i tried not to seem too happy that wangyang and her son were finally leaving today. we cooked up some frozen microwave pancakes for breakfast, i broke out a stick of fresh butter along with the maple syrup. wangyang asked me when we were leaving for the airport. her direct hainan airline flight back to shanghai was at 4:30pm, i told her the recommended time for international flights was 3 hours before departure, so we'd leave at around 1pm. she asked if we could leave earlier, as she wanted to buy some stuff at the duty free shop. leave early? perfectly fine by me!
as there was still some time, wangyang wanted to go down to harvard square to get some souvenirs from the coop. the moment she said that i knew what she really wanted: for me to babysit her son while she went out shopping. i told her i wouldn't do it. she's pulled this trick before and i wasn't going to fall for it again. besides (i didn't say this), but there was no guarantee i wouldn't murder him if he started another tantrum. i suggested an alternative plan: we'd all go down to harvard square, touch john harvard's foot, they go shopping at the coop while i get some famous cannolis from mike's pastry harvard store. easier said than done of course, since thomas once again didn't want to leave the house. we had to bribe him with a visit to the ward map store afterwards, where he could buy a MBTA trolley toy. we didn't leave until almost 11am.
when we got to harvard yard, thomas didn't want to get his photo taken with the harvard statue and wandered off (pretending to run away, but like the chickenshit that he is, always within eyesight of us), while i took a quick snapshot for wangyang. i dropped them at the coop while i left for the pastry shop. there was a handful of indecisive tourists inside the store, and two bored employees waiting for them to make an order. i bought a regular cannoli and a mocha cannoli ($4 each) and left with their eponymous box.
back at the coop, i tracked down wangyang. thomas was running around the store, touch things without supervision, frequently complaining to his mother about when we'd go back home. wangyang didn't seem concerned, but i was nervous her son might break something in the store, with the stacks of harvard mugs seemingly seconds away from crashing to the floor. she wanted to buy a t-shirt for her son but he wasn't interested. i was glad when we finally left.
even though we were heading back home, thomas was still complaining, and wouldn't even walk with us, preferring to walk on the other side of the street. as they didn't have much time anyway, it finally got to the point where it wasn't worth going to ward map anymore. once wangyang realized this, i quickly walked home by myself, leaving her to negotiate with her son back to the house. she came home after a while, but just by herself. she went to the bedroom to start packing. i thought she left thomas at the playground, but he was sitting on my neighbor's porch, sulking by himself. as this was embarassing to me, i went outside and told thomas to get inside and pack his things as we were about to leave for the airport. he reluctantly came in, grabbed his one suitcase, and waited in the foyer while he mother continued packing. at that point i really didn't give a shit. all i knew was that in another hour or so i'd be rid of them, and never have to see thomas ever again, the worst thing that's happens to me in a long time.
wangyang and i were still chatty and friendly, but it felt like pretending, as the elephant in the room was her son, still sulking. i opened the box of cannolis for her to try. of course she had to share some with her son, taking a piece into the foyer. i almost told her these were for her only, and that thomas couldn't have any. we finally left around 12:45pm. her son suddenly seemed to be in a happier mood.
we arrived at the airport by 1:15pm, still plenty of time and on schedule. while wangyang and i were busy taking out the suitcases from the trunk, thomas ran off to play with the luggage carts. when it came time to say good bye, it was mostly me talking, as wangyang was wrangling her son to say something, but he said nothing, not a single word, just squirmed and smirked. that rude little shit made my past 2 weeks a living hell and he wasn't even going to say good bye. that's so thomas! i actually said, "until we meet again!" which made me laugh on the inside because there was absolutely zero chance i would ever meet thomas again. well, maybe at his funeral, but not while he's alive.
leaving logan airport, i must've made it to belmont in record time (just 20 minutes), my emancipation run down storrow drive. there was hardly any traffic on a saturday afternoon. while i was having noodles for lunch, wangyang texted me they already went through customs and everything was okay. she also told me she left $200 in the back of the car. i complained that she shouldn't have, but actually, it's the least she could do for putting my life through hell.
while my father i worked in the backyard, my mother went with my godmother to h-mart, and didn't return until the early evening.
