today i went to the doctor's office to get my last series of shots before i leave for china. say hello to my little hepatitis B. say hello to my little japanese encephalitis. having a hard time finding the fat underneath my arm to give me the encephalitis shot, my doctor asked, "have you lost some weight recently?" "no, still fat as faster,"


more days

i replied, "but i did get a haircut yesterday." she asked if i was excited about my trip. "excited, yes, but more scared. for me, it's more fun preparing than actually going." in the other arm i got an injection of hepatitis B vaccine. i waited for 30 minutes, with the doctor and nurse occasionally poking their heads into the room to make sure i was okay. afterwards i went downstairs to the pharmacy to get my malaria medication. turns out my insurance will only cover 30 days, but there was still something wrong since my copayment was unusually high. the pharmacist called my insurance, who said they'd call her back within the next few days with an explanation. in the meantime they're putting my prescription on hold.

next i found myself at the fenway REI, looking to buy a hard plastic case for my spare laptop hard drive. i wasn't sure about the size so i bought two (hoping to return the one that didn't fit at another time), along with some bug repellents that were on sale (cutter advanced with 15% picaridin). when i got home i realized the cases i got were both too small. so i raced back out to REI, returned the two items, and got a slightly bigger case, the pelican micro 1020. i went to the cafe to show my parents my new loot and got some lunch as well. back at home again, after giving it some thought, i think i'll probably return that plastic case because it's just too bulky and heavy (like carrying around a brick - a nearly indestructible waterproof brick - but a brick none the less). although i got it for the backup hard drive, it's the exact size as my digital photo storage device.

talking with my mother earlier, it became very evident that my 3 month china trip is not going to be a vacation. a vacation is about relaxing. worrying about what i'm going to eat, where i'm going to sleep, and how i'm going to get to my next destination - does that sound like a vacation? i'll constantly have to be on guard, wearing the same clothes everyday, carrying around all my supplies, sweating through the chinese summer. so why do it? yeah, it's all of the above and more, but there's one thing that it's not: it's not boring. i can see more interesting things in a single day than i can spending a week in cambridge. i'm sure my boston summer would be great yet at the same time it'd also be very ordinary, not much different from any other summers. but just a single day in china would make my entire summer pale in comparison! despite all the hassles of independent traveling, there's always a moment of clarity on the trip, when i'm face-to-face with something absolutely beautiful and magical and splendid and awe-inspiring, that makes everything worth it, and makes me forget what i was ever so worried about in the first place.

after a shower, i hung out in the living room, trying very hard to stay cool and resist the temptation to turn on the air conditioner. there was actually a gently breeze outside but i was too lazy to figure out a way to direct it into the house with a simple fan. ang tao came home in the evening, said hello when he came in, and then i didn't see or talk to him the rest of the night. he is the epitome of a low-maintenance housemate.