i finally got around to patching up all those exposed nail heads from the shoddy insulation installation back in may. i finally found the matching stain color back in july from that ace hardware store in malden (that time i took my father to the 88 supermarket). seems like nobody sells small pint cans of cabot stains, but the hardware store was able to match it using benjamin moore arborcoat stain. when i opened the can i was a little worried because the color (slate gray) looked too gray with no hint of blue (my house is blue). but when i started painting over the nails using a foam brush, the color was an exact match. i was also worried about fading of the preexisting stain (house was painted back in 2009) but apparently it didn't fade all that much since the new stain matched almost seamlessly.

the nails pretty much disappeared. i started in the back of the house, then the front, followed by the side (our alleyway). when i went behind the house to see my work, i couldn't find the nails anyway, that's how hidden they were. a few times i even accidentally rested my arm on a wet nail. besides the nails, i also patched any bare spots in the shingles, as well as any places where they used a silicone caulk. they told me the silicone wasn't paintable, but i managed to stain it just fine. finally i went to renee's alleyway to patch the side of the house facing her place including a few bare replacement shingles. her downstairs neighbors were making brunch (i could smell the bacon). later i heard them talking and listening to NPR. is this what white people do on weekends?

not sure how long i worked, anywhere from one hour to maybe two hours. i patched everywhere, the only places left are a few spots about the windows (i need a much taller ladder to reach those) and some algae-covered shingles that need to be washed first before staining.

i left around 2p, first going to the cafe to help my father lift a pair of old CRT televisions into the car. my sister has permission from a former employer in lexington to drop the televisions outside her curb, where apparently they do free pickups of CRT sets (here in cambridge it's a $25 sticker for any old television bigger than 21").

soon after arriving in belmont i got a text from ana saying she was back at the house organizing her things. i was tempted to go back home so i could finally meet her in person. she also told me that once again, she wouldn't be sleeping at my place tonight, and by the time i'd get home she'd be gone, so we won't meet until tomorrow. what is her deal? does she have a boyfriend she spends her time with? and maybe my place is her cover from nosy parents footing her bill? this wouldn't be the first time that i had a roommate who never stayed here (remember mike from 2003?). it's kind of the holy grail of roommate situation. maybe this might be another case.

after dinner i raced home to watch the finale of show me a hero. i had to take a detour on mass avenue because they're surfacing the road. this is probably the worst time to do something like that because students are still moving in. it's already stressful enough, now add some night paving to the mix!

when i came home from china last year, it was already too late to see the annual caribbean parades in boston and cambridge. and then this year i didn't go to the annual coney island mermaid parade. my diet of attending costumed spectacles featuring scantily-clad women was sorely deficient. i did go to the pride march and puerto rican parade, but they were lackluster in terms of pageantry. so i was looking forward to this year's caribbean parade in boston, which i haven't attended since august 2012.

ana was scheduled to move in today, after she postponed her move yesterday because she was too busy. she'd arrive around 1:30p, so i left a key for her to find so she could let herself into the house.

since it was a nice sunny day, i decided to take the motorcycle. my route would be to go down memorial drive, cross over the BU bridge, then ride down the riverway along jamaica plain to roxbury. i left around 12:10p, which i thought was a bit late, but it'd take me at least 30 minutes to get there, and the parade began at 1pm. fortunately the caribbean parade almost never start on time, so i wasn't too worried. the only hiccup was this was the weekend when all the college students move back to town, and getting across the boston university area took a while, with all visiting drivers flooding the roads, not used to boston driving.

i got to malcolm x park by 12:40p, parked on washington street, my usual stop across from senado market. all the different floats were already setting up along martin luther king boulevard. since i just arrived, it takes a little while for me to get into photography mode, so i didn't take any photos, just walked through the crowd of feathers to get to the intersection of MLK boulevard and warren avenue, my usual shooting spot.

i leaned up against a cement light post, the thin shadow giving me some shade. this was the start of the parade, where all the politicians line up to kick things off. i saw mayor walsh, as well as police commissioner william b. evans. the parade started 1:15p, at least the politician portion of it. they were already well ahead and over the first hill of warren avenue while the main carnival procession was still on MLK boulevard. but soon the procession slowly rolled down the street. i'm normally a lazy stationary photographer, but decided to move around to get better shots. i ended up walking everywhere, from the top of warren avenue, back down to MLK boulevard, and up and down warren avenue once more, chasing photo opps.

