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.

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.

Donec accumsan, massa ac vulputate molestie, tellus arcu malesuada quam, id varius dui orci at lectus. Sed eget convallis urna, nec auctor turpis. Integer feugiat ligula lacinia pulvinar sodales. Nulla nec nisi metus. Morbi consequat justo mollis porta sodales. Pellentesque ultricies elementum bibendum. Sed vel tellus consectetur, iaculis odio in, pulvinar orci.

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

i woke up before 9:00 (having gone to bed late saturday night at 2:30) feeling very thankful for some reason. thankful that i had running water. thankful there wasn't a blackout. thankful i wasn't nursing a cold. because all of those things haven't happened to me at one time or another, makes me appreciate the times when everything goes right.

i could've gone to chongqing early - to get my camera lens fixed - but i was in no hurry. i wanted to enjoy a nice sunday morning. how did i do that? by spending almost 2 hours cleaning the house! first by cleaning the bathroom. i followed that with mopping the floors of the apartment. finally i went through the kitchen, wiping off the mold that started to grow ever since i stopped using the AC heater more than 2 weeks ago.

afterwards i finally made some breakfast. i was going to make one of my egg yak sandwiches, but the last 2 slices of bread i had in the house had grown moldy (not surprising, since the rest of the house was already moldy). i improvised, and fried 2 eggs, ate it with some tea and a banana.

i finally left the house around 11:00, making my way to the bus station in old changshou to take the bus into chongqing. my original plan was to go buy a shirt first before heading to shiqiaopu, the electronics epicenter of chongqing, to get my camera lens repaired. but once i arrived in the city, i decided to head straight to shiqiaopu.

lihui knew a friend who knew a friend who did camera repair, and gave me his number to call. fearing it might be some back alley repair shop, i opted for someplace more mainstream, and i arrived with 2 addresses. shiqiaopu doesn't have a plaza like in many other commercial centers; it's essentially anchored by a multi-floored mall that's all electronics and computers and everything digital. i couldn't find the address of the camera repair shop i found online, but decided to go in and ask somebody at one of the canon camera shops to see if they knew any nearby repair shops.

so i went to the 2nd floor, found a canon store, and asked if they could recommend a repair store. the guy pointed me to the back of the store, where a young man behind a counter was examining a hand-held digital camera. behind him was a glass case with some brown boxes that might've been camera parts. i looked for some "canon authorized repair" plague but didn't see any, although it looked like the place only fixed canon and samsung equipment.

i talked to the repairman, who gave me a ballpark figure after examining my lens. he said for parts alone it'd be RMB$200, maybe RMB$300 if there was a lot of damage inside. i said i'd think about it, maybe look for a different store. he murmured something to the effect of, "we're an authorized repair shop, you can't find any place better." i thought about it for a few seconds but then decided i'd get it fixed here. who knows if i'd be able to find that place i was looking for originally. and this was a repair shop inside a photo equipment mall; if they weren't legit, they wouldn't be here. he filled out the invoice and wrote down RMB$400 as a total, about US$65. repair work of any type in china is amazingly cheap. he also said there was a 3 month warranty. if i was willing to pay extra they could rush the repair work, but i still wouldn't get it until tomorrow (monday). i said i'd come by next sunday, he said that should be enough time.

wandering through the camera store, i had a long chat with another young man, after i asked him some questions about camera straps (he recommended i'd go look for them online because they're the same but cheaper). he was a chubby fellow, with sleepy eyes behind glasses and a t-shirt that said "montauk". he was looking at my camera equipment and made some comment about my 10-22mm canon wide angle. he said that was a great lens, but i was doing it a disservice by pairing it with a circular polarizer. we were talking and i ended up showing him the rest of my lenses: 28mm f/1.8 and the 60mm EF-S f/2.8 macro. he said the 28mm was another great lens, but the 60mm was crap in his opinion. "if you want to shoot macro, get the 100mm f/2.8," he told me. he showed me on his cellphone a bird photo he shot with a 100mm lens (bird swooping in to feed on a caterpillar on a leaf), a great photo, one that he's proud enough to just carry it around. it looked a little stage though, and he mentioned something about sitting a blind with a remote switch to get the shot.

i thought about going to guanyinqiao, but without my 18-200mm, if i saw anything interesting, i wouldn't be able to take a good photo of it, so i decided not to go. maybe on a day that's warmer too. so i took the subway back to hongqihegou and grabbed a bus back to changshou.

by then it was around 3:30, but because of some unexpected traffic, we didn't get back until 5:00. i was tired and slept on the bus. getting off, i wanted to go to the guzhen, and i asked a motorcycle-for-hire if he'd take me for RMB$5. "RMB$6," he told me, even though from where we were i couldn't almost see ancient changshou. i decided to walk it, out of principle, a distance of more than 20 minutes uphill.

from the highway i could see there was some sort of flea market happening at guzhen. inside a large tent was all manners of things on sale. i ended up buying RMB$15 worth of gummy candy and jelly beans. i then made my way inside ancient changshou, and went to the food stall street and got myself a clay-baked chicken for RMB$68. leaving guzhen, i spotted some large moving shapes in an abandoned fenced-off grassy construction area. i pulled out my ZS20 (the only thing i had that could get me a long enough zoom) and looked through LCD: it was a male pheasant with 2 female pheasants. i took some videos and photos, the male pheasant looking very wary, occasionally craning his head to look at me. it seems like the only kind of wildlife that can survive in china are those that can fly. nobody else saw the pheasants, otherwise they would've probably scaled the fence to try and capture them for dinner.

