for lunch i ate the rest of the leftover christmas ham while watching the jets-patriots game. new england would eventually win the game 38-3. i thought it'd be a lot closer, but the jets had nothing to play for, and word on the street was new york head coach todd bowles would be fired afterwards after too many lackluster seasons. tom brady seemed to be targeting everyone, letting each person on offense a chance to touch the ball before going into the post-season.
sandy and kelvin were due to arrive in boston at 2pm. she never gave me their flight number, but i deduced it was a british airway flight as that was the only plane arriving in boston at 2pm departing from london. at 2:51pm sandy sent me a text on whatsapp to let me know they were about to take an uber to my place. it didn't take them very long to get here after that, about 20 minutes or so. the sounds of car doors closing alerted me that they had arrived.
sandy and kelvin arrived wit several suitcases. in anticipation of our new england weather, both of them were sporting puffy jackets. sandy was a small friendly young woman while kelvin was a big guy with a haircut that reminded me of a korean kpop singer. when they first came in they were wondering if they should take their shoes off but decided to do so anyway. i spoke with them in mandarin chinese but i noticed only sandy was responding. later i asked them, and kelvin said he could understand mandarin but can't speak it, so i switched to english. both of them had british accents, sandy's tinged with cantonese, kelvin speaking like a UK native.
i issued each of them a key and a complimentary MBTA charlie card. i was embarrassed to show them the guest bedroom with the small twin bed that had to share, but they seemed to be okay with it. i gave them a quick tour of the house, including how to use the nest thermostat if they felt cold, but the fahrenheit numbers made no sense to them.
after i let them settle in, sandy told me that they were leaving for new york city tomorrow morning, and will be gone for 3 days. my favorite kind of roommates, the kind that's never here! i thought maybe they were going to time square to see the ball drop, but they seemed to be wise that it'd be a big mistake and said they would do other stuff instead. she asked when she could pay the rent, i said there was no hurry, she could do it after they came back from their trip.
i asked them what they planned on doing the rest of the day. they said maybe get some groceries from the super market across the street and then find some dinner. i told them that harvard square was just a short walk away (still about an hour of daylight left) and there were several restaurants just around the corner (hawaiian, chinese, thai/vietnamese, burgers). that reminded me to show them how to work the dead bolt on the front door. i asked them if there was anything else, they said if they could have the wifi password, which i totally forgot to give them (the most important thing!).
i drove to belmont by around 3:20pm. the game was still in progress but the patriots had a big enough lead that victory was all but certain. it was my mother's birthday today, and my sister was taking us to a place in allston for korean tofu stew. but my mother kept on talking about spring shabu shabu and how she wanted to go back, so that's what we ended up doing, leaving the house at 4:30pm as soon as my sister arrived.
this being our second time in three days, we were seasoned pros at the art of shabu shabu buffet. we decided to get a table closer to the buffet counters, away from the far end of the restaurant where it was colder. they ended up giving us a table along a busy walkway, what we made up for in convenience we lost in privacy. our greeter was the same girl who was our waitress 2 nights ago, but she didn't seem to recognize us. i noticed when my father went to the food counters he was stocking up on tofu. i took an ice cream break in between plates of food. i didn't take any noodles this time, but like my father i too love the tofu, though not as much as he does. i took some frozen korean rice cakes and these crunchy gluten nuggets. i also didn't take too much leafy vegetables but did stock up on the different mushrooms. i ate until i couldn't eat anymore.
back in belmont it was still early so i watched some football before leaving around 8pm, taking the car since i'd be back tomorrow. when i got back to cambridge, my roommates hadn't returned yet. i went across the street to get a box of clementines from star market before taking a shower. they came back when i was still in the bathroom. i asked them where they went: instead of harvard square, they actually took the subway from porter square all the way to chinatown to get some korean fried chicken for dinner. we were thinking of where else they could go during this month-long period where they're both here. they'd thought about washington dc, and maybe niagara falls (they found an all inclusive $150/person tour package), but somebody told them there's nothing to see during the winter, and besides sandy couldn't cross into canada with her visa anyway and the view from the american side of buffalo isn't all that great.
kelvin said maybe with the money they save from not going to niagara falls they could instead go see a celtics game. he also said they might go back to new york city again, depending on how it goes this time around. kelvin asked if i had a recycle bin for some trash, and i was surprised to discover that they don't actually do municipal recycling with their weekly trash. kelvin asked if there were any good breakfast places (for tomorrow), i said they definitely have to try dunkin' donuts, which have simple breakfast sandwiches, but it's a local institution. sandy was worried that the government shutdown would affect her program, since it's funded by the smithsonian; her advisor even told her he wouldn't be in the office this week due to the furlough, so she was wondering if she could stay a few extra days in new york city. they decided to go to bed, as they've been up since 5am european time, taking a 2 hour bus into london heathrow airport as they apparently live on the outskirts of london. later i thought i overheard them speaking cantonese to one another; it never dawned on me that even though he can't speak mandarin, it doesn't mean he can't speak another chinese dialect, like cantonese. it'd make sense, since cantonese hong kong and england have a shared history.