* "i saw you at the parade" little white girl playing with 2 black friends. said i was standing next to an asian guy who looked like me but wasn't wearing glasses. when i asked her what i was doing, she said i was just leaning against a light post. "did you see all those flabby butts?" she asked me conspiratorially. "i saw some flabby butts," i answered discreetly. "did you see those boobs?" she asked. "yes, i saw some," i replied, and quickly made a hasty retreat. i was not having this conversation with some 5 year old girl.

* ana not home but moved in already because she brought a package inside. later at 6p sent me a text saying she wasn't sleeping over tonight and would be back tomorrow.

* oneplus one auto-updated to android 5.1

i was still eating cereal at home when my father stopped by this morning to pick up a usb-to-usb cable on his way to costco for supplies. afterwards i made my way to belmont and proceded to sand from 10a to 1p, detailing the middle front of the house. i was up on the ladder and using just the orbital sander with the dust bag. every 15-20 minutes or so i'd climb down to empty the bag. it wasn't that bad, with my talk radio on my mp3 player and when the battery ran out, google streaming interest radio, rhinestone cowboy channel.

i think we're very close to finishing with the prep work, definitely by next month we'll be painting and that'll go quick. yesterday i looked up how to replace broken shingles. there's still some caulking work, and the awning has to be taken down as well. my 2nd aunt is away on her california vacation for a month, so my father doesn't have a lot of time. if we need to, painting can be postponed to october, but i think i can manage a lot of it on my own. the shingle repair will require an overcast day, so the roof won't feel like fire.

my mother came home while i finished up by 1:30p. she fixed me some rice noodles for lunch and i left by 2:15p, trying to get home before ana arrives at 3p. when i got back ana sent me some text, asking if she could move it tomorrow, because today was too crazy for her. i said sure, although i won't be here when she shows up tomorrow afternoon, going instead to the carnival parade in boston.

that meant i had another free day of single living. i did a load of laundry and proceded to fall asleep on the couch from 5p to 7p. i woke up to watch the patriots preseason game against the carolina panthers while i ate two hot dogs for dinner.

it's starting again. i experienced it monday morning, the intense itching of the throat, and i knew right away that it was ragweed season. it doesn't help that i sleep with my bedroom window open, nor that i work outside. it comes and goes, but now i'm getting additional symptoms, like violent sneezing, itchy eyes, and running nose. i also have a overall sensation of feeling tired. i have to get some drugs for this!

the big project this morning in belmont wasn't sanding but rather helping my father move the tall filing cabinet from the hallway outside my old bedroom to the basement. the cabinet belongs to my sister and contains a bunch of her documents. why it sat in the hallway for years is a mystery, but it was finally time to relocate that behemoth to the cellar. i tried to removed the drawers yesterday but was unsuccessful. my father managed to remove them this morning. but even without the 4 drawers, the metal cabinet was still heavy. instead of moving it directly down the stairs, we had to move it outside first, put it on a handtruck, and then move it into the basement through the basement entrance.

i didn't start sanding until 11a, detailing the shingles to the right of the front door, using just the orbital sander, with and without the shop vac attached, depending on how high i was sanding on the step ladder.

