with all systems operating at optimal, i found myself ahead of schedule by 15 minutes. so not used to not rushing out to catch the bus in the mornings! i probably had time to maybe eat my turkey leg moon cake (i'm still calling it turkey leg even though it's really smoked pork) but i already had my morning hard-boiled egg and several gulps of yogurt. it was raining again. i looked up a 10 day forecast last night and saw the rain continuing not to this friday but until next friday. how can this be? i'm living in a surreal land where it rains all the time. fortunately i'm in the office for most of that time, so the weather doesn't affect what i'm doing.

i sat next to fengya on the medium bus. next to me in the single seat across the aisle was that really pretty girl but i was too scared to say anything to her. instead i chatted with fengya about her morning routine. she doesn't take morning showers, preferring to take them at night. in the morning she makes rice porridge for breakfast and she has a little machine that she can prepare the ingredients the night before and have it cooked for her when she wakes up. she also takes a hard-boiled egg to work as well, although i've never seen her eating one before. she had an umbrella but she said it was her sun umbrella, since her rain umbrella still hasn't been returned yet when she lent it to a drunk coworker a few nights ago.

jasmine tea is that it gets bitter if steeped too long, unlike the black tea. that's why after a few minutes of steeping, i return to the break room (i say "break room" loosely since there really isn't a place here at work for employees to unwind besides at their desk) to toss out the teabag. but jasmine tea is all i've been drinking this week, having gotten tired of the black tea.

i crafted a weapon at work today. it's a dispute grievance letter so powerful, i hate to think what would happen if they actually sent it out to the owner. i hope they never will, and just wanted me to write it because management was angry yesterday over the latest batch of rejected claim notices. but a few days later, maybe cooler heads will prevail. how i got embroiled in this clash was because out of all the people in the department my english is the best. i was also happy to do it, glad for the opportunity to flex my writing muscles. later in the afternoon management asked me to tone down the rhetorics a little. even they realized the letter was a little too much.

i did some research last night, a roundtrip flight from chongqing to tokyo is only around US$600. that's probably still kind of expensive, but far cheaper than flying from boston to tokyo. i might also be able to buy a JR pass online and have it shipped to me in china, instead of having to travel to chengdu and pick one up. i still haven't asked admin if i can string the 7 day chinese independence day holiday with my 7 day holiday i get every 2 months. that's probably key to my decision as to whether or not i'll go as far as tokyo. going to tibet is another option. i think a roundtrip ticket to lhasa is US$300. i don't know if i need a special visa to get in though, the last time i was close to there i heard stories of foreigners being turned away at the border. i am traveling with a special taiwanese-china visa, so maybe they might let me sneak in.

after work i went to the local china mobile office to ask about my SIM card. i tried texting a message today but it didn't work. i talked to liao ke and he told me it's probably because my SIM card ran out of money. how could that be? there must be RMB$50, which gives me 500 minutes of local talk. i haven't really used that phone at all. i had the china mobile lady check my number for me and sure enough the card was out of minutes. not only that, but i actually owed china mobile RMB$27 for additional calls that i'd received. whatever the case my be, i needed to add more money to the card. she said i could use one of several convenient automated charging stations. convenience is relative, especially if i can't read chinese, which i told her. so she helped me, but went pretty fast so i'll probably need her help again next time. the machine takes bank cards but not my shenyang card. i ended up paying in cash, RMB$100. now i just have RMB$200 and some change in cash. i need to use the ATM tomorrow but i don't know how.

walking home i bumped into some upper management koreans, their lead project manager and the head of their admin who speaks fluent chinese. they were out getting some dinner, half-heartedly extending the invitation but retracting it before i could answer.

i came home, showered, watched 2 episodes of the bridge, skyped my parents, and worked on the blog.