ah, monday morning! i went to bed around midnight, a little sip of baijiu (53% alcohol) making me even sleepier. not that i have any problems with falling asleep, but baijiu really conks me out, like a little extra push into unconsciousness. i hope this won't turn me into an alcoholic but i'm not particularly worried.

i woke up without any problems, got ready for work as usual. i ran into ZF coming out of the bakery shop with some bread. she wore red pants. she asked me about my weekend, i told her we didn't see a lot of flowers but the weather was very nice. she disappeared onto the bus while i waited for XL. i was hoping to sit with her, but once we were onboard, i sat by myself while she sat with her usual guy bus buddy. maybe this was to get back at me for saturday morning's awkwardness. all i know is there is way too much morning drama.

getting off the bus, XL turned to me and whispered her body ached all over from yesterday's excursion to college town. my body hurt too, but after a day of wandering around, i'm sort of used to it by now. my butt hurt the most, from the hard bicycle seat, followed by my thighs. i can still move around fine though, not enough pain to be limping around.

i thought mr.lee would be back at work so was surprised to see his desk still empty. herbert told me that he was probably coming in tomorrow, by which time herbert will be on his vacation. most of my work is done in the early morning, after which i don't have too much to do. this morning i went to go talk with mr.ma and wangshuo about man hours, but after that i had nothing else to do the rest of the day. boredom leads to sleepliness and it was another tortuous day of trying to stay awake.

i saved WY today during lunch. she seems especially unhappy since YW left, and now usually sits alone during lunchtime, which for me is heartbreaking to see. i was sitting with LH and she sat at another table by herself. i went over and asked her if she wanted to join us. sitting at our table, she suddenly seemed so much more animated and chatted with us while we ate together. maybe the 3 of us will start our own little lunch clique, made up of people who used to sit alone.

after lunch i went outside the office for a walk. i tried to find XL but she was nowhere's to be found. the weather - another blue sky sunny day - was warm enough that i rolled up my sleeves. i went in search of chinese wildflowers, took some photos with my camera phone.

i noticed today that my forearms are a little darker than what they once where. must've gotten a bit of tan yesterday. i saw XL, who was a bit pink. i know i'd gotten some sun because i can feel the skin of my forehead hurting when i crinkle my brow.

i reminded XL that tomorrow night is special dico's 2-for-1 chinese friend chicken night. once again, for the 3rd time, she can't come with me. excuse this time: she recently had a wisdom tooth pulled. that's a pretty legit excuse i have to admit, but still, it seems like forces beyond our control is preventing us from enjoying chinese fried chicken together.

there's a new girl in the office. i saw her last week, sitting out by the front desk area. she seemed like she was here to interview, had that slightly skittish look. but she was so singularly attractive in a way that i couldn't stop gawking. and maybe it might've been my imagination but i noticed she kept looking at me as well. i saw her again today, seemed like she's working here now. in what department i don't know, probably turnover because they have their own office so i don't often see the folks who work there.

lihui asked me if i wanted to go visit his college next sunday. i tentatively agreed but said it all depends on the weather. he marked me down as a definite and then wrote back his 2 friends who were coming with us. when XL came by to pick up some print outs, i innocently told her lihui asked me to go visit his college with him next weekend. "with 2 girls," he suddenly added, which was a surprise to me, because i thought these were college guy buddies. "tony can't go," XL told lihui, in a surprisingly display of territory marking. "because you want the two girls to yourself," she said to LH. "would you like to come along?" i asked XL, but suddenly remembered she was going to her friend's wedding this weekend. that however was on a saturday. she was still free on sunday. "i have to work on that day," she said. so reluctantly i've been fixed up on a double date with lihui, in full disclosure to XL. had i known earlier that it was with 2 girls, i might've reconsidered going, since i want to see what XL is up to this weekend.

maybe what transpired contributed to the drama that would take place on the bus ride back home. following LH, xianglian and i caught the medium bus back into town. we sat together. she then proceded to shamelessly flirt with the guys on the bus, trying to get them to invite her out to dinner tonight. this can't be some sort of retaliation for LH's fix-up mess-up, could it? i shouldn't feel threatened because most of those guys are married with children anyway. regardless, it still made me feel both jealous and awkward at the same time, as i sat with my arms crossed, looking out the window. the weird thing was she didn't have time for fried chicken night tomorrow, but had no problems going out to spicy food despite her recent dental surgery. what is it with china people and their hot and cold personalities? everyone seemed to be having a good time joking around, and it sounded like no dinner would take place after all. as we got close to town though, XL nudged me with her sharp elbow and asked if i wanted to join them for dinner. "we need one more person," she said. thanks, i thought, that makes me feel extra special to be included as a last minute addition. it made me a little angry; yesterday we were having this great time, and today i seemed like an afterthought. i told her i wanted to go home and eat my rice porridge. she kept insisting i go though, and i was still undecided up until we got off the bus.

i decided to go after all, as a free dinner is hard to turn down, no matter what the circumstances. some guy from construction management was treating, and XL's contract department boss mr.zhuang joined us as well. originally we were going to go to a salt and pepper ribs soup place, but that restaurant is so popular, you need to reserve a table before 4:00 if you want dinner there. so instead we went next door, to a gan guo restaurant, and ordered the duck feet gan guo. i was pretty quiet the whole time, not even breaking a smile, feeling confused and miserable and hurt. i could barely keep up with their dinner conversation since they were talking about work and using terms i didn't know the meaning off. so on top of all of that, i felt stupid as well. i was glad when dinner was finally over, since my apartment was just across the street.

i came home and did a load of laundry (washing my hooded sweatshirt) before ironing more than half a dozen shirts (at about 5-6 minutes a shirt, it took a while).

i joined instagram saturday night. it's a bit of a hassle because most US social networking sites are blocked here in china, including instagram. i can only access it through a VPN connection. i always thought it was a fad, like twitter and tumblr, but it's surprisingly easy to use and actually kind of fun. i have my instagram photos connected to my facebook account; haven't yet figured out how to do the same for my flickr account. now my non-chinese friends can enjoy some of my china snapshots as well!