this friday feels more like a saturday in that we don't have to work tomorrow. but this is how fridays are supposed to feel in a normal business work week. i've been here so long that i've forgotten what fridays feel like!

at least herbert is back in the office from his philippine vacation. i didn't think he was coming in until the middle of next week. now our department is at optimum capacity again, although less than 3 months before we're all demobilized.

persistence is one thing, but too much persistence reeks of desperation, and i wonder if i'm already there: i know i promised myself i wouldn't ask, but i did anyway. "would you like to have dinner tonight?" i texted XL. "too late, i have dinner plans." she was having dinner with her friend fangdan. then i asked her if she was going to mahui's afternoon KTV party, assuming that she was. "no," was her one word response. i stopped texting her after that.

when i asked mahui for details about this KTV party, she told my frenemy guo was coming. that was just too much for me: XL wouldn't be there but my frenemy would? there are better ways to spend a saturday. so i told mahui i wasn't coming, told her the truth, that i don't have very good relations with guo, and without XL there, it'd be even less fun.

i waited for XL out by the bus stop after work, but she ignored me, waiting for her friend instead. a little hurt, i quickly climbed onboard the medium bus. LXL - whom i thought would also be dining with XL - surprised me by getting onboard as well and asked if she could sit next to me. we chatted about her chongqing condo (which she sold recently, hoping to buy a bigger one in chengdu instead) and what houses are like in the US. speaking of which, i asked her about the story i heard from XL how LXL's US visa application was denied. she said that wasn't her, whomever that was.

why i didn't think of it sooner i don't know - maybe i was blindsided by XL since she and LXL are good office friends - but i suddenly realized LXL might be up for dinner. "do you eat spicy? would you be up for some ganguo?" not only was she game, she also volunteered to pay, which i declined. why are some girls easy while other girls hard? and why do i always go for the hard ones?

so once we arrived back in town, we went to my favorite jiza ganguo restaurant opposite the changshou library/stadium. the place was surprisingly crowded tonight (all the times i've came it's been rather empty) but there were still tables available. we ordered a small ganguo (RMB$38 plus RMB$4 for a large bowl of shared rice). while we ate, we exchanged travel stories. LXL has done a fair amount of traveling as well, all while in her 20's: italy, east africa, vietnam, thailand, western sichuan. the talked about the pros of solo traveling, how you come to know a place much better when you have to figure out things for yourself inside of following a guide/friend. when she was in italy she also wanted to visit other parts of europe including france and germany but didn't have the chance. other places on her wish list include turkey and central america (to see some mayan ruins).

later in the evening close to 11:00, XL commented on the photo i uploaded of LXL during dinner. i told her i really wanted to eat with her instead but she wasn't available. we ended up text messaging for about half an hour. she then abruptly said she was going to sleep and wouldn't see me until sunday, when we're supposed to go back to work.