this is my second last day of work of the year - the chinese lunar calendar year that is.

i went to bed last night at 11:30, the earliest i've gone to bed in weeks it seems. i wasn't tired when i woke up, but stayed in bed for a few moments to let the AC kick in some warm air into the room. i was in the bathroom for 20 minutes but i had time to spare. when i finally got out it was 7:07. i got dressed and had enough time to fry an egg while heating some water for tea. this morning's brew: chamomile. i never wash my non-stick frying pan since i hardly use any oil when i fry my egg. what little oil that is left on the pan, i sop it up with a dry paper towel. i'm tempted to bring this pan back home with me when i leave, package it up in a box and ship it to the US. it's a good pan, i could see it in my repertoire of cooking utensils.

a lot of coworkers had large backpacks and suitcases at the bus stop. when the bus arrived, it was practically empty, less than a dozen occupied seats. i'm sure the bus home will be even more empty. mrs.gu sat in one of the front seats, told everyone to put on their seatbelts since the traffic police were cracking down on people not wearing them with random inspections. i told the guy next to me that we can just put them on when and if we do get stopped, which seems unlikely so early in the morning.

i video skyped with my parents from the office this morning, or actually outside of the office. i was able to do this because i could still get a pretty strong wifi signal, and i used my new smartphone. i saw them just fine but they saw me with some stream delays because the upload internet speed isn't very good here. they'd bought their plane tickets from shanghai to chongqing and wanted to confirm it since the airline sent a text message to my phone.

since i had nothing to do today, i decided to spend my 10 hours secretly working on my blog, retroactively filling in the content, while the memories are still relatively fresh in my head. and there's a lot of content to fill, going back as far as taiwan in july. and that's just the text! there's hundreds of photos i still need to process too. the backlog of work is just too much. at some point i may just surrender and let the sands of time bury those postings.

immediately after lunch i watched as about 2 dozen employees filed out with stuffed backpacks and suitcases, awaiting a medium shuttle bus that'd take them to the chongqing airport. i was tempted to go with them, just to get out of the office since i didn't have any work to do today. during the break, i watched the first half of "12 years a slave." that's a hard movie to stomach, but an important one to see. after the break, the landscape of the office had changed. virtually all the chinese workers were gone, all that was left were the korean and filipino workers. maybe i really should've taken off to the airport after all! and with so many people missing, it was even quieter in the office.

at 3:00 something happened. my frenemy guo was leaving for the new year, which in of itself doesn't mean anything to me. except he patted me on the back and said good bye as he left. i murmured some farewell, nothing special. but following right behind him was xianglian! she was getting a ride back into town with guo. she wasn't even going to say good bye, and only waved back because i saw her. i felt a little betrayed. i went to investigate what was going on, and when i asked her if she was leaving work early, she smiled but didn't say anything. i also noticed she'd applied lip gloss - the very same one i gave her! i told her i wanted to go home too but she didn't say anything. afterwards mrs.gu came by my desk (she as organizing the transport) and told me i could've gotten a ride too because there was plenty of room in the car. i was filled with a lot of emotions, all of them bad. why are china people so lacking in compassion and empathy? i thought i learned my lesson but everyone i befriend here eventually turn out to be complete assholes. why are people here nice to me one moment, but then totally abandon me the next? this also couldn't have happened at a worst time, because i was starting to feel left out from seeing all these people going home to be with their families, and here i am about to spend the holiday all by myself, and none of my relatives in shenyang or taipei have gotten in touch with me, not even to say hello.

then i chatted with sunmeng briefly. i didn't tell her about my problems, but she managed to cheer me up a little bit, not by anything she said to me directly, but by what was happening in her own life. her father had to go to the hospital yesterday for his liver condition, on the same day that her paternal great grandmother passed away as well. suddenly my office slight seemed sort of insignificant compared to what she was going through.

still, when i left work, i was in depressed mood, staring out the window in a daze. there was just a dozen people on the bus back into town. when we got back, i went to the small supermarket looking for some twine to string up my smoked meats. the only thing they had were plastic lines for RMB$6.5 a coil. i decided to look elsewhere, but not before i found a window thermometer that had both celsius and fahrenheit scales (RMB$17.5). bonus! i ended up going to the chongbai supermarket, where i realized i didn't need twine after all, since i had a hook in my house and i could just string up the meats that way. before i left though, i bought some chinese new year decorations. not for my own apartment, but for my parents to take back home to the US for next year.

i ran into some filipino coworkers on my way home. they were trying to take a photo with the lantern display but they only had a cell phone camera, but i told them i had a regular compact camera and helped them get a few snapshots. i also saw some sort of sales event involving a monkey riding a miniature bicycle.

i just couldn't leave it alone, so i called xianglian to say a proper good bye before she left for the chinese new year. i wish i was more articulate with my chinese like i am with my english. i ended up telling her about the bicycling monkey and she said it was animal abuse and i agreed and we both said happy new year and that was that. i'm even more confused now.

i always carry a hook with me in my backpack, since i never know when i have to go use the bathroom and need to hang my bag from the door. this hook came in handy tonight as i was able to hang up my meats in the kitchen. the only down side is now my apartment is beginning to smell like smoked pork. i made an egg-yak sandwich for dinner, and two bowls of fermented glutinous rice with tangyuan.

my train to chongqing leaves at 10:20 tomorrow morning. i plan on waking up at 7:00 to clean up the house a bit and get ready.