i had no problems transitioning to my regular morning routine now that my parents weren't here. i slept late - around 12:30 - and woke up intermittently to check the progress of a large backup copy job of my weblog (transferring from my netbook to my macbook pro). i missed my father trying to skype me sometime after midnight, and when i pinged him back there was no answer. my mother left an audio wechat message which was basically a repeat of what my father had told me on the phone, that they'd finally arrived in shanghai after a 2+ hour flight delay in chongqing. their voices were surprisingly calm, given the unexpected turn of bad fortune beginning yesterday morning. maybe the fact that they were hours from returning home made them feel at ease.

it was raining this morning. i heard the sizzle of rainfall and felt the moisture when i left the apartment to ride the elevator. this is much needed rain, as evidenced by the low waterline along the banks of the yangtze river when i took my parents to chongqing. i heard steady rain won't come until april, but when it arrives, it could last for weeks, remnants of subcontinental monsoons. weatherwise, my parents were very lucky to arrive during a period of chinese drought. the only time we experienced rain was in our final few days in sichuan, during our leshan/emeishan sojourn. and the fact that we were lucky enough to see an ice and snow covered mountain (at the expense of any other scenic mountain vista) made us forget that it was actually raining at lower elevations.

i spent most of the morning checking the flight time, making sure delta DL 1006 from shanghai to JFK new york was leaving on schedule. i can only assume that my parents are onboard, since i never heard from them again after the brief messages last night. i was also checking the flight time of their original chongqing-shanghai flight. despite the rain in chongqing, it managed to arrive in shanghai exactly on schedule (which seems to be the exception rather than the norm). maybe they could've taken that flight after all, although it'd be cutting it extremely close. in hindsight, i still think it's the safer option to leave for shanghai a bit early to give them more time.

i dropped off the chuanbei in pansusu's office. when he saw the pill bottle stuffed with chuanbei grains, atr first he thought they were prescription sleeping pills (he'd asked for some from my parents the last time we met). "your father must want to kill me!" but then he realized what they were. he was talking with the head electric engineer at the time so i didn't stick around to chat. i also gave him some shizhu information, my father told me he wants to go visit this weekend after hearing so many good things about the place from my parents.

i bumped into zhuyan after lunch. she said she saw me yesterday, waiting outside my apartment with my parents. she was sitting in a car across the street, waiting for somebody else. actually she didn't see me at first, but 2 of the drivers she was with spotted me. she asked how come i was shorter than my father. she also said my father was very dark and asked if he was actually chinese.

my father left behind the withing pulse activity tracker for me to use. i felt bad clearing out his old data, especially all the tens of thousands of pace miles he logged from our week in chengdu and chongqing. it was only later did i realize i could've kept his numbers, i only needed to create another family member within his account. the design - from the device itself to the app interface that it connects to via bluetooth - is super slick, like some gadget from the future. while the dongle itself is kind of fun to play with - with it's matte electroluminescent displays - the app adds another dimension to activity tracking, with big numbers and graphs, suddenly quantifying everyday activities into numbers. i like the hourly pace tracking graph the most, i can see when during the day when i'm the most active. sitting in the office 6 days a week i probably won't get much use out of it, but it'd be fun to know how many miles of walking i can log on a typical sunday.

my blood pressure monitor (RMB$59) finally arrived today. the courier - whom i'm now very familiar with from receiving so many packages recently even though he can never remember my name - seemed miserable because of the cold steady rain. on a day like today, i'm glad i don't have to be outside.

today was a busy day, which meant it went by pretty fast. with my korean boss not back until next monday, i've suddenly become the go-to person for new claims request.

mrs.gu came to me in the late afternoon and casually said that my new coworker ms.fu had left the company. "what?!" i said in disbelief. i knew ellen seemed unhappy working here. i thought it probably had something to do with the fact that she had to leave her 2 year old daughter behind in shanghai. also i'd been busy taking care of my parents i wasn't able to give her any proper attention. she wasn't here at work today but i figured maybe she was just sick, or maybe savvy enough to take a day off while the boss was away. had she been here, i was going to invite her out to dinner, to sort of welcome her to the department, even though it's already been 3 weeks. but mrs.gu said she had other reasons to go back. for one thing, she was pregnant again, and was returning home to get an abortion. ouch.

it was still raining after work. i sat next to xiangmin on the bus. once we arrived in town, i went to the supermarket to pick up some end-of-the-day sushi and some oranges. back in the apartment i tried out the blood pressure monitor. the numbers came out dangerously high (160/110), so i'm going to double check with the office nurse tomorrow. i ate the sushi while watching an episode of almost human. i briefly texted xianglian in chongqing, who was in pain after getting one of her wisdom teeth taken out. afterwards i spent the rest of the night transferring photos from one laptop to another.