own, so i know what it feels like to be on the ground, your body all bruised up, your motorcycle in pieces scattered across the road.

i briefly texted xianglian this morning. i wanted to know when she was leaving for chongqing. she said later this afternoon. that cleared up my evening to maybe invite some other people out to dinner. and by other people i mean my new qq buddy WWY, and her bevy of pretty lady friends. i'm not sure how to breach the subject without totally sounding like a dirty old man though. "hey, wanna go out to dinner? and please invite all your pretty friends too."

i've been eating lunch with wangyan more and more. she's gotten over her fear of me, especially now that her friend yuwei is gone for good. she really has nobody else to sit with during lunch, and since she's a slow eater like myself, she's usually still eating after everyone has already left. thing is she's one of the most stylish girls in the office, and i must be the envy of many guys at work because i get to eat with her everyday. when they leave, they give me these raised eyebrow looks that i've since learned to ignore.

the temperature soared to 84 degrees today. i didn't realize it was that hot because i didn't go out after lunch but in the afternoon i moseyed outside and it felt like summer for the first time. i for one welcome the hot weather. i work in an air-conditioned office anyway so it doesn't bother me too much.

at 4:00 i hit my wall, despite being still full of energy an hour earlier. something about inputting numbers into tiny excel spreadsheet cells that can quickly make me feel sleepy. i didn't drink any coffee though. sometimes it doesn't work, and if it does work, i'm afraid it might give me insomnia later in the evening. i also have some very strong and sweet ginger tea i could also try.

after work i returned home and went to the supermarket first to get some udon noodles and yogurt drink before changing clothes to go out for a run. i saw the contract department with some cost control people (including my frenemy guo) going out to dinner together. i walked right past them, none of them thought to invite me. that slight gave me fuel for my run. fengya didn't go with them however; i've noticed her relationship with guo has soured, and i usually see her hanging out with her roommate and her friends. in fact, going to the supermarket, i was walking behind them as they were going to the same place.

the run was warmer than usual, but not too bad, since it was beginning to get dark and the temperature dipping a little bit. i struggled and almost stopped running prematurely, but years of running has given me a bit of endurance and i managed to finish 10 laps for 4000m. i went home still wearing my tank top, but it was soaking wet with sweat.

after a shower, i washed my running clothes and prepared dinner, some udon noodles, some cabbage, the rest of my chicken soup. i also added some chinese smoked pork to give it some more flavor. afterwards i finished a plate of sliced tomatoes (3 total) with dried prune powder. once again, i didn't think i could finish, but no harm can ever come from eating too much tomatoes and i finished it all eventually. afterwards i was ironing my clothes topless while texting sunmeng; we made plans to go see a movie tomorrow night.

i tried to go to bed early, and i was pretty much in bed by 10:00, but still, i didn't go to sleep until 11:30, and i spent some time tossing and turning, so i'm not sure when i finally went to sleep, most likely sometime after midnight. this of course makes me sleepy at work come the afternoon, when there's a long 5 hour stretch of work until 6:00. besides being sleepy, i also can't stop snacking. this morning i weighed myself and i was at 142 lbs, more than the heaviest i've weighed back at home. it's no surprise why this happened because i'm pretty much a non-stop eating machine. sure, i exercise, but the few times i run per week can't offset the volume of calories i consume daily. sugary and salty junk food too, nothing nutritious at all. i fear my lab results once i go back home and get a physical.

* XL invites LXL to come to maocai with us as well
* XL gives me presents: fermented tofu and dried radish
* after dinner we walk to yonghui supermarket
* coming back from yonghui with XL, we bumped into FY and some of her girlfriends. it was kind of awkward but i greeted them friendily.
* XL and i walk back, she gives me an additional present: a half cent paper bill from 1953
* black shirt sleeves can't be rolled up because tailor used a simple way to shorten the sleeves

Phasellus suscipit elit lacus, auctor condimentum felis venenatis quis. Vivamus ut diam ultrices, aliquam ante id, aliquet magna. Duis varius sem vitae nibh lacinia, et porta sapien euismod. Phasellus eleifend, quam non semper porttitor, nisl nunc tempor velit, vel semper urna mauris scelerisque justo. Nunc et dolor magna. Maecenas et porttitor ipsum. Suspendisse potenti. Suspendisse convallis sagittis lectus, vel pharetra nunc fermentum ut. Nunc gravida a orci et rhoncus. Nunc nunc augue, auctor eget convallis eu, varius non leo. Vestibulum auctor posuere tortor nec vulputate. Nulla at ipsum at augue convallis tempus. Donec arcu sapien, ullamcorper nec orci ut, tempor suscipit turpis. Quisque pharetra lobortis justo, ut ultricies nisi adipiscing at. Ut et dapibus erat, ac facilisis lorem.

