i went to bed late last night, around 2:00. i don't know why i usually sleep the latest friday nights, force of habit i suppose, since i always seem to forget i have another day of work to get through on saturday. it goes without saying that i had trouble waking up this morning. the best sleeps are the ones where i wake up in the middle of the night to check the time and recalibrated my internal clock. when i wake up from those kind of sleeps, it's graceful and a soft landing. but when i don't get enough sleep, i'm abruptly awoken by my alarm clock, and it's clumpsy and painful.

originally i was going to go to fengcheng market early in the morning to look for santa heads. but the idea had a flaw which was none of the stores would be opened 6-7am in the morning. and by the time they did, i would've already missed an hour or two of work. i decided not to go after all.

surprisingly, loren wasn't back in the office today, the night of our farewell dinner. he called me saying he was in the hospital getting an IV drip to treat his dehydration. that guy must be the sickest guy in the office or it's all part of his elaborate lie to not come in to work. i didn't believe his story, so instead of offering sympathy, i unsympathetically asked him if he'd still be able to make it to dinner tonight. he said he'd let me know, but potentially with no guest of honor at the farewell dinner, it was pointless to have one. so we're rescheduling for tuesday, hopefully with more additional ladies in our group (wangyan might be able to attend, i'm trying to negotiate with ZF) since we plan on going to a KTV afterwards (the horrors).

around 10:00 the office lost water, a side effect of the nearby city (yanjia) losing a portion of their electricity. that is one memory i have of china, frequent black out and water stoppages. i expect the office to smell like the bathroom later in the day.

at 11:25, people were already marching out of the office to get onboard the 2 buses that would take us to the nearby town of yanjia for lunch. this is because the caterer that normally brings in our food don't have electricity today (maybe their water either). the bus ride took just a few short minutes, and we arrived in the part of town that still had power. the restaurant had already been booked, with a sign outside that said in chinese, "special pig brain." i sat down with a portion of the contract department and not with the usual cost control group, although xiao sat next to me because we sat next to each other on the bus. xianglian was there, but so was xiaoshen my office stalker, who earlier was asking me why i'd been ignoring her when i've done no such thing and i told her let's just be normal coworkers. this weird whatever-you-call-it is especially ironic since it sort of mirrors the whatever-you-call-it that i had with fengya, except i'm on the other end of the infatuation equation. but nobody can ever accuse me of stalking. so however i treat XS is with the same level of courtesy i'd hoped i'd receive from FY.

the food was very good, the best "office" lunch i've had since coming here.

on the bus i sat in the back with an employee i'd never seen before but he seemed to know me for some reason. "i heard you grew up in america?" he asked me. he worked in the warehouse department, where i know at least two people (mao and zengfei) who know my personal story and could've told him. i told him the story of my pedigree. turns out his last name is yang as well.

the water was back on when we returned to the office around noontime. employees from the korean half of the consortium weren't as lucky with their lunch plans and ate in the office despite no catering services. in the trash cans i saw a lot of instant noodle bowls.

xiaoshen my office stalker continued to pester me with attention, despite the fact that she should've quit while she was ahead. just recalling the details of what she wrote me makes me cringe. she asked me why i was ignoring her, i told her i wasn't treating her any different from before, but i added she should stop chasing after me. she disclaimed everything by saying she has a boyfriend, but thought i was very cute and only natural for her to shower me with attention, and made some reference to i was like a teddy bear. even after i said she was acting like a stalker, she would not shut up. she's pushed it over a line that i had no choice but to ban her from my QQ list. thankfully i have a sunday to get away from her, but i'm afraid of returning to work come monday.

it's kind of amazing how little work i can do in the office. i seem to have an ability to look busy but be absolutely doing nothing. not that i wasn't busy at one point, but i did all my work at the start of the week and now i have nothing to do. in hindsight, it would've been a good day to take off. but then i would've missed the delicious but awkward lunch in yanjia.

today, with just an hour and a half left of work, i went outside and stood in the freezing rain, dreaming about going home. not changshou home, but cambridge home. how good would it feel to be back in familiar surroundings, away from office drama, away from this work, back to my former life of semi-unemployed freelance computer programmer? what's more important: playing office and making a little bit of money, or making better use of my time and getting on with my life back in boston? miserable weather always makes people contemplative. parts of my time here in changshou have been fun, but parts of my time here have also been boring and heartbreaking. it's good that i still see more of the good than the bad. it's just a weird time in my life.

despite the freezing rain, lihui and i decided to go to old changshou after work. i wanted to look for chinese santa claus heads, he wanted to eat. but the rain picked up a bit, so we decided to just eat back in town.

we went to the guizhou lamb rice noodle place. another coworker came in and we asked him to join us. he's actually the guy i met the first time i ate here and he's also the guy whom i bought my gym membership card from. i got the round rice noodles this time, a much better upgrade. lihui ended up paying. afterwards i went to the bakery to get a sandwich for tomorrow morning and my new tradition of buying a single chinese custard pastry for dessert.