"happy birthday," i muttered to myself as i woke up at 6:30 to get ready for work. i was up early so i could take my time, and was finished and dressed by 7:00. i then went about making a traditional double egg breakfast my mother told me i had to make. in hindsight i should've used boiled water from the electric kettle (which is much faster) instead of boiling my own water. i also used way too much water, and the finished product had a diluted watery consistency which i had to fix by adding some ginger brown sugar. i only had 5 minutes to eat so i ate fast straight from the pot, rinsed everything, and was out the door by 7:23.

i met zhangkai in the elevator. i couldn't resist telling him that it was my 40th birthday today. "we should have a party," he said with a look of earnest seriousness, but i told him it wasn't necessary, even though a small part of me wanted that. the problem is there isn't enough people in the office i'd want to hang out with anymore that could be combined together to form a party. it's my style to spend big important days in the smallest possible ways. like eating ramen by myself in the hotel on chinese new year's eve. or possibly just spending my 40th birthday by myself. eating ramen. in my apartment.

if i was hoping for some birthday acknowledgement at the bus stop, that wasn't going to happen. i climbed onboard as soon as i got there, found a seat to sit by myself. i looked out the window and finally decided to close my eyes and maybe sleep for a bit with just minutes to go before we arrived at the office. the congestion from my cold made everything feel muffled. i shuffled to my desk in a haze.

the moment i arrived at the office i was already tired and sleepy. this is not a good sign. my birthday wish is i could have today off as well like i did on monday. that was the relaxing birthday i was supposed to be having today, my actual birthday. but it'd be too conspicuous to be taking another day off, especially after i had 9 days off for the spring festival.

* zhang kei came back to me with the party suggestion, but i told him i already made a some plans (dinner with lihui, maybe with xianglian too if she gets in touch with me before we leave work). the main reason i didn't want to was he's head of cost control, so the people he will end up eventually will be my frenemies. but zhang kei suggested friday night dinner instead to celebrate the last day of the chinese spring festival. it's going to be an awkward friday evening, dining with people i don't really like.
* long meeting from 9:30 to 12:00

* going out and walking in the cold briefly after lunch
that's when i felt the depression of reaching another milestone birthday. i really wanted to go back home at that moment. nobody in the office had wished me a happy birthday yet, i felt sort of abandoned. and though i'm friendly with a lot of people here, i wouldn't consider any of them good friends.

* 2:00 bored, waiting for the work day to end, slightly sleepy, not too bad
* meeting was supposed to continue from 1:15 to 3:00 but lluis cancelled, postponed until tomorrow
* my cold gets worse today: besides persistent body aches, my nose is also running like a faucet, thick coughs, and even the occasional sneezes. a waste basket of used tissue sits next to my desk. it's pretty gross. i'd totally take another sick day tomorrow but we have our meeting in the morning that i don't want to miss. maybe i will try to leave afterwards. * got in touch with xianglian who was looking forward to my birthday dinner
* lihui the unreliable terrible friend, showed up late for work today (around noontime), disappeared while we were leaving work, playing with his cell phone while we ate
* took the medium bus, got back into town early, picked up my clothes from the tailor. excellent job, i will go there again.

* walking far to the mutton soup place, turns out they're all out of mutton, we eat pork short ribs instead, not that it matters since i couldn't taste anything. lihui was all talking about how he was going to treat but when it came time to pay, i was the only one who sells out the cash (RMB$120).

* afterwards we walked back to our side of town, but i was having a hard time keeping warm, my body freezing despite just eating. we made a stop at the bakery where xianglian got me a birthday cake (RMB$15). back in my apartment i was excited to try it: mostly cream, with a small cake center.