i did take a break to go up on the roof to check the water-damaged shingles. i used to go up on the roof all the time for fun, but nowadays i find it very scary. i think one realize is the soles of my shoes not have very good grip, so i always feel like i could slip and fall off the roof at any moment. i came up by a ladder from the back of the house. i wore gloves at the time but threw them down below (which i'd later regret). a few of the shingles on along the sun room above the roof of the garage are crumbling and could use a replacement. in order to avoid slipping, i crawled around on the roof on my hands and knees. that quickly became a problem as the asphalt roof shingles were burning hot from the sun. that also meant i couldn't crawl back down the ladder without potentially scalding my hands.

fortunately there was another ladder on the other side of the house, leaning up against the garage. that side is in the shadows, so the roof shingles aren't as hot. that ladder was shaky, but slowly i managed to get my footing and climb down. i narrowly avoided getting stuck on the roof! if i ever got back onto the roof to work, i'm going barefoot and on an overcast day. those shoes are just too slippery.

i stopped working and finished cleaning up by 1p. after my mother came home, i went to home depot to return my old toilet seat and pick up the new one i ordered online. the cashier told me that normally they don't allow returns on toilet seats if they're out of the box for obvious health reasons, but said he'd allow it in this case (i never took the seat out of the bag). i then went to pick up the new seat, and got to choose a piece of free chocolate candy on some special promotional campaign for using their ship-to-store service. i got the kit kat, which began to melt the instant i went outside.

i went to target to get 2 new pillows for my new roommate. the ones that were currently on the bed are old and lumpy. unfortunately with back-to-school shopping currently going on, most of the good pillows were already taken. i ended up just grabbing a pair of cheap soft pillows, which might be too soft.

my mother made me some duck broth rice noodles when i got back. i wasn't sure if ana would be moving in today, but i had the feeling she'd move in on friday, after her english classes were finished for the week. nevertheless, even if she wasn't moving in today, i still wanted to get home and enjoy one last day of single living. so with the pillows and toilet seat strapped to the back of my motorcycle, i left for cambridge. i returned a few minutes later because i forgot my iphone.

back at home, i biked to market basket to stock up on schweppe's pomegranate seltzer. it's my favorite carbonated beverage because it has a similar taste to taiwanese apple sidra but without any of the sugar. the weird thing is i went to the company website and i don't see any mention of the pomegranate flavor, which makes me think they might be phasing it out. maybe that's why there's that unadvertised sale! in any case, i bought 4 cases ($2 each) and a bag of pluots.

joel from the community garden called me this afternoon. i only picked up because i didn't recognize the number but saw it was from cambridge and thought it might be important. joel called to ask me if i could help water his garden the first 2 weeks of september while he's away on vacation. "i'll water it when i visit the garden," i told him, but i think that wasn't the answer he wanted, because i'm guessing he'd prefer i'd go and water it every day. "i planted some seeds," he said, a subtle way of saying i should go water more often. i almost told him to go find someone else. the only way i know that will make him never ask me to take care of his garden ever again is to let all his vegetables die.

i installed the new toilet seat. not sure what to do with the old toilet seat, maybe put it back in the basement as a spare. it's not like i could give somebody a used toilet seat, it's simply unsanitary. i may end up just tossing it out, which was my original plan.

ana finally called me, said she was thinking of moving in tomorrow at 3p. as much as it makes me anxious to have a new roommate for the next 3 months, i also look forward to chatting with her, hear her thought on america.

for dinner i made some white cheddar shells with spinach. later, i took a 10mg of loratadine AKA claritin, to help keep my allergy in check. it's actually my aunt's prescription, but for some reason i have it because my parents brought it to me when i was in china while i was suffering through a mild bout of chinese hayfever. anyway, loratadine seems to be pretty powerful, doesn't cause drowsiness, and only need a single dose a day.

i haven't been sanding since last thursday. i found my father outside the house when i arrived in belmont. i ate a banana for breakfast before starting work at 10a. my father was up on the roof of the garage caulking some shingles. i have an irrational fear of shaky ladders and couldn't get myself onto the roof. instead, i set up some tarps and sanded the lower half of the front of the house, which still needs some detail work. i was using 80 grit paper on the belt sander, then switched to the orbital sander. my father left around 10:30a, i worked until 1p.

