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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.

i tried not to let it get to me but still i was a little peeved that XL decided again not to sit next to me on the bus this morning. maybe i'm that special friend she chats with online at night but totally ignores at work and refuses all my dinner invitations. everybody's got a friend like that, right?

i bought 2 fried pancakes for breakfast, RMB$1.50 each, from the buns shop. they seem to be all the rage these days, as coworkers opt to try these pancakes instead of the usual meat buns. i ate them at the office; they're okay, but a bit oily.

short skirts are making a comeback in the office now that the weather had steadily become warmer. the office fashionista seems to be zhangling, who unlike some other girls, never wear the same thing twice. it's one of the things i look forward to when i come to work, to see what she's going to wear the next day.

lihui and i went to go find wangyan for lunch, our special club of misfit coworkers who don't have a normal lunch group to sit with. speaking of fashionistas, wangyan seems to be another one. she turns heads where ever she goes, but my relationship with her is strictly platonic. today i taught her the words "lettuce" and "cabbage."

after lunch i saw a big group of people walking outside, headed by my frenemy guo, with xianglian and mahui tagging along. when i went outside to investigate, they were gone. i assumed they all took a stroll outside the office boundaries, which bothered me to no end. when i suggest the idea to XL on several occasions, she always rebuffs my proposal. but when guo brings it up, everyone's onboard. so i sat outside brooding, playing with my cellphone. that's when i heard XL calling my name from a distance. turns out they never went outside, but took their usual route circling the perimeter of the office building. i followed them for 2 laps before parking myself back outside to pass the 30 minutes remaining of break.

originally XL was supposed to come over to my place and pick up the korean kimchi i made for her and her mother. but she had after work plans and said if she could come a bit later. on the bus she sat next to LXL. i got off the bus early so i could investigate a paulownia tree across the street from the chongbai mall.

i got a good chance to study this paulownia. it was shedding flowers and i picked up a few. it doesn't seem as fragrant as the paulownia back at home, but maybe because it's been pruned so that all the flowers are way up high. the flowers themselves still smell pretty good when held up close. the flowers are slightly different than the paulownia i know. these ones are less velvety, and they don't have a fuzzy brown sepal at the base of the flower (i think that's what it's called). i must've looked like a crazy person, standing out on the street, with buses careening down the road within a few feet behind me.

back at my apartment, i decided to go up to the top floor - the 22nd - and see if i could get any good photos. i'd never been up that high, not sure why until now. i snapped a few photos from the open windows at the ends of hallways. i was ready to go back downstairs when i saw stairs leading up. i decided to investigate. i was surprised and wasn't surprised when i found that the roof was entirely accessible. of course china with its lack of strict safety awareness would allow people to go up on the roof of a high rise apartment building. i snapped a few photos before xianglian called me, saying she was on her way to my place.

it was 8:00, she asked if i ate, which i didn't. she said she ate already, which wasn't a surprise, with whom i didn't ask, but i assumed it was with her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend. it didn't occur to me until later that once again, somebody else invited XL out to dinner and she accepted, but when i ask her, she refused 9 out of 10 times. it makes a boy wonder. anyway, besides the kimchi, she was also here to help me sew a button onto a pair of pants. one thing about XL is she's quite the homemaker. cooking yes, but also other household skills like basic sewing. i've never sewed on a button before, so when i asked her to teach me, she just did it herself. as for the kimchi, i tried a few pieces, they tasted both sour and spicy. i was going to give XL the bigger jar, but she was reluctant to take even both, saying it'd be a hassle to take back to her hometown when she goes on her 10-day vacation tomorrow. finally she took the smaller jar after i told her i spent all this time preparing it for her and her mother.

later in the evening (9:40), while i was ironing some shirts, XL texted me. we talked about old clothes before it got late enough that i had to sign off to work on the blog and go to sleep.

XL sat next to me on the bus this morning. it seems she only sits next to me if she wants to go to sleep, which was exactly what she did minutes after boarding. so much for conversation. but i noticed 3 things: that she was wearing a brand new outfit (navy pants with a lime green blouse), that she sat pressed up next to me so we were touching shoulder to shoulder, and that she was wearing perfume.

my mother's taiwanese care package arrived yesterday, but there was nobody in the office to claim it so the courier left it with gate security. when i went to go look for it i couldn't find it. it was wangyan who alerted me to the fact that she had my package.

after lunch i asked XL if she'd been a good girl today. if yes, she'd get a present. she said yes before i could get to the second part: if no, she'd get two presents. she said she was both and asked if that meant she'd get 3 presents. i finally opened up the care package and gave her the 2 facial cleanser my mother had bought in taiwan on my behest. we spoke in a conspiratorial whisper, while i looked at the photo on the id badge she wore around her neck and playfully tugged at it to bring her closer.

afterwards i texted XL asking her if she was wearing perfume. but i accidentally texted WWY instead, who is now on to the fact that i have more than a friendly acquaintance with someone in the office, and maybe even have figured out who it is. when XL finally replied, she said i had a good nose, and yes in fact she was wearing a little perfume today. she said the smell had since faded, but i told her if i was lucky i'd get a chance to smell it again on my way home. i also complimented her on her wardrobe choice for the day, very vernal.

