i heard the sound of packaging tape unmasking this morning as annie and her mother secured her shipments. she asked me to help her print out a few shipping labels. she also asked one more favor: fedex was coming to pick up the shipment today, and if i wouldn't mind staying home between 10am to 6pm. it was such an incredulous request i was surprised she even asked it. i told her i couldn't possibly stay home the entire day. she said in that case she could simply put her packages on the front steps. never mind that they wouldn't all fit, there was also the risk that they might get stolen. i told her she could put her packages on the side of the house and leave a note on the door; it still wouldn't be 100% secure but better than simply leaving them on the porch. while she called the shipping company to see if she could narrow her pickup window and ask if it'd be okay if we left the packages on the side, i went to the basement to grab a tarp so she wouldn't have to put her things on the dirt.

i helped them move her shipment. i was surprised to see it was just 2 small suitcases and a box. the suitcases were fine, but the box was incredibly heavy - filled with books - such that it took 2 people to move it. i wondered if fedex would even take it, that they should've split the content into two boxes instead.

soon afterwards they left. they didn't say where, i had to asked. they were going back to annie's office so she could copy all her research files, then afterwards hang out in harvard square.

i left the house around 1:30pm, headed into boston to chinatown then haymarket. i didn't really need anything, it was just an excuse to get some exercise on this hot but dry day. i also brought my camera in case i came around any photo opps.

i went back to the herald street c-mart to score more longans. the two bags i bought last week all rotted within a day or two after being left outside to ferment in the hot weather. fortunately they still them on sale, but $2.50/lbs. instead of $2. i grabbed two bags. i also left with a container of yangmei and a bottle of fortune kitty soda drink.

instead of following the rose kennedy greenway, i cut through downtown crossing to reach the faneuil hall haymarket area. it's a lot quicker and more direct, though i had to dodge a few pedestrians. not much to see at haymarket, i left with: $2 worth of long horn peppers ($1.50/lbs.), $1 of assorted small colored potatoes, $2 worth of ginger ($1.50/lbs.), a box of blueberries ($1), and a bundle of white asparagus ($1). i was tempted to get some ranier cherries ($2/lbs.) but they didn't seem to be in good shape, cheaper than the bing cherries ($3/lbs.). i also saw a vendor who was selling lychees, but i already had two bags of longans.

i returned to cambridge via longfellow, heading directly to the cafe to drop off my haul. having learned my lesson from last week, i bought a bottle of frozen water with me. placed in my cup holder, it bounced out and fell into the street; i didn't bother going after it.

my godmother was at the cafe knitting with my mother. my mother showed me the hanguoyu pineapple cakes and was going to give me one but decided against it because i'm not a hanguoyu supporter (he's the taiwanese kuomintang presidential candidate who wants to unify with china). i left with some shredded beef and rice my father had made.

when i returned to the house by 4pm all of annie's packages were gone. so was the note on the door. i was going to send annie a text but realized she must've been home earlier because the note was inside. where she and her mother went now i don't know. also arriving in the mail was my solar-powered bird fountain, i'll bring it to belmont tomorrow to test.

around 5pm i saw annie's mother walking home. i opened the door for her but she walked right by, before noticing me. "i'm not coming home yet," she said, heading instead to the supermarket. 15 minutes later i saw annie coming down the street as well, in the direction of her mother. they finally came back around 6pm.

judging from the meats defrosting in the fridge, they weren't going out to dinner on their last night in boston. unlike sandy and kelvin, annie and her mother are the least food centric people i know, it made me sad thinking they didn't sample all the delicious foods boston has to offer. in fact, i found out annie never took her mother to chinatown, so that's the only thing her mother didn't see in her tour of boston.

while annie's mother was cooking i heated up the beef and rice for dinner and ate in the kitchen while chatting. i have more conversations with annie's mother than with annie, who was on her bed texting and waiting for dinner. i asked the mother what's the best attraction in boston: she said it was the museum of fine art (she loved that it was so uncrowded) and the overall healthy environment of boston, with some many trees, a farcry from beijing. i also recommended that they take the double decker new york city tourist bus if they have time, as it's a great way to see the city. she perked up when i told her they have chinese translations. when annie came out i asked her what she wanted to see in new york. she seemed low energy, said she hadn't research any of that stuff yet.

i was already done with dinner when annie's mother finally finished cooking. she invited me to eat with them (for the very first time!) and chat some more, even though she saw me finish my dinner. i tasted a bite of her chicken stirfry, she warned me it was spicy; in fact it was quite bland, i was not impressed. i left them to have their dinner.

later in the evening annie asked me to print out the bus boarding passes for her. it was with a a bus company i'd never heard of before (ourbus). when i checked the departure address, it said 39 dalton street, boston. it wasn't a south station bus, but rather one that was leaving the sheraton hotel in the backbay. i thought it was strange and when i asked annie about it she said she didn't check the departure address, just that it was the cheapest fare. sure it, $10 for a one-way ticket is pretty cheap these days. when i asked her earlier where they were staying, she said west of new york, in an air b&b. that could only mean new jersey, but she said the description said it was easily accessible to the city. when i asked her for the address, she seemed reluctant and never gave it. i was just trying to be helpful, help figure out the best routes, but not a big deal. if she ends up living in a shithole that's her learning experience.

annie went out briefly with a trash bag filled with things she was giving to her somerville friend. when she came back i asked her for her keys so i don't forget tomorrow morning.

annie came out one last time to tell me they were leaving early tomorrow. i think maybe she was trying to say good bye, but when i told her i'd be up by 7am as well, she said okay, saving her farewell speech for tomorrow morning instead.

i downloaded a copy of gantz: o and finished watching it today. i knew it was a manga and then a live action movie, but the CGI anime felt like the more accessible introduction into the gantz world. the story is this: basically when you die you're recruited by gantz to help exterminate monsters. like in a video game, you earn points, and once the battle is over, you're scored. reach a certain point, you can either exit the gantz world and be brought back to life, earn special weapons, or resurrect a dead player. the premise is super stupid, and only the japanese could've thought of it. but there are some noteworthy moments in the movie, like how "players" disintegrate in see-through slices (like an MRI scan). the suits they wear that protects them and gives them super human powers are also cool looking. the weapons are also unique, one gun fires stomping charges that seem to fall out of the sky, while another wraps up the monsters in neon strings then disintegrates them. there's also plenty of fan service, as the two female characters only seem to be there as bouncy eye candy. the monsters turn out to be aliens even though they're pulled from japanese mythology (like the tengu). it's not a good movie, but i still enjoyed it.

even though i had to wake up early to see annie and her mother leave, i couldn't help myself and watched the season finale of jett which aired earlier tonight. only 9 episodes this season, it was so good. they finished some stories but also opened up a few new ones. cinemax would be crazy not to renew the show for a 2nd season. word on the street is even if it's renewed, the 2nd season won't air until 2021 due to production schedules.