after a shower, i decided to ride out to the nearest mcdonald's in watertown (california street) to get myself a mclobster sandwich. when i finally got there, they told me they stopped selling it last week, so i missed my chance. unwilling to go home empty-handed, i got 2 cheese burgers and 2 fries ($4).

when my mother came home, she fixed me a bowl of cold noodles. then for dinner, we had some duck broth rice noodles before i finally went home.

i emptied more of the guest bedroom closet, made some space in the kitchen cabinets, then empties all the old jars of kombucha in the refrigerator. one of the jars turned out to be a bottle of cooking oil instead and i found out too late before i poured it all down the drain. i may need to a preemptive declog on the kitchen sink drain one of these days.

ana still hasn't contacted me about moving in, and i wasn't in any hurry to ask her when she was coming. she told me over the weekend that it'll either be thursday or friday.

i could've gone sanding today, since laura wasn't leaving until 5p for an 8:45p flight. but i associate sanding as morning work, and since i slept in late this morning, by the time i got up i wasn't in the mood for manual labor anyway. besides, there was a threat of possible strong thunderstorms, and even though it's mostly western massachusetts and northern new england, that was enough for me to rationalize my way out of sanding for the rest of the day.

laura was busy, spent the early morning packing, then went out in the late morning for some last minute souvenir shopping on mass ave, including wardmaps (her boyfriend hugo apparently loves maps) and paper source (scrapbooking is one of laura's hobbies). she came back briefly and gave me some gifts: a porter square station magnet and a bottle of spanish white wine. then she went out again to meet up with her friend ana for lunch. earlier she said she wanted some pancakes, and i told her about IHOP in harvard square, the quintessential american pancake chain.

while laura was gone, i went to market basket to do some light grocery shopping (package of hot dogs, a carton of pomegranate seltzer, gallon of milk, potato salad). i put away the bike i prepared for laura but she never rode, as well as my own bike (in anticipation of evening rain showers). i also went to the community garden to harvest some zucchinis, tomatoes, and zinnias. i didn't bother watering, so sure was i that it'd rain later today.

laura came back home around 4:30p. she told me they went to IHOP based on my recommendation, and that she had a classic american breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, the perfect last meal before she returns to spain. she returned my umbrella, her charliecard, and her keys, and then she left.

a tremendous relief washed over me afterwards. i savored my time living alone, since in another day or two, laura's friend ana will move in. laura didn't leave much behind since she only stayed a little bit over a week: a container of humus, a jar of orange juice, a bag of bread, some plastic sandwich bags. she did have some chocolate chip cookies but she said she was taking those with her.

i did a load of laundry, including all the sheets from the guest bedroom. roommates leave their own special odor and i lit a scented candle to try and disperse the smell. later i washed the small entrance way carpet, which to my recollection has never been washed before. after shaking it outside (a lot of sand came out), i started washing it in the bath tub. the water was black, even after 3 rinses. finally i decided to roll up the carpet and throw it into the washing machine, drying it manually in the kitchen.

for dinner i ate two hot dogs. nothing fancy, the only reason was because there was a sale on frankfurters this week. i ate while watching a PBS documentary about american pies. i've made a few pies in my days: pumpkin pie (2005), spinach ricotta cheese pie/quiche (2010), and chicken pot pie (2015). i've only used readymade crusts, maybe one day i might want to try making my own crust, up my pie game. i prefer savory pies though, i'm not much of a sweet pie eater, although i do enjoy custard pies and pecan pies around thanksgiving.