back at home i cracked open the clay pellet. i was afraid i'd need a hammer, but a slight drop onto my kitchen floor (inside the bag of course) was all that was required to crack the clay shell. inside was a bundle wrapped in brown paper. inside the paper, another bundle wrapped in leaves. finally, inside the leaves, was a whole chicken. i saw the claws (with the freakishly long nails) and worried i might find more. sure enough, turning the chicken over, i saw the head. the meat on the chicken was very tender and juicy, still slightly warm, evenly cooked, very salty, with a slight smoked flavor. overall delicious.

around lunchtime i was mr.popular, going from table to table letting people try my korean kimchi. there was zengfei and her table of warehouse folks, then the contract department (they gave me a duck tongue), then all the girls from document control, followed by the procurement department, and finally several tables of korean managers. i noticed the koreans already have several different varieties of kimchi on their table. they said my kimchi was good, but maybe they're being kind, because koreans are the foremost connoisseurs of kimchi, and even mr.lee told me that the best kimchi is aged 5-10 years. by the time i got back to my own table, i only had a little bit left of kimchi in the jar.

it's finally friday, which for me is the start of the weekend even though i still have to work on saturday. i bought a ruipe-brand black shirt, one size larger than the one i currently have (so a size L). i figured if it's the wrong size it won't be a big deal since i'm only paying RMB$39 for it. i'm using this weird kind of payment where lihui actually pays for me with his credit card while i pay him in cash.

i caught the medium bus which for some reason left at 6:00 today instead of waiting until 6:10. we made it back in town by 6:17, which is pretty crazy, even beating the korean bus, which normally leaves a few minutes shy of 6:00. i came home and changed into my running outfit and headed to the track field. from a distance i saw mahui walking with this guy i've seen her hanging out with but who's not her husband. i sped up and caught up them, surprising mahui in the process. she invited me to have dinner with them but i declined.

after some stretching i started running, counting off the loops in my head. since it was raining a little bit earlier in the day, there wasn't that many people in the stadium. i was actually a little worried that the place might be closed. i did my 10 loops for 4000m then took off my shirt for a topless walk around the track before going home.

i didn't want to eat rice porridge again so i ended up making some ramen for dinner. afterwards i took one last look at my taxes, and added some utility bills, property tax, and homeowner insurance to my home office deduction to shave off the final amount i'd pay the IRS by a few hundred dollars. i e-filed my federal taxes (a payment) but have to wait on my state tax because i need the routing numbers for my bank back at home.

my sister wrote me this morning to let me know our father had killed my pet fish. it happened because he accidentally overfed it and the fish ate itself to death. that glowlight tetra lived a long time too, about 7 years old. but it was a mean fish, outliving all the other fish because it always got to the food first. i had an eerie feeling of deja vu though; it seems like every time i go to china, a family pet dies.

zengfei sat next to me on the bus this morning. unlike on the rare occasions when i sit next to xianglian, zengfei and i chatted the entire road, everything from running at the gym to the weird sticker patch chinese ladies put on their hair to kept their bangs from getting into their eyes.

i brought my leftover sweet babao rice porridge for breakfast, along with a banana. i wanted to bring my korean kimchi as well but i was already carrying too many things. also as a side note, all this week i've stopped wearing my jacket to work, it's gotten warm enough that jackets are no longer necessary.

i instant messaged xianglian briefly in the morning, before she left for home at 11:10. she was laundering all her linens and getting ready for breakfast.

i wore my new shirt today, the one i bought online in a size medium after receiving size small and realizing it was too small. but the thing is size medium felt a bit too small as well! there is no consistency when it comes to shirt sizes, and it's hard to buy online because i can't try them on for size like i can in the store. the fabric on this shirt is good but it's missing a breast pocket which is important for holding things like straws or pens. i think i'm going to order a size large in black from tmall (where it's super cheap) and seeing how it fits.

after lunch yangfan came to WWY's desk to hang out. they were researching facial cleansers online, with WWY raving about a small tube of boot's cucumber-scented whitening facial cleanser that she recently got in thailand. i got a chance to chat with yangfan a little bit. she and WWY graduated university together, just last june. that means she's just 22 years old. she's a genuine changshou native, unlike WWY who comes from honghu on the outskirts of changshou.

in the afternoon i saw LXL rummaging in the pantry fridge. i thought maybe she was trying to cool off, but she was actually hungry and just looking for food. i told her i had some snacks and asked her to wait at her desk and i'd bring them over: a pineapple cake and some sweet pork jerky. later she returned the favor when she finally found what she was looking for in the fridge: some spicy wuhan beancurds that mahui gave her from a while back. these were very tasty and i finished the last square.

i told mr.lee i'd bring my homemade kimchi for him to try tomorrow. koreans do not joke about their kimchi. "there are hundreds of different kinds of kimchi," he told me. the best kind? aged kimchi, at least 5 years old, typically 10 years. he brought some back from korea and he said he can just eat it with rice, it's so flavorful. i'm curious to try some aged kimchi! must have the consistency of fermented tofu or something.

when i got back home, i went to the small supermarket to pick up a few things (more babao rice mix, some pineapple cakes) before going to the duck dispensary on the other side of chongbai mall to buy some spicy tofu and duck clavicles.

i made rice porridge for dinner, as well as pan-frying some leftover chinese raviolis. i also did a load of laundry. since it's getting warmer, i haven't used the warm setting on my AC for days now. the result is it's actually a bit soggy in my room now so clothes take a few days to dry. i'll leave the window open when i go to work, maybe that'll help. it was weird not having XL text me in the evening. i wonder if she's jonesing to see what i'm up to or maybe she could care less.