CH told me i had a package today. i thought she meant the one i picked up this morning but apparently another package arrived in the afternoon, my medium-sized vest.

XL was already out the door more than 20 minutes before the buses would take us back into town. she waited outside, i followed. she said she was waiting for the medium bus, i stuck around until it arrived and we both hopped on. WWY - who usually rides the medium bus - was calling people trying to find a running partner for tonight. XL pointed at me but i declined the offer. "when a pretty girl asks you to run, you run," she told me. i asked her how come she wasn't running. she told me she's waiting until the summer. we carried on our flirtatious banter all the way home. lihui called me minutes before we got back. he wasn't at work today - visiting an acne clinic in chongqing - but asked if i wanted to have dinner at his place. "my boyfriend invited me to dinner tonight," i joked with XL, explaining the situation.

when we arrived, i went to the tailor to pick up my shirt. i went yesterday but she didn't get a chance to alter it yet. i then went home to drop off my boxes. i had time to try on my vest. even at medium size it's still a little snug. i don't blame the clothes, i just have a thick torso (which is an euphemism for being fat). i was almost at lihui's place when he called me again, asking where i was. i picked up 2 containers of yogurt drink as a present, didn't want to arrive empty-handed.

he made 2 dishes, cabbage with carrots, and shredded pork with garlic stems. it wasn't bad but i wish his house with a little cleaner. living with 2 other guy roommates, i think they rarely clean. the kitchen floor is dirty enough i was afraid to go inside and the coffee table is caked in grease. otherwise, it was an enjoyable dinner. he didn't make enough food and by the end we were just eating plain rice. i stuck around a little bit afterwards, but he had an online english conversation course he's taking at 7:30 so i left after a while.

because it was still early, i texted WWY asking her if she was still planning on running. she said yes. i thought maybe she ran in the stadium (which is what most people do) but she said she usually runs to ancient changshou and then back. we agreed to meet at my usual morning bus stop at 8:00.

it was a warm balmy night, a good evening to be out. i got there early and did some stretches while waiting for WWY to show up. she arrived in a t-shirt and yoga pants. we began running. "i thought you promised to speak to me only in english!" she reminded me. so for the rest of the night i spoke to her in english. according to lihui, her english is one of the best in the office. she handled herself well, but her slight english-accented english was a little disconcerting. she told me this was her night of running for the season and that she wanted to lose weight before summer arrived. she ran slow, but the time passed quickly, even though we'd been running for 24 minutes. the path to ancient changshou is uphill so that's more difficult, but the return is downhill so it's a lot easier. parting ways at my apartment, she asked if i was running again tomorrow. "maybe," i told her. if only her cute friend also ran with us! i still haven't had a decent conversation with her ever since our quick introduction.

after a shower, i did some laundry. while waiting for my clothes to finish, i added the chopped cabbage i had drying since last night into the near-empty sichuan paocai jar. i also added some orange carrots. i noticed some fruit flies circling my bananas and the jars of fermenting korean kimchi.

finally, around 10:00, i got around to doing the thing i needed to do most, which was to finally do my taxes. i did this while texting XL on my phone, talking about my sexy legs. it didn't take long, my parents left behind a small stack of my tax documents when they were here. i fact, i finished in about half an hour. i owe federal taxes but getting a state refund, and when the smoke finally clears, i'm only looking to pay a grand in taxes owed, not too bad. i'm glad i finally got that out of the way.

i played hooky from work today so i could make some korean kimchi in the morning then go visit changshou lake in the afternoon. i also visited the paocai lady at the market and gave her my contact info for the "tall and pretty" chongqing girl she wanted to introduce me to.

people always tell me to go to changshou lake and everyone at the office has visited before. i never cared much for this man-made lake (actually a reservoir) turned into an artificial park, but figured i should at least take a look before i leave changshou. i picked the perfect day to skip work, the weather was hot enough that i didn't bother wearing a jacket and even got a slight sunburn on my face. the only bad news came when i was coming home and discovered the zooming mechanism on my 18-200mm lens was busted. so looks like this sunday i'll be going to chongqing to find a canon repair shop that can fix this.

breakfast:

i tried the green eggs i bought from yonghui supermarket last night (RMB$18 for a dozen). green eggs are smaller than normal eggs so i ended up frying 2 eggs for my egg & yak meat sandwich. i can't really taste the difference. maybe i should try the eggs alone to see if there's anything special about them besides the eggshell color.