it's been a while since i've had the pleasure of being a boston tour guide. laura and i agreed on 10:30a as the time we'd leave, but by 10a we were both ready so we decided to get a head start. here are the list of sights: sacramento community garden, havard university campus, copley square, trinity church, hancock tower,

boston public library (including map museum and courtyard), boston marathon finish line, back bay down commonwealth avenue,

boston public garden, boston common, state house (went inside, saw both representative and senate chambers as well as charlie baker hosting a luncheon),

beacon hill, chinatown, dim-sum for lunch, granary burying ground, omni parker house, king's chapel (interior and cemetery), old city hall (benjamin franklin statue), old state house, city hall, samuel adams statue, faneuil hall, rose kennedy greenway, north end, paul revere statue, old north church, spite house, copp's hill burying ground, north washington street bridge, route 93 overpass overlooking zakim bridge, boston garden, downtown crossing.

in all we walked 9.48 miles (according to the google fit app anyway). by the end my left ankle was a little bit sore. the weather was overcast throughout, threatening rain that never fell until the very end of the tour in downtown crossing, when a light drizzle materialized (could've just been fog). temperature fluctuated as well, with laura repeatedly putting on her sweater only to take it off later. much of old boston resembles europe, which kept reminding laura of things she sees back at home, whether it's architecture or the design of narrow cobblestone streets.

i left downtown crossing around 4:20p, while laura stayed behind to look for jeans at macy's. after a shower back at home, i biked to belmont for dinner before returning to cambridge by 7p. laura was home, but was on her way out to meet her friend ana for dinner. by the time i went to bed at 1:30a, laura still wasn't home yet.

while laura was on her way to visit salem with ana and another friend with a car, i was biking to rite aid to buy a 12-pak of enemas for my grand uncle. it was embarrassing enough as it is, but i couldn't find them anywhere and finally had to ask a sales clerk. "do you know where i can find these enema things? i don't even know what they look like," i said, which was a lie, because i knew exactly what they looked like.

in no great hurry to get to belmont, i spent the early afternoon recharging my laptop before i took off, stopping by the cafe to drop off the enemas. there was a light drizzle, but nothing to be worried about. hailey was home; when i let her out into the backyard, she didn't want to walk on the grass because it was wet.

after dinner i biked back to cambridge. on garfield street somebody throw out a perfectly good baker's rack with peeling paint. i was tempted to come back and get it but i don't need anymore clutter in my place. i'm at a stage in life where i want less things, not more.

the highlight of the day was watching episodes 3 and 4 of show me a hero on HBO. it's a tough show to watch, and without spoiling it for myself through wikipedia, i already get the feeling that things will not end well. i view it more as a documentary (since it's based on a true story), and get a chance to learn something, even if the outcome isn't particularly happy.

laura finally came home around 11p. besides salem, they also returned to boston to visit the harpoon brewery they didn't get a chance to see yesterday. for lunch she had ribs in the north shore, for dinner sushi by symphony place. her plan tomorrow (her last full day) was to find a free tour of boston; i told her i'd personally take her out and show her around, as i am a seasoned unprofessional tour guide.

i'm watching the shanghai exchange drop down 10% this evening (morning in china). a tsunami of market collapse is sweeping the globe. there's going to be a lot of unhappy investors come tomorrow morning.

i slept until around 10:00 this morning, a clear victory for sleep. with my window slightly ajar, it was just the perfect combination of cool morning air mixed with a very comfortable bed. i was tempted to just stay in, but decided i needed to get up so my roommate wouldn't think i was hopelessly lazy. i went to bed at 2:00 last night and laura still wasn't back yet. i didn't think any bad happened to her, but was still relieved when i saw that her bedroom door was closed this morning, which meant she finally did make it home last night.

when laura eventually woke up, she told me her friend ana would be coming over today to see the place. laura told me she was going to make some breakfast, but i know for a fact that all she has for groceries is a loaf of bread, some chocolate chip cookies, and a container of orange juice. i asked her if she's ever tried apple chicken sausages before and proceded to make my typical chicken sausage oatmeal breakfast meal for her to try.

