zeng fei: i gave her a nod this morning, she said hey, i said good morning, she said good morning. the medium bus arrived late, so she already climbed onboard the large bus. retry tomorrow morning.

fengya: the flower i gave her is dying. not like slowly dying, but fast, like it's almost completely wilted. which is so symbolic of our relationship, it's like life tossing me a freebie sign here. she relocated the flower to the other side of her cubicle so she wouldn't have to look at it anymore. i don't know how anyone can kill a flower in about 10 days. if she can't even keep a potted plant alive for more than 2 weeks, how can i really be with somebody like that?

shirley: "i have good news and bad news, which one do you want to hear first?" she asked me via instant message. i asked for the bad news, which i was sure was going to be her telling me our lunch date would be cancelled. "i don't have any fiddlehead ferns," she said. "good news, i found some dried homemade bamboo shoots." who is this girl? and why is everything about her so optimistic and pleasant? later she sent me a photo of one of the dishes she planned on making. "red pepper green pepper with meat. spicy." i told her i would love it. not only does she cook, but she also gardens, with various plants around her desk. "it's the season for daffodils," she wrote in chinese on her QQ status.

lunch: i've worked here for almost 3 months, today was the first time i had dumplings. they had them before, but they're so rare, i've never been able to score any until today. they're pretty good too, with thick skins, just the way i like them. our usual lunch table was split into 2 when fengya sat at one table by accident while loren went to another. i hesitated momentarily before sitting down with loren, as well with 4 other lunch companions. guo my frenemy naturally sat with fengya.

sunmeng: our office flirting continues. we saw each other at lunch and giggled like we were both privy to some private joke. i informed her that i was going to steal her from her korean boyfriend and i still had 23 days to do so before she leaves. i told her we'd both quit our jobs and go traveling together. "meet me in the break room in 10 minutes (2:00)," i said. we ended up hanging out in there for 40 minutes, i didn't even realize it was that long.

a lot of non-essential people are leaving at the end of november, then more are leaving in december. it's not so much them leaving as the company not renewing their contracts because the company doesn't have enough money. this will mean a lot of single ladies will be gone (assistants, support staff, etc). by next year, the company will be a different place, mostly men. sunmeng will be gone by the end of november, and i'm operating under the assumption fengya will not renew her contract at the end of december. i don't know about everyone else. but november is the month to get my romantic affairs in order.

the company is holding a sports meet at the changshou gymnasium tomorrow afternoon, followed by a company dinner at the only fancy hotel restaurant in town. but my korean boss will be on vacation starting tomorrow, so i can enjoy a fairly easy day. the admin department sent out team rosters, schedule, and game rules. the events are: basketball, soccer, 8-person jump rope, tug-of-war, 4-person-5-legged race, relay race. i've been asked to be an official photographer, which is pretty much my dream job. since none of the teams had a chance to practice (who has the time when you work 60 hours a week?), at 5:00 today there was a brief half hour practice session for the jump rope event and tug-of-war.

before i left, i wished mr.lee a good vacation back home. i'm probably the only person in our department to do so. people here just aren't compassionate enough i've discovered. being nice to others makes you feel better about yourself.

after the office dinner (nondescript mash of chinese meats and greens and rice), i caught the 2nd bus back to changshou. i went to the supermarket to get some cough drops and something to drink for sunday. normally in america i'd show up with a bottle of wine. they sell wine at the supermarket, but i found a bottle of "apple vinegar drink" (RMB$15). it may turn out to be quite terrible, i guess we'll find out. i also bought a refrigerated sponge cake (RMB$7) for myself.

at the apartment, i changed into my running outfit (including contact lenses) and walked down to the stadium (a place i will be back tomorrow afternoon to take photos). i planned on running yesterday (the first time it wasn't raining in a long time) but went to eat mutton hot pot with loren instead. although today was overcast, the rain stayed away so the stadium was open. it was darker than usual, they turn on a different set of stadium lights every time i'm there. after some stretches, i began running. at the 2 lap mark i saw guo walking with his roommate liu. i didn't stop to say hello (not that i would anyway), but i gave them a back wave as i ran past them. my earbuds have gone bad and i was getting intermittent sound in my right ear, which was annoying. i also saw shen (that girl who has a crush on me and who's always commenting on everyone of my QQ postings) and some other coworkers, practicing for the relay race. i didn't stop to say hello but gave them a casual wave as i ran past them. i noticed i was the only person wearing shorts. at most a few hardy souls wore t-shirts. it wasn't cold at all with temperature in the 60's. after 10 loops, i walked right out the stadium without walking a lap. i was so hot that i took off my sweat-soaked t-shirt and walked home topless, which must've surprised a few locals because for them 60 degrees is freezing.

after a shower, i did a small load of laundry (mostly sweaty gym clothes), watched an episode of sleepy hollow, skyped with my parents, and worked on my blog. i ate the sponge cake, a very thick and rich texture, worth the RMB$7 price tag.