i'm now in the double digits of my china stay beginning with week 10. i'm thinking about my about original plan, that after 2 months i was going to cash out and go on an extended vacation in asia before finally returning home. oh how plans change! that's when i made the realization that it wasn't that bad here, and the longer i stayed, the bigger the paycheck. had i gone with my original plan, the money i earned would've simply paid for my round trip ticket to and from asia, and then the rest would go into buying a new furnace for the house. the new plan is to stay until after the winter, extending my paycheck by 6 more months, go home with a chunk of change to sit on while i look for a new job. the work is exhausting, but the people here are interesting (some more than others). in the end that's all i can really hope for. it's lonely at times, and occasionally i have crushes on some particular girl, but it's definitely more interesting than my life back at home.

today started like any other morning. 6:30 alarm clock, snoozed to 6:40, get out of bed to boil an egg, use the bathroom, take a shower, get dressed sometime after 7:00, eat my breakfast, leave the apartment by 7:20. i wore one of two new dress shirts i bought yesterday, the slightly better one. i'm dying to wear my new dress jacket, but after showing it to my parents last night via video chat, i have to get the sleeves shortened before i can take it out in public.

i saw FY this morning who gave me a curt good morning before boarding the bus. that was enough reason for me to take the medium shuttle instead just to avoid her. this is another game i play, to see if my object of affection notices or even cares that i'm not there. maybe i'm doing her a favor, she must be sick of me always sitting next to her on the bus, too polite to tell me to go sit elsewhere. but the weird thing is she used to ride the small shuttles before switching to the large bus one day. i may be reading meaning into something that's just not there.

i was actually friendlier with the young ladies from the office during my first few weeks of working here. but once FY caught my interest, i rarely looked elsewhere. but now it looks like that's not going to happen, so now i'm back to being more social. the only empty seats were the last row in the back. i hugged a window and watched as zeng fei (the prettiest girl in the office) climbed on and sat within a seat away from me. so close! but then a girl sat in between us before the bus rolled out.

i chatted with this girl sitting next to me. we recognize each other in the office and offer polite nods when passing even though we've never spoken. "your last name is yang too, right?" i said, since i make it a habit of remembering anyone with the same last name as mine. yang yazhou was her name, from rongchang west of chongqing city bordering on sichuan. this was her first job out of school, and i said if it was tough working such long hours, but she had a really optimistic attitude and said it's been really fun. what she heard about me is that i might be from taiwan. i told her my autobiography, well-rehearsed at this point from having told it so often. all that time i was wondering if zeng fei was listening, since she was sitting right next to us and we were the only people talking on the bus.

in the morning i asked mrs.gu if she knew any good tailors in the changshou area. she knew of 2 places: one below her apartment that wasn't very good, another one slightly better but she hasn't visited in a while so don't know if they're still there or even open in the evening. she said she would take me there after work, asked me to remind her during dinner.

i have some aches in my left foot, from either too much running or too much walking or both. i need to rest up before my trip next week. that means no more running to give my foot a chance to heal.

the care package my parents sent me last monday finally arrived today, a week later, via US priority mail. the delivery guy called me at the office to come outside and pick it up. the box weighed more than 12lbs, the postage US$83. typically one wouldn't need to send something like this via priority mail, but because my parents were hoping i'd receive it before i left for western sichuan, they paid for the expedited service. a week is pretty fast. usually packages to/from china takes at least 10 days to arrive. i didn't open it at first, hiding the box underneath my desk.

during lunch fengya revealed that she was home the entire sunday. i told her i went to go eat gizhou lamb noodles by myself and had i known she was home alone, i would've called her. "but you didn't!" she replied. i assumed she was out. earlier in the week i overheard her making sunday plans with another girlfriend to get her hair done and then go into old changshou for some karaoke. if she really wanted to have dinner with me, she could've sent a text. we were both online, but the only time i'm online is if i'm at home (she's online all the time via her smartphone).

after lunch i was in a better mood and asked fengya if she wanted to see what was in the box. it was mostly chocolate (heaviest) and tea, and some clothes. i also requested some halloween decorations to spruce up my cubicle area on the last week of october. i gave fengya a bag of dove chocolates and a box of ferrero rocher. she expressed her heartfelt thanks via QQ.

i had some rooibos tea in the afternoon, a slice of familiar heaven, better than the lipton black tea i've been drinking for the past 2 months. for a society so steeped in tea culture, they don't have teas like rooibos or chai here in china.

FY's girlfriend sun meng (the one she was supposedly going to hang out with on sunday) chatted with me today after i showed my surprise at her construction outfit. we exchanged a few words in the past but this was our first conversation. "i heard you're from america?" she asked me in english. i've heard her speak english before, she's pretty good. "you heard that, have you?" her mandarin had a tinge of taiwanese, which i found intriguing. i found out she's from nanjing, but she has a relative in taiwan and visited the island when she was still in high school (not too long ago, i heard she's just 22 years old). she went to college here in chongqing and that's where she picked up her chongqing dialect. fengya was surprised to learn her friend wasn't actually from the area; she spoke chongqing dialect so perfectly, everyone just assumed she's from chongqing. we chatted for a while before she left (she's also been to south korea and thailand), then we chatted some more on QQ once we became QQ buddies. sun meng is kind of a shameless flirt, and one of a bevy of young ladies in the office who occasionally dress provocatively enough to make me blush. in recent weeks i see her all the time visiting fengya at her desk, but i also wonder if she's also not here to secretly spy on me because i see her stealing glances in my direction (something fengya never does).

* going with mrs.gu to visit a tailor

* yuwei crying freakout because i wasn't home when she came by to deliver some warm chestnuts (i'm not used to girls calling me at night chewing me out)