we got to talking about cooking, after laura remarked how many cooking equipment i have in the kitchen. she likes to cook herself, and back in barcelona she participates in special cooking classes where you cook and speak in the cuisine of a particular language (e.g. speaking in english, cooking american-british-indian food).

ana finally arrived in the early afternoon. just the fact that she's in the US studying english makes me think that she's kind of a party girl, because for most of those international students, english is just a small part of their daily schedule, while partying and shopping plays a bigger role. i can't quite figure out her celebrity doppleganger, with her shock of curly brown hair, i'll have to work on that some more. her english was fine, even better than laura's, but she said she still needs to work on her prepositions ("prepositions are not important," i told her).

ana really liked the place, but it was all for show, since she really didn't have many other options. she seemed to think the guest bedroom was a good size, even though it's the second smallest room in the house after the bathroom. she was also impressed by the in-unit washer/dryer and the large backyard deck. she seems like a nice person though, asking about household choirs ("i take care of all that," i told her) and whether or not i have any special rules ("none," i told her, "i'm pretty easy."). she will move in not the wednesday after laura leaves tuesday afternoon, but maybe thursday or friday. she also has a storage space full of her furniture which she will sell within the next 3 months.

i found out ana's never lived in somerville, but rather the brookside condo complex in arlington. back in may there was a large fire that damaged many units and even killed somebody. turns out that was her place. the fire started at 4:00 in the morning, but she was at a party (of course) and didn't come home until 5:00, where she saw her neighbors outside in their pajamas. her own apartment didn't get burned, but it did suffer so smoke damage, so she moved to her brother's place in arlington heights for the next 2 months, before returning to her previous place after they repaired the damages. however, the landlord now wants to sell, so when her lease expired at the end of july, the owner didn't renew so she was back to living with her brother. unfortunately they plan on doing some renovations starting in september, so she has to move again. actually she's been searching for a new place since april, but short-term lease apartments are hard to find, especially when there are so many returning students looking for longer-term leases. she did see a place in harvard square, but it was a shared apartment with a total of 8 tenants, kind of like an ivy league flop house if that's even a thing.

afterwards laura and ana left for the prudential center, where ana was introducing her to the cheesecake factory, followed by the samuel adams brewery.

i fixed my rear bike rack with a stainless steel hose fitting. one of the metal frames was coming loose, which in turn loosen the rear light bracket. i tried fixing it with some twist ties earlier, and even managed to cut my lip when i tried to tighten the tie with my teeth. i didn't know i was injured until i saw blood on my fingers. the hose fitting is a better solution and that thing has no chance of loosening again.

i rode to belmont with the unused toilet cover (to be returned) strapped to the rear rack. i spent the rest of the afternoon looking over some old china photos before dinner. i'm beginning to notice it's getting darker a lot sooner nowadays, with the sky already dusky by 7:30pm. i didn't leave until 9:00 though. laura was back at home but she kept to herself in her room so i didn't see her the rest of the evening. i cut up a quarter of my watermelon and watched the gory penultimate episode of hannibal while i ate (needed a strong stomach for that).

got in touch with john earlier tonight, our little hike trip to upper new york before he starts his new job next month will unfortunately not be happening. we still might be able to do a weekend trip in the fall, depending on our schedules.

hearing the heavy rain outside this morning, i figured there wouldn't be any sanding today, so i slept in. my mother called at 9:30 to tell me what i already decided. it was strange to have a free day, i didn't know what to do with myself. laura had already left, this being her last conference day, with the added bonus of a free lunch. i made some better breakfast: chicken sausage oatmeal versus the simple cup of greek yogurt i normally eat.

