i used the withing pulse to monitor my sleep last night. i didn't have a special pulse bracelet so i just clipped the pulse to a rubberband around my arm. the data is pretty interesting: in bed for 6:29 but actually asleep only 6:15; 2:47 of light sleep alternating with 3:28 of deep sleep. the optimal amount of sleep is 8 hours, the only way i can get that is i'm in bed by 10:00, which is pretty difficult but not impossible. maybe tonight i'll give it a try.

it was already 7:29 so i climbed onboard the bus, not seeing XL anywhere. i sat next to ZF, who scooched over to make room for me (she sat by an aisle seat). that's when XL got onboard the bus. i waved hello but she didn't seem to make any effort to say hello back, more preoccupied about finding a seat. the bus was very empty this morning, and once again, she sat in a seat by herself. i was compelled to join her but at the risk of being too obvious so i didn't move (but my body language revealed my intention, as i leaned into the aisle). the weird thing was her usual bus buddy had a free seat across from her but she decided to sit solo. i'm probably reading too much into this whole morning "who sits next to whom" drama, but if it was up to me, i'd be happy to sit next to XL everyday if she doesn't get bored of my company. ZF and i talked about ear-piercing, because unlike XL, she has pierced ears. she told me she had it done in a store when she was around 10. she said she's seen ear-piercing guns for sale online and was interested in buying one, even though the typical chinese person doesn't have too many piercings. she only wore one earring, a gift from a relative, and she used to have a set but lost the other one. i asked her if she's ever worn hoop earrings before (those are my favorite) and she said yes. even though we've never hung out before, i've learned a lot about ZF during these little bus or lunch chats. talking with her is easy in a way that's different from talking with XL. hanging out with XL is hard in that she's very set in her ways and takes a lot of effort to change her mind, if it's even possible. she's still very interesting in a fiercely independent kind of way, but more like a force of nature than a potential partner. we've hung out for several months now, and i still haven't figured her out.

getting off the bus, XL told me that she wasn't up to any fried chicken tonight. this i already knew because she told me yesterday, but i told her the day was long and maybe by the time we go home she might be up for some chicken wings at least.

mr.lee was back in the office. after welcoming him, i gave him the resume of that short term cost control applicant from mongolia. he didn't do anything with it at first, but when i told him later that ms.fu might be gone for good, he took the resume straight to their admin department to get them to at least give this guy a call. despite only having a few years of work experience, it happens to be in the field that we're in need of the most, and the most important part is he's willing to start immediately and work for a short-term contract.

i noticed it yesterday, but i have this itchy rash on the palm of my hands, very similar to the dermatitis i regularly get back at home. this morning i finally made the connection: i got it from the hand grips of the bicycle i was riding. so that must mean the rashes i get back at home are also caused by bicycle hand grips. maybe i'm allergic to something in the rubber. or maybe it's a moisture-pressure thing. whatever it is, i finally have some idea of how i seem to get it every year, especially around the summertime.

LH and i sat with mr.zhuang today during lunch, with XL joining us a short time later. a lot of people from the contract department have either gone or on leave, so their department is (temporarily) understaffed as well. after lunch i asked XL if she wanted to take a stroll, but she said she had to work through her break. i used up my one hour playing around with instagram.

herbert left for his vacation back to the philippines around 2:00. he won't be back until the first week of april. mr.lee asked me what i planned on doing after this project was over. i told him i was just returning to boston, take some classes, and get a programming job. he reiterated the offer the korean project manager mr.yi proposed to me before he left last month: that the korean company wanted to hire me. mr.lee gave me a bit more details: i'd spend the first year and a half working in south korea, then spent another year and a half in oman. if i was a younger man i would jump on this opportunity, but kind of just want to settle down at this point, get a girlfriend, get married, start a family before i get even older. mr.lee told me i could find a nice girl in korea, where there are many beautiful ladies. if i couldn't do it in china - where i actually speak some of the language - i don't think my chances will be any better in korea.

in the afternoon i was outside in the courtyard taking a break, when i heard someone calling my name behind me. it was mr.song, head of korean admin. i didn't know he smoked, but all the work stress has gotten to him and he's recently started again. he asked me what i wanted to do after this project was over (there seemed to be a lot of that going around today) and said he wanted to visit america - where he's never been before (south korean passports can enter the US without a visa).

at 4:30 XL surprised me and told me she would have fried chicken with me after all. so now i take back most of those mean things i said about her earlier. but i still stand by my assessment that she's unpredictable, and i still can't quite figure her out yet if ever.

most of my coworkers booked it out of the office by 5:50, even though the buses back into town can't leave until 6:10. XL was already gone while i finished up some work on a spreadsheet, shut down my computer, and went to go use the bathroom before finally leaving. she was however waiting outside, along with the rest of the office. nobody wanted to get on the bus just yet since it's just too stuffy inside.

XL and i sat together on the bus. i've noticed she takes pleasure in teasing all the guys on the bus. i was jealous yesterday, but today i just sat back and admired a craftsman at work, taunting each men one by one. "stop bullying them!" i chided her.

getting off the bus we both kept our intentions secret, keeping it on the down low that we were going to go get fried chicken together. it was a little weird whowever hen one of the office guys followed us as well. did she invite a 3rd person to our private party without asking me first? i was little confused but played along. he came with us to dico's as well, but ordered for himself, borrowing XL's membership card (i have one too but forgot it at home). XL and i ended up getting RMB$100 worth of fried chicken, including some wings for her roommate, and some extra pieces for my own dinner tomorrow night. after we got our order we headed back to my place.

the dinner topic du jour was XL's friend fangdan's wedding this saturday. XL told me i was still eligible to go if i was still interested. other than the few reserved tables for close family members, it was basically sit where ever you wanted. of course i'd be obligated to give a gift in the form of cash, so naturally my presence would be more than welcomed even if i am sort of crashing the party. i'm seriously thinking about going, even though i'm not too sure how i'd get there. only for the dinner though, i have to work that saturday.

i also asked XL what's the customary amount. "a month's salary?" i casually tossed out. "no!" that's too much she told me. but the minimum is usually at least RMB$200. had fangdan invited me to her wedding (as promised), i would've gone as high as RMB$1000.

we also talked about the pickled radish XL gave to my parents as a gift. they'd already ate half of what she gave them, and was about to eat the rest (dried radishes that need to be soaked first). "i know," XL told me, revealing she'd been in communique with my parents via QQ.

XL tried my bathroom scale. she shrieked, even though i told her it was displaying in pounds. when you live in a metric world, weighing yourself in the heavier pounds can be scary. "don't look!" she said, but i already saw, 108 lbs. i toggled the setting to metric so she could get a better reading. she said since last sumemr she's put on a few chinese kilo, which is roughly the same as pounds.

XL left around 8:20, but not before helping me to wash some dishes and clear the countertop while i kept insisting she didn't have to do any of that. i was going to go with her to the supermarket but she was getting some feminine hygiene products so i decided i'd be too embarrassed to tag along.