hungry from all the walking, i cooked up some frozen chinese dumplings for an early dinner at 5:00. i probably should've just used half the package instead of the whole package, because i only had one small pot and the water kept on threatening to overflow. the dumplings ended up being undercooked but i still managed to eat half anyway. i had the rest for a late night snack around 10:30, pan-frying them a little bit to give it some variety.

xianglian texted me in the evening. she actually texted me around 9:30 but my qq app didn't update with the new messages until 10:20. we chatted a little bit before she had to go to sleep.

by my own personal work calendar, i was supposed to have today (sunday) off. all the chinese workers on the korean half of the company were getting 3 days off, which is officially the number of government-sanctioned off days for the qingming holiday. the irony is everyone on the chinese half of the company only get one day off, and it's not a real day off either because they basically switched saturday and sunday. but i decided to come to work anyway, because 1) the weather was gross (rain and fog) and 2) i'd get a chance to hang out with XL.

all that changed, starting on the bus. i got onboard first so i can find a pair of free seats. when XL arrived, she went to go sit with her married bus boyfriend instead of me, even though she saw me. it annoyed me at first, but in the 25 minutes it takes us to arrive at the office, it sort of festered into something that put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. when two people like each other they usually want to spend time with one another. that's kind of the definition of mutual attraction. sometimes i feel this from XL, but there are other times when i don't feel it at all. relationships shouldn't be this hard, so it really makes me question what's going on. if she doesn't like me in the same way i like her, i'd like to know. with my days here in china numbered, i don't like to waste precious time.

how i manifest my anger is by not logging into QQ and avoiding talking to anyone. in my deluded mind i imagine people getting worried about where i am and desperately asking coworkers if they'd seen be. the truth is probably nobody really cares or even notices. if anyone is hurt it's probably me, because the work day can get even more boring without some instant messaging to punctuate the boredom.

mr.lee was surprised i came to work today. "why you are not on vacation?" he asked me in his thickly korean-accented english. he thought all chinese were on 3-day holiday. i told him the chinese half of the company were only given one day off. he said maybe for construction managers, but for white collar office workers like me, there's no point in coming in. as for why he's here, he told me it's korean company policy to always have some management people on staff every day, regardless of holiday, and it was simply his turn this week. he didn't seem resentful, and maybe it's probably due to korean workaholicism. what he said to me gave me the impetus i needed to maybe not come into work tomorrow.

i was tempted to skip lunch, and instead just eat ramen by my desk, as another display of displeasure. i went to the cafeteria to check what was on the menu today and decided to eat the office meal after all. lihui sat with the contract department so i had no choice but to sit across from XL, whom i've been purposefully avoiding all day. i didn't talk to her, and in fact, i kept my gaze in the opposite direction. the food wasn't very good, either too salty or too oily, so i just picked at it. XL ate noodles and took off her glasses. it's a terrible thing to say, but she looks very unattractive without glasses, her face seemingly to appear larger, her eyes tinier. noticing that little detail actually made me feel better, like maybe i should trying finding someone who's a little prettier (once again, a terrible thing to think, but my mind tends to dwell in dark places). i finally broke my silent treatment and asked XL when she was going on her vacation (4/10).

after lunch, i caught LXL and XL on their post-lunch stroll around our office building and walked with them. i told XL i was going to make her mother some kimchi (after she said she likes the korean fermented cabbage) but i didn't know how to make it not spicy and salty, since i know her mother eats on the light side. XL said kimchi isn't spicy, at least not compared to chongqing spiciness. she said i could still make it, and even if her mother won't eat it, she herself will. the interesting thing was she didn't tell me it was a waste of time (like she normally does with most things i do), so that means she thinks it's a good idea as well (to get in her mother's good graces), even if she won't tell me directly.

back at the office i rejoined the land of the living by finally logging into QQ. soon afterwards i received a call from the courier saying my package had arrived. he already called this morning verifying i'd be in the office on a sunday. it was my re-ordered shirt in a slightly larger size. later i tried it on to see how it fits; fits well, i just need to take it to the tailor after work to shorten the sleeves.

* late afternoon outdoor chat with the contract department; i joke that i'm going to changshou lake with XL's mother tomorrow, XL thinks i'm actually serious
* koreans leaving at 5:00; a rare time when they actually leave before the chinese employees. after they leave i shut off my computer, no point in working
* before mr.lee left i asked for the day off tomorrow
* getting on the bus with XL; she sits next to LXL; i asked her if she has any empty jars, she tells me not to bother making kimchi, i get off the bus and take the medium bus instead
* after work visit the tailor then visit 3 different supermarkets to collect kimchi making ingredients; missing shrimp paste, improvising with some live clams.

* making late night kimchi: 4 tablespoons of table salt, added to chopped napa cabbage and daikon radish
* no late night chat with XL but sunmeng texted me letting me know she got a job as a tour guide at ancient changshou; sarah also texted me randomly asking what i'm doing.
* using dongle