i couldn't for the life of me find my housekey this morning. this wasn't a problem going out, but without my key i wouldn't be able to get back inside. i could just ask somebody from admin, one of them has a key to my place, i thought. but it drove me crazy, since my place is only so small, there really is no place for a key to disappear to. then i remembered throwing out the trash last night. the key is in the pants pocket. sure enough, there it was. i hurriedly left the apartment by 7:25 and had to run to the bus stop in order not to miss my ride.

i got there late so there was no time for chitchat before i climbed onboard the medium bus. zeng fei had an open seat next to her, but i sat in front of her with lihui. from where she sat she could hear our conversation, which was pretty mundane, discussing how dogs in china know how to cross the street.

forget what i said yesterday about fengya: i don't think sunmeng told her my secret. at first i thought she knew, because we actually made eye contact this morning and she actually said good morning, which i don't remember the last time that happened. i was in a good mood until after lunch, where i found fy standing out the office entrance getting some fresh air. i wanted to talk to her, but whenever i stood next to her, she'd find an excuse to go someplace else. she's purposely avoiding me and it's driving me crazy when it really shouldn't. more than slightly annoyed, i wasn't in any mood to relax so i worked through my hour long post-lunch break.

fortunately i was fairly busy today, which made the day go by that much quicker. i had some claim notices to issue today, and had a pile of paperwork and folders all over my desk.

in the afternoon i had a brief chat with sunmeng, nothing of importance. then i bumped into her by chance in the break room refilling her cup with hot water. we stayed there and chatted for about 15 minutes, neither of us wanted to return to work. this was actually the first time we had a long face-to-face conversation. i found out she actually lives in old changshou. when i asked if she had roommates, she said she lives with her parents, both retired. i asked if she spoke english with her 30-year-old korean boyfriend. no, she speaks korean with him (she majored in korean language in college). i told her i bought an ironing board last night, she said nobody irons anymore, people just use a clothes steamer.

my one interaction with shirley today was to ask her where that knitting store she told me yesterday was located. i asked her to draw me a map, she didn't a pretty good job.

during the office dinner, i purposely sat at the other end of the table away from fengya. "why are you sitting so far?" she asked. i don't get her! i slide my tray down so i was diagonally across from her. by coincidence my plate was full of green leafy vegetables. i picked out what little meat i could, ate a bit of rice, checked the time, and suddenly said my good byes and left, couldn't take anymore of the office dinner.

hoping to escape fengya, i got on the crowded bus and sat with guo and his gang in the back. none of them greeted me or even bothered to look at me. i was fine with that, the less chitchat with them the better. however the last person to get on the bus was fengya. just my luck. when we got back into town, i beat a hasty escape (not that any of them was waiting for me anyway).

i went and found the yarn store, just where shirley told me it'd be. she said something about a "triangle" but what she meant was the store was hidden underneath some stairs. they didn't have too much yarn, it's more of a store for learning how to knit. if you buy your yarn there, they'll teach you to knit whatever you want. there was some shiny green yarn that caught my attention, bamboo yarn. when i asked how much, the girl said RMB$70. "per skein?" i asked. no, RMB$70 for the whole box, which was probably 10 skeins at least. they also sold needles, stainless steel ones (sets of 4) for RMB$4, wooden ones (which i didn't see) for RMB$5, and circular needles for RMB$3.

i came home briefly to drop off my things, change into a t-shirt, grab my dSLR, and go back outside. in my quest to explore and see strange new things, i couldn't waste my time spending it at home. tonight i was going to walk to old changshou and visit hypermart, another one of those underground supermarkets. sunmeng told me it only takes 10 minutes to walk there. what sure said was true, but only because i walk fast. also getting there involves using an underground pedestrian pass, which was pretty scary at night with nobody around, a perfect place to get murdered. the pedestrian underpass is so big (underneath a large rotary above ground) it has a public bathroom, which is probably scarier than the underpass itself.

at least one person commented that i didn't have a jacket. nobody else was wearing just a t-shirt, changshou people just can't handle the cold. it was probably 60something degrees, maybe a little chilly, but nothing i can't warm up to after a few minutes of walking.

hypermart is bigger and has more items in stock, but none of the things i usually buy. no romano soap. no ricola cough drops. i was there to look for some salad dressing. after a lengthy search, i found a yogurt-flavored dressing in the import aisle, costing RMB$23, about US$4. oh how i miss my american supermarkets! aisles of salad dressing, and pastas!

i ended up just getting a package of dried prunes for RMB$3, before walking back home.

back at the apartment, i ironed the shirt i was wearing today. it was still pretty clean, so i didn't have to wash it, just get rid of some of the wrinkles. i used my ironing board for the very first time. it's actually a little too low to the ground, so my shirt had a tendency to drape on the floor. there's also no good place to stand the iron, so i had to use another stool. the board is probably easier than the bed but only by a little bit. at hypermart i saw a small clothes steamer for RMB$198, pretty much the price i paid for the iron plus the ironing board. but i believe using an iron builds character! and if i ever get crazy, i can make grilled cheese sandwiches with the iron as well.