she wasn't home when i woke up this morning but i knew she could come back anytime, and sure enough, she returned home around 1:00. turns out when she was registering at MIT yesterday, she met a post-doc chinese woman2 from canada who took her to chinatown so she could open up a bank account from an agent who spoke chinese. she ended up going with bank of america because they seemed the most convenient with their numerous branches and ATM's. she said it seemed very complicated, with all the different choices, but i think they sold her on one of those premium accounts because she needs to a $2000 minimum in the bank other she'll have to pay fees.
she cooks a lot; yesterday and this morning i could hear her sizzling something over the stove. she does a lot of classic chinese stir-fry cooking; light stir-fry, but stir-fry nonetheless. it doesn't stink up the house but does leave a somewhat oily mess around the stovetop area. she was jokingly complaining about how it's hard to cook stir-fry with my flat-bottom western pots (back home they use woks); all i could think about was, well, maybe you shouldn't stir-fry then.
when she came back home today she cooked some more. she asked if i ate and whether or not i wanted to try some of her cooking (a plate of mushroom and eggs). i already had some oatmeal but ate a little bit just so i could chat with her.
i noticed yesterday she had an iphone, which probably meant she's pretty well off back at home if she can afford something like that. i also learned they have a maid who works at their house a few hours a day doing household cleaning. she told me very matter-of-factly that her 9-year-old daughter would be visiting her during the summer, and since her daughter couldn't bear to live without her mother, my roommate was thinking about keeping her here so she could go to an american school for half a year and learn english. i didn't tell her this was a logistical impossibility.
i did get a kick when i pointed to a squirrel in the backyard and my roommate got all excited and snapped a few photos with her iphone. it never seems to amaze me how exhilarated foreign roommates get when they first see squirrels. chinese, spanish, italian - when it comes to our common squirrel, it's anything but common to them. by the time they leave though, they'll have seen enough squirrels to be jaded.
then for the rest of the day we lived separate lives, not seeing each other again, she in her room, me in the living room. her door was open so i saw she was working on her computer, with a bunch of paperwork laid out on the floor and on her bed. one of the first things she did when she arrived was to put the tv on the floor so she could have more desk space (very few roommates watch tv nowadays, i wonder if i should just retire that thing).
i left the house in the afternoon for the supermarket to stock up on some superbowl snacks for sunday. the usual: chips, salsa, buffalo wings, blue cheese dipping sauce. i never noticed it before but in the cemetery next to market basket is a large full-sized elm tree. even though it didn't have any leaves, i could tell what it was from that classic vase-like elm tree shape.
coming back, i got a good look at the new latin fusion restaurant on the street corner, mixtura. i hope they do better than the at least 4 other restaurants that've been there since i moved into the neighborhood. originally it was a mexican place that had already closed shop when i moved in. then it was a pizza place, followed by danny's diner. when danny passed away unexpectedly, the place was opened for a while longer before new management took over. it was still a diner, but i never ate there after that, and i don't even remember the new name. now comes the latest iteration. they passed out flyers today, announcing their grand opening tomorrow. what is latin fusion anyway? quinoa omelets, mango french toast, and purple corn pancakes apparently. sounds expensive though. i'm still waiting for a wings place to be opened there, it'd be a dream come true.
i had a brick of lasagna for dinner. actually a brick and a half (because my roommate only had half a square yesterday) but i couldn't finish the half part. it's only tuesday and i've already hit the lasagna wall. i still have plenty of lasagna for the rest of the week. i might have to freeze them because i'm not sure if i can stomach anymore lasagna.
in skyrim: thank god for fast traveling, makes gameplay less tedious! i've been shuttling back and forth between whiterun and riften. whiterun is where i have my house, so i go back every once in a while to drop off my loot. i've now just expanded to windhelm. it's hard keeping the cities straight. leaving windhelm, i was ambushed by a fire dragon. took a few tries before i finally killed it. my follower was no help, yielding immediately at the first fiery blast. the more dragons i kill (this one was number 4) the less scary they become. being a warrior class character specializing in two-handed weapons (battleaxes and greatswords), it's impossible for me to fight the dragon when it's flying in the air. i shoot arrows at it but i don't think they do anything. the key is to get it down on the ground so i can rush in and strike it a few times with my weapon. grounded dragons are surprisingly fragile, but they can still fight - this particular flame dragon grabbed me with its jaws at one point and threw me to my death. it helps to be near other characters or creatures who can act as bait. the 3rd dragon i killed was like that, i ran to a herd of mammoths that distracted the dragon's attention while i ran behind it and attacked with my battleaxe.
i'm at level 19 now, clad in steel plated armor (heavier, but maximum protection), using a combination of battleaxes and greatswords made from either skyforged steel or elven/dwarven-crafted. i'm not skilled enough in smithing to be able to make my own elven/dwarven items yet, and i still need to collect 5 more fire salts to make skyforge steel (for the time being i can just buy them from the champions' smith worker). all my weapons are enchanted, either doing fire, shock, ice, or soul-stealing damage.
1 she even told me that since she's a visiting scholar, she doesn't really have to report to anyone and can make up her own schedule. apparently that means not having to go to MIT unless she has to.
2 this canadian woman found a place to live in quincy, renting out a single room from a chinese family. it seems kind of far for somebody who's working at MIT though. was there no affordable housing options in the cambridge/somerville area?