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i thought i was sleeping early yesterday but i slept for the same number of hours the night before - 6 hours - which means i will be tired later in the afternoon, just like i was yesterday. i did something new this morning: in the 10 minutes i had left before i had to leave the apartment at 7:20 to catch the company shuttle bus, i fried some eggs and yak sandwich meat for breakfast. it can be done but it's a bit of a rush job. maybe if i wake up a little bit early, that'd give me enough time for a normal breakfast, but that'd never happen. today was just a proof of concept.

mr.lee held a meeting today to issue his overly-optimistic a-claim-a-day decree, so we'd meet our end of june deadline. even on the best of days, we can maybe hope to issue 3 a week maximum. he then went ahead and went through all our claims - all 300+ items - reading off the status. we were finally saved 1:30 hours later when some other department had to use the meeting room. ellen was a little concerned afterwards, until i told her this was never going to happen.

lunch was so terrible that i managed to break into my emergency ramen ration afterwards. people were looking at me like i was one of the unlucky few people who wasn't on the office lunchtime dining plan. i ate in front of my computer and didn't get a chance to go outside until after work.

someone (probably XL) put a sign on her monitor saying she'd be on vacation up to the 19th, which meant she wouldn't be back at work until next monday. i'm still confused as to how she can just leave and never once bothered to go online and check up on the status of her office friends. at the very least send me a note. it's hard to understand how people can operate with so little feeling. but maybe the same can be said of me, since i haven't really hung out with the contract department ever since XL left for vacation. granted, i've been busy the past few days, and ever since the printer next to my cubicle broke, i don't get any traffic anymore.

after work i went to the tailor to go pick up my black shirt. the door was locked and when i knocked a few times there was no answer. i did however bump into the tailor as she was returning to her shop. she told me my shirt wasn't ready yet. afterwards i went to the chongbai mall, to the hair salon upstairs to get a haircut. the stylist - no.7 - did an okay job. the best part was the pre-cut washing, sitting on a vibrating chair, getting a scalp massage with a hot towel on the back of my neck as a pillow. all this for just RMB$38. the pretty hostess whom i saw twice before wasn't there this time.

i finally stopped by the supermarket on the basement level to get some white ground pepper and a bag of refrigerated udon noodles. i came home around 8:00 and started making some chicken stock from the leftover clay-baked chicken i had on sunday. into the pot was also some ginger slices, white ground pepper, and a healthy dash of chinese baijiu. no salt was required since the chicken itself was already plenty salty. once the broth was finished (i let it cook for over half an hour), i picked out the bones, added some cabbage and udon noodles to the soup. it made for a good dinner, i wish there was just a bit more meat, but there was enough leftover broth for me to eat chicken noodle soup again tomorrow night.

*had a hard time waking up this morning; maybe because i've averaged just 5 hours of sleep every night
* romeo's wide angle quest; he's got serious lens envy, buying up lenses that he's not even using instead of actually going out and taking photos
* dispensing words of wisdom to ellen about claims work
* WWY asking me about which girls in the office i think is pretty
* with no lihui or XL around, it's kind of liberating; although i'm still kind of perplexed that XL can go radio silent for this long
* 20 million safety manhour celebration dinner friday of next week
* invited ZF to go run, she said no, no reason, lost in translation; later after work i saw her eating dinner with some coworkers
* too tired, maybe just go home
* black shirt arrived; went to the bathroom to try it on; size L but fits well; after work went to get the sleeves shortened; tailor said i look better wearing white
* had some lamb rice noodles for dinner (RMB$12) before going to the supermarket to grab some snacks and drinks before coming home