i took my roommate to the somerville target so she could get some apartment essentials. target isn't that far - 1.4 miles walking distance - but it's a much easier trip by bus (we took the 87). she had some china public transportation habits - like crowding the entrance before anyone on the bus could get off and quickly grabbing a seat without seeing if i needed one as well.

we first took a peek at the nearby cw price - which i've always thought of a tj maxx but for a more urban black clientele. my roommate found some inexpensive pillow cases but decided to wait until she saw what target had to offer. i'd forgotten that target was renovating (expanding their food department) so aisles were shuffled around and navigation was done mostly through trial and error. my roommate was especially amused by the massive size of the target shopping carts (the SUV of carts).

it felt like back-to-school shopping because my roommate was buying all the things you'd normally buy before your freshman year of college: pillows, comforter ($30), plastic 3-drawer cart ($10), curtain rod, wash cloth, trash can, dust pan, coffee mug ($2), and cutting board. true, most of the stuff was made in china, but she said she'd never seen any of these brands before, and they seemed to be of a better quality found back at home, manufactured for the higher standard foreign markets. also prices fluctuated wildly; some items cheap in china (like duvet covers) were expensive here, likewise some expensive items in china were cheaper here (like bath towels).

while waiting in the checkout line, i remembered earlier seeing a chinese mother with 2 kids. curious, i asked my roommate about china's one-child policy regarding overseas chinese who have more than one child while abroad then return to china. do they pay a penalty? she said there's no law against that (loophole!) but it's uncommon. what happens more frequently is rural farmers secretly having more than one child, or on the other spectrum, wealthy men who secretly father babies with their mistresses.

i stood outside with the bags while my roommate went back to cw price to get those pillowcases. we waited for the 87 bus outside of burger king leaving lechmere station at 2:13. my roommate wanted to treat me to lunch for helping her out but i told her it wasn't necessary. she asked if i did any facebook or twitter while she posted an entry on her own weibo (chinese twitter) account about her american shopping experience (you know, for her students back home).

after dropping everything off at the house, we went out again to the dollar store to pick up a few more items (curtains).

i grabbed the thermos bottle and went to the cafe to deliver it to my father. coming back, i saw a lot of people walking with flowers in hand (and one busy flower delivery guy).

my roommate used her coffee mug the first chance she got. it's big enough that it looks like an asian rice bowl with a handle, but surprisingly light; my roommate commented on how happy she was with it and thought about getting a few more to take back to china. for dinner i ate some KFC leftovers. my roommate made some egg pancakes and invited me to try some. the house ended up smelling like cooking oil the rest of the night.

a bit of housekeeping news, i finally tidied up my electronic mailbox. normally i get more junk mail than anything useful, and i finally created a filter to sort through the ads versus actual e-mails. for the first time in a long time my inbox is completely empty.