it was raining torrentially this morning, the loud sizzle of a heavy shower. all the more reason to quickly hop onboard the bus. i was using my temporary umbrella, hard to open, but much bigger than my old umbrella. i saw tiny frogs hopping along the garden pathways leading out of my apartment.

i found an empty set of seats near the front of the bus and sat looking out the window, trying to block out as much as i could. even though i wasn't looking, i could still hear voices of the people getting on. one voice in particular, i heard her coming onboard and walking to the back of the bus. a few seconds later someone sat down heavily next to me. "long time no see," xianglian said. i grunted something in agreement and winced as suddenly i was feeling both sad and happy at the same time. "i got your postcard yesterday," she told me. i told her i knew, but i didn't read her message until late because i was in a meeting. "are you pretty busy these days?" she asked. "not particularly," i replied, at a lost for words. i asked her if she was wearing a new shirt. "not new, but i haven't worn it in a while," she said. i asked if blue and green were her favorite colors. she smiled, thought about it, then said she liked all colors. "i've never seen you wear purple," i said, "or red." she said she has a red winter jacket but left it at home. i wasn't planning on telling her but decided to anyway: "they asked me to stay an extra month, until the end of july." she said this was normal, and that most people would stay until at least july, contrary to what the schedule plan says. "you love maocai too much!" she said, "gives you more time to eat maocai!" i told her i don't eat maocai anymore, i'm not sure if she understood my meaning. i told her in lieu of another weeklong vacation (which i'd be elligible for in july), i wanted to see if i could get saturdays off as well. "you can try," she said. i asked what she'd do if she was the boss. "i wouldn't give you saturdays off!" i said she'd be a mean boss; she said it wouldn't be fair if people had different schedules. "did you sleep in your living room again?" i asked, knowing that she doesn't like the sound of rain in her bedroom. after that i didn't have too much else to say. she closed her eyes and looked like she was sleeping. i sat in silence, pursing my lips, an emotional wreck. i wanted to say more but the morning bus wasn't the place to do it. nor would i anyway, up against a lost cause. welcome to wednesday.

i didn't do any work today. i amaze myself sometimes, how i can stare at the same document for the entire day and only manage to write a single e-mail to procurement asking for the back charge status on a particular job. are we going to get everything finished by the end of june? impossible.

i had a weird qq text conversation with xianglian in the late afternoon. she seemed distressed, said that she heard from mahui that i was being demobilized at the end of june. that was the original plan, as of the end of last week. but like i told her on the bus this morning, the company wants me to stay another month, until the end of july. i asked when she was leaving the company, and she said she didn't know yet, either end of june as scheduled or extended. either way, by law they have to let her know a month in advance. we then somehow started talking about grammar, and she said she wanted to improve her english. i said her english was already good enough, but she said she'll never be happy with it, just like her weight. i said she was skinny, and asked her who thought otherwise. "my heart, my mind," she replied. i told her to think with her stomach instead. i then asked her if she wanted to be demobilized early or later. she said she preferred later because she said she didn't like change. she said she was worried about finding a new job if they do decide to let her go in june. i told her i was worried for her as well, but then she told me to calm down and that i get worried too easily. i apologized and didn't write anything after that.

lihui invited me to dinner after work, but i told him i had plans in the guzhen, although i didn't specify exactly what i was doing. i got the medium bus driver to drop me off as close to guzhen as possible then walked the rest of the way, about 20 minutes. i was at the ancient town to meet sunmeng for dinner. we went to the mei family restaurant, which was fairly busy despite all the other nearby restaurants being empty. it's quite famous locally, after being highlighted in a television spot. we had the spicy pig intestines along with some cucumbers. we waited a long time for our food and sunmeng stormed off on more than one occasion to complain to the waitress. the food was good but i definitely could've had more. because sunmeng was treating, i didn't pig out like i normally do; i might return to this restaurant at another date and try out a few other dishes.

we were going to go to a bar afterwards, but the quietest one we could find (one that didn't have blaring audience-participation karaoke) had a cover charge of RMB$100 despite being completely empty. so we decided to simply wander the ancient town, before then walking back to the new city so sunmeng could catch one of the many buses heading into the old city.