today i had some instant purple yam with pearl barley soup for breakfast, courtesy of sunmeng. it tasted like sesame paste soup and wasn't bad, and pretty filling and warming. on top of that i added my last piece of swirly cake and some thai chai tea as i headed out the door.
officially sunrise here in changshou (chongqing) was 7:22 this morning. that's because china uses only one time zone (beijing standard time) despite being just as wide as the US. sunset should really be 6:22 at this latitude and time zone. just to compare, sunrise back home in boston for this day is 6:41. when i wake up it's still dark, and only getting lighter as i head out to the bus stop. in a few more weeks it won't matter, since it'll still be dark by the time i get on the bus. and if goes without saying that it's already dark when we leave work at night.
our medium bus arrived at work at the same time as a trail of new recruit construction guys were being marched into the office for safety training. apparently construction guys are the same everywhere, as they were leering at the lady office workers as if they've never seen girls before.
one of the custodian ladies wiping down the office counter tops asked me about my desktop photo, which was one i took of the chongbai mall across the reflecting pool and fountain. i couldn't quite understand her, a combination of thick chongqing accent and word choices, but i think she said i had a good eye and added i seemed like a nice person from our limited office interactions. it's always nice to start the day off with some unexpected compliments!
mr.lee was back in the office, as expected. i waited for him to catch up with his backlog of e-mails before asking him important claim related questions. hopefully we will have a review meeting, either today or tomorrow. i didn't have too much work so spent the day pretending to be busy.
shirley is in charge of the timesheet for the contract department and sent everyone in her department - including loren and me - a reminder to sign the timesheet. i signed my name with a red ink, which apparently is not something anyone does.
it rained briefly in the late morning but the weather was otherwise dry. but knowing how the sports stadium operates, there was a good chance it was closed tonight. thank goodness i have a gym membership now! run anytime regardless of the weather.
after lunch i went to sunmeng's desk to chat with her. then i went to zhouke's desk to ask her about her injury. she hadn't been at work for almost 2 weeks now, finally coming in this week. i saw her briefly yesterday, hobbling on crutches. i asked her boyfriend xiaolong what happened so he already told me: she twisted her knee playing chinese hackysack (i thought maybe she was in an auto accident, it is china after all, where there doesn't seem to be any traffic rules). she'll need another week before she can come off crutches but may still need to use a cane until her knee completely heals in a few months. i know she's on my shit list for ditching me over dinner on behalf of my frenemy guo, but at a time like this, i'm able to put by petty squabbles aside.
in the late afternoon i wished shirley a good vacation since she'll be gone tomorrow for the next 10 days. she told me she won't actually go back home until monday, but while go to chongqing sometime on friday to take her mother to the hospital. then on sunday she has a civil service exam. she doesn't want to work in the government, but her parents insisted she take it, even though she doesn't think she'll pass. when mrs.gu came by desk later to see some of my photos, she saw one i took of shirley's sunday brunch feast. suddenly mrs.gu got all serious, "shirley's a classic chongqing 'spicy' girl. you can seriously consider making friends with her."
i went to go pick up my pants when i got back into town after eating dinner at the office. they were opened tonight, the guy who doesn't do any sewing holding down the fort. i asked for my pants which was already sitting on the desk but he was a little hesitant because he couldn't be sure if it was mine, even after i told him the exact length the tailor altered the pants to. he asked me to write down my phone number just in case. he also wanted me to pay, until i told him it was an error on their part. i told him i'd be back with more clothes to alter anyway, so they'd make their money one way or another.
i then came back to the apartment and changed into my gym clothes. once again, i got a lot of stares as i walked from my place to the department store gym. nobody walks around in shorts and t-shirt when the temperature is in the 50's! they're going to get a big surprise when the temperature drops into the 40's and i'm still walking around in shortsleeves.
once again, there was only a handful of people at the gym. i came up through the back way and saw an aerobic class in progress (one of the classrooms has a glass wall), a few ladies and a guy. there wasn't anyone from the office there tonight. i picked an empty treadmill, did some stretches, and began running starting at 10km/h. there were others running as well but nobody had my endurance. most ran for a few minutes then walked for a few more. there was one guy who looked like he was running pretty fast but stopped after a few minutes to walk around. when he got back on the treadmill, he let out a scream right before he was about to finish. as for me, i didn't make any sounds, just ran to 4000m. i listened to my music and was mouthing the words to a few songs, that was about it. every once in a while i'd wipe off some sweat with my towel. after 15 minutes i increased the speed to 11km/h, and after 20 minutes i upped it to 12km/h until i hit my target distance. 4000m is not even 3 miles, more like 2.5 miles, so this is all still baby running in my book. next time, i should go for 4800m, which is closer to 3 miles. also at the rate i was going, i was only doing 9.45 minutes per mile. my goal is to get it down to maybe 7-8 minutes per mile.
there are a surprising amount of attractive ladies at the gym i've discovered. there was a pretty woman running one of the treadmills, and another one out in the waiting room. and when i left the gym after 24 minutes of running (no strength training tonight, wanted to get home quick), there was another class happening in the glass room, some sort of sexy dancing. looks like i'll be coming to the gym more often.
i came home, showered, then did a load of laundry. afterwards i ironed some shirts and called it a night.