i got in touch with laura's friend ana, to exchange information regarding her desire to stay at my place. turns out she was living in arlington when her place burned down, then moved in her with brother in somerville. he's currently on vacation with his wife and 2 kids, but when they come back next wednesday, she won't have a place to stay. she said it's nearly impossible to find a rental for only a few months. she's attending kaplan english school in harvard square, so my place would be the perfect location. she's been here since last october, so she has some furniture which she will try to sell. she's only here for 3 more months, going back to spain come december. she had no problem with the price. she'll try to make a visit within the next few days, to see the place for herself, but it's more of a formality since she's definitely taking the place. she will be the 5th spanish person to have lived at my place (others: pau, david, david's wife, laura), fast approaching the number of chinese housemates i've had over the years.

laura came back home around 3:00, attempting to skype with her boyfriend before taking a nap. i went to star market to stock up on hagen-dazs ice cream ($1.99/each) and buy a large watermelon ($4.44). i also swept up the mess of acorns covering the backyard path.

8:45pm getting drinks at bella luna in jamaica plain with eliza, carl, hillary, and eliza's brother (eliza returning to paris tomorrow night):

i left my house around 7:15p, with laura just a few minutes behind me. destination: bella luna in jamaica plain, where i was meeting eliza and carl and hillary for drinks at 8:30p before eliza returns to paris tomorrow. google map said it'd just take 40 minutes to get there by subway, so i was ahead of schedule. then i saw i had a text message from eliza, saying we'd be meeting at 8:45p now. so i was looking to get there very early. scanning google map of the jamaica plain area while i was making my way on the red line, i came to 2 realizations: 1) 8:45p was kind of late for dinner, and 2) i should try to get something to eat beforehand. nearby in egleston square (roxbury) i spotted a mcdonald's: maybe i could finally try that elusive/new-england-exclusive $7.99 lobster roll i've been hearing about. there was also a new york fried chicken, so i had all sorts of eating options. if anything, i didn't have enough time, and now regretted not leaving even earlier.

i got to the stony brook t station by 8p, and proceded to make my way to egleston square. it wasn't my first time in JP, but i'm still not very familiar with the streets there, as i moseyed my way eastward. when i got to the main drag on washington street, i walked through a gauntlet of dominican and puerto rican businesses: restaurants, barbershops, grocery stores, nail salons, cell phone stores, etc. my first stop was new york fried chicken. i've had them before, sort of terrible, but pretty cheap. i had a feeling they didn't have any sit-down space and sure enough, it was take-out only. running out of time, i went to the mcdonald's. unfortunately they didn't have the lobster roll. for a second i thought about leaving and trying one of those latino cafes instead, but figured i'd just get something quick, so i got a cheeseburger ($1) and a sweet tea ($1). after quickly eating (eliza and her brother were already at bella luna), i made my back to our appointed rendezvous spot.

accustomed to the urban environment, i pride myself on my street smarts. so of course i felt a little nervous wandering the dark streets of jamaica plain, guided only by google map directions on my iphone, which i only peeked at briefly for fear of giving myself away as somebody who was lost. i went down germania street which eventually lead to bella luna.

eliza texted me that she was at the bar, but i couldn't find her. i did however see carl, who just came in with hillary, and they managed to locate eliza. space was at a premium, with a private wedding function happening at the same time, and there were no open tables for us to sit (the wait was one hour), so we sort of just mingled in the aisles.

the last time i saw carl and hillary was back in june 2011, when we had dinner at canary's in canary square (jamaica plain). as for eliza's brother, i don't think i've ever met this brother before (but i vaguely remember meeting her other bother in the north end). eventually the really helpful hostess found a spot for us.

mojitos were ordered all around. eliza was surprised i was partaking in alcohol, but if she knew the sort of hard booze baijiu i've been accustomed to during my year in china, she wouldn't be so surprised. even though i ate, the calamari appetizer ($12) seemed too delicious not to try out so i got that. i offered to square, but there were no takers on the fried squids.

we finally left after 11p. eliza was leaving tomorrow night, but she still had another day with her family on saturday before then. they offered me a ride, but i was within walking distance to the stony brook T station. i didn't get back until after midnight. my roommate laura still wasn't home yet.