after dinner my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. the first thing i did was to wash all the sheets in my bedroom. just as i feared, there were blood stains from thomas' wounds, not just on the sheets, but somehow on the walls as well. fortunately it didn't get on the mattress. while the washing machine was running, i also vacuumed the house, picking up all the crumbs and hair they left behind. only then did it start feeling normal again.
before wangyang arrived, i was so excited about her visit. despite being here for only 2 weeks (minus 3 days in new york city), i'd planned all sorts of things to do and see and eat: daytrip to cape cod, a hike in the forest, wrentham village for some outlet shopping, a tour of boston, barbecue at my parents' place. we ended up doing almost none of those things.
first, there was the thing with her 6-7 year old son, who turned out to be history's greatest monster. we ended up doing what he wanted to do, which was very little. then there was the weather, that first week in boston with the heat wave that made outdoor traveling unbearable. maybe with some other guests that would just be a minor inconvenience, but the chinese are adversed to sun exposure, fearful of getting tanned. so that entire first week was wasted, i wasn't able to give them a tour of boston (which is my specialty, i've given so many to past roommates), we didn't even get to tour neighboring harvard square before thomas threw a tantrum and we returned home prematurely. the only things we did was visit the galleria mall, dinner at the shake shack, lobster for lunch in chinatown (which is ironic, since it's one of the few places they actually managed to visit in boston), primark, 4th of july barbecue, 4th of july fireworks (thomas throws an epic tantrum with crying and kicking in a crowded place), saw my garden plot, ride the commuter rail to the north end, and quincy market. fortunately i had the foresight to book us tickets on the duck tour that friday, so at the very least they could get a glimpse of boston before leaving for new york city for the weekend.
as for NYC, we didn't do much there either. we had tickets to the tour bus, but wangyang and her son were so adversed to sun, they spent half the time in the lower deck where you couldn't see anything. there was the empire state building, but we went during peak sunset hours and the place was crowded and i don't know if they got a good view. there was the natural history museum, which we separated, so i don't know if they saw all the highlights (i never asked). finally, they went on a harbor cruise around the statue of liberty, but wangyang said she hardly saw it because thomas had his accident the moment they arrived and she spent much of the time below deck once again so he could get first aid. new york also has some great restaurants, none of which we tried since our evening plans always ended in a thomas tantrum.
despite it all, i actually had a good time in new york, not having to take care of a spoiled kid. i loved the tour buses, never seen the city from that vantage point before. it's probably my second time visiting the empire state building, and despite the crowd, i got some good looks (next time: rockefeller: when you're on the empire state, you can't see the building itself). and i got some great food, including one of the most delicious korean fried chicken i've ever had from korea town and even managed to take a little side trip to flushing to get a haircut and some smelly tofu. plus, 2 nights in a hotel, the first time i've been alone in weeks.
when we returned to boston for that second week the weather was better, plus my roommate was gone, so we had the whole house to ourselves. i also had the car, which made for visiting places a lot easier. even then, we didn't do much: market basket, target (somerville and watertown), galleria mall (again), mt.auburn cemetery (washington tower), museum of fine art (using my sister's free pass), gyu-kaku korean barbecue for lunch. wangyang took her son to the aquarium one day, and coming back they revisited primark.
and that was it. there's a chinese saying, "可惜," which translates to "it's a pity," and that's how i feel about the past 2 weeks. it could've been so much better, and it should've been so much better, as i've spent pretty much my whole life living in boston, so she couldn't have found anyone else better to introduce her to the city. alas, her son was just too much to handle. had he been an obedient little boy things would've been different. but he really was the worst. bringing him to the US was not only a waste of money but a waste of time, not only for wangyang, but for me as well. when he grows up he'll hardly remember his time here, since he saw even less of the US than us. i of course will never invite them back ever again, or perhaps just wangyang, minus her terrible kid.
the one good thing to come out of these past 2 weeks is i lost some weight, about 5-6 lbs. part it has to do with actively taking them out everyday, part of it has to be do with stress, and part of it is the fact that i didn't snack very much while they were here. in fact, i ate very little.