XL arrived at the bus stop a few minutes before we were about to leave. "good morning," she said, not looking at me, chewing on her fried pancake breakfast. i found 2 empty seats on the bus and waited for her to follow behind me but she sat down with somebody else. so that was how my monday started. after being gone on vacation for 10 days, XL returns without as much as a "happy to see you again."

the past few weeks i've developed a twitch in my right eye. this has happened before in the past, but never for this long. i don't think it's work stress because i'm hardly ever stressed from work. it could be the lack of sleep, poor diet, failed romance, rigorous work schedule, etc. finally catching up to me. i'm hoping it'll go away on its own if i can ever commit to a healthy 8-hour-per-night sleep schedule. as for the other things, all i can say is i have 2 more months of work and then i no longer have to worry about those things.

i don't feel much like working on this monday morning, but then again, who does? mondays are universally reviled in the work industry, more so for me since i'm looking down the barrel of a long 6-day work week. the key to survival is to treat the week like a marathon, to pace myself, leave some work for later in the week, don't overdo it every day. what i'd really like to do is to go home and play with my toys. i've got a panasonix lumix camera CCD that requires cleaning now that i have a set of replaceable-head screwdrivers. i'd also like to go for a run, to clear my head, but there was a drizzle this morning that i'm not sure will stop early enough for the track field to dry.

internet was down in the office this morning. local network worked fine, but i couldn't get online. i went to find the korean-side IT guy (the chinese-side IT guy lihui is currently on vacation) who said "i'm working on it," before i even got a chance to talk to him. we were finally back online 20 minutes later.

for breakfast, i brought my leftover babao rice porridge from last night.

i wasn't in a bad mood at work, but i made no efforts to go visit XL in the contract department. i am not going to expend anymore efforts trying to woo her, the days of wooing are over. i'm also not particularly fond of the contract department, still remembering how they failed to invite me to dinner last week. i did notice later in the afternoon that both LXL and MH are absent today. but i don't want to be the person she only hangs out with when her usual friends aren't here. XL came to me around 4:00 to sign this week's timesheet. "you must be really busy," she said. yes, busy wondering what's up with her. she sat down briefly but before we could have a chance to chat, she left.

in the afternoon i took a break to go outside. i had one of those moments of, "what am i doing here?" one thing my stint here in china has taught me is to make better use of my time. with just one weekend day per week and cramming as much activities as possible into one single day, i realize how precious time is. it also helps that i turned 40 here in china, with a bit more awareness of my own mortality. returning home, i will also be more thankful for the level of freedom and protection we take for granted living in the US.

after work, xianglian and i hung out outside. since the buses don't leave until 6:10, there's no point climbing onboard to a stuffy cabin. she'd texted me yesterday that she had to take her friend to the hospital because she got splattered with hot oil. i asked what happened. apparently her friend decided to toss something in a heavy wok full of hot oil and ended up getting splashed on her face, her hands, and her feet. it sounded like a horrible story but XL was laughing about it, which seemed like the wrong attitude to have when your friend is being scalded by oil.

we finally climbed onboard the nearly empty bus. i figured we'd get to sit together, but she sat down next to some guy while i sheepishly picked an empty seat in the back. all i could hear was her laughing and having a good time. it drove me absolutely crazy that i got off to take one of the other buses. the few passengers that were onboard gave me curious looks as i got off. this actually isn't the first time this has happened, i've gotten off the bus, thinking XL would sit next to me while she ended up sitting next to someone else.

i played it cool, standing back outside, sipping my tea, pretending nothing had happened, but i was pretty angry. from a distance i saw mrs.gu, who gestured there was a medium bus waiting to take us back into town. so i took that bus instead, nursing a bruised ego all the way home.

i can't believe what terrible luck i have, this is the second time here in china where i have a crush on some girl who shows no interest in me, yet i'm too blind to see it despite all sorts of signs and red flags. i should just enjoy the 70 more days of work i have, and not get myself caught up in some sort of entangling alliance. i don't think i was particularly happy or sad when i was alone, but circling around the relationship wagon is making me downright miserable.

i made rice porridge for dinner, a combination of pickled long beans, smoked pork, and leftover korean kimchi. i had a side dish of pickled garlic and sichuan paocai. the flavors were intense, but i could feel it wrecking havoc on my blood pressure, which i later took a reading of and saw my numbers skyrocket (160/120, hello strokeville!). i ate while watching last night's episode of game of thrones.

rest of the evening i was waiting for XL to text me like she was doing before she left for her vacation - just so i can ignore her, but she never did text me. the only person who QQ'd me was WWY, asking for one of the rhinoceros photos i took at the zoo yesterday.