i went to the bakery again this morning to get another sandwich wedge. they were out of the cheap RMB$6 sandwiches, only had the slightly more expensive RMB$9 sandwich with more meat. they were also out of regular milk so i went with pineapple milk. perhaps on the expensive side of a typical chinese breakfast, but still cheap by american standard (just US$2). i will miss all this cheap food once i go back to cambridge!

while waiting for 7:30 to come around so we can get on the bus, i explained to zengfei that gingko trees - the only local tree that's turning yellow and losing their leaves - are either male or female.

i think i caught a bug because suddenly today i'm sneezing and i woke up with an irritating dryness in my throat that later developed into an occasional cough and constant throat clearing. i really hope i'm not sick during my cohost gig next month.

i tried to invite shirley out for peking duck dinner tonight, but she had a coupon for a haircut that's due to expire tomorrow so she wanted to cash that in. we will reschedule for another time. she's not shy when it comes to eating alone with me. no, "maybe we should invite some other people." with most of her girlfriends in relationships, i think she's tired of always being the third wheel, and enjoy being the center of attention for a change.

after lunch i asked shirley's friend fangdan to come visit my cubicle so i could use my mother's exclusive coach factory account to see all the bags that were on sale. along with zhouyan, the two of them picked out a pair of handbags. i paid with my credit card, fangdan will pay me back tomorrow in cash, and my parents will bring the bags with them when they come visit me at the end of february.

i found shirley wandering by herself in the courtyard outside our office in the late afternoon. she needed to get some fresh air. we ended up chatting long enough that we lost track of time. i noticed her hair is actually a dark brown color and i asked her if she highlighted her hair but she said it's naturally like that, maybe from malnutrition she added. i told her how i used to have long hair, so i know all the problems regarding long hair maintenance. she told me she washes her hair every morning, out on her corner balcony with the sink. i asked her if it was cold. "freezing!" she said, but that's the price of keeping long hair. i told her about visiting 2 ganji the past 2 weekends, and she said in her hometown of shizhu they have market days all the time (days ending in 2,5,8), with old ethnic minority ladies dressed in their traditional outfits. we also talked about birds, she remembered the various birds she saw as a kid.

i went running when i got home. there was only a few people using the treadmills, so i had many to choose from. i picked the corner treadmill next to the mirror, the same one i used last night. tonight's program was a rebroadcast of sunday night's football game between the pats and the broncos. this must've confused anyone who looked at my HDTV and saw an american football game in progress. football as we know it must be completely foreign to most chinese. i ran 12km/h for the first 2000m, before i became tired enough to drop it down to 11km/h. i still finished 4000m in under 22 minutes. my goal is to do my run in 20 minutes flat.

after a shower, i did a load of laundry, then ironed all my shirts.