sometime in the afternoon i realized i was missing my glass pie dish. i went across the street to star market to pick up a box of clementines but also to check if they had any pie dishes; they sold some pyrex glassware but a pie dish wasn't one of them. around 3pm i texted kevin asking him where he was. he said he'd just gotten on the silver line bus leaving the airport. so he's a cheapskate like me! opting for the free option instead of taking a taxi/uber.
it'd probably take another hour before kevin got here, which gave me enough time to run out and buy a pie dish. they sold them at target but not at the porter square store. the beacon street target had them but it'd be a mess trying to traverse union square with the ongoing green extension project. so i tried my luck at porter square, checking out either michael's or the bigger star market. michael's didn't carry any baking glassware, but star market had 9" pyrex dish for $5.99. i couldn't believe my luck, saved me a difficult trip across union square.
out of curiosity, i took a peek at the true value store. they also carried pyrex dishes, both the 9" ($8) and the 9-1/2" ($13). that put doubt in my mind. do i need the 9" or the 9-1/2"? back at home i checked again at the target store. the one they sold was the 9-1/2" version, which was only $5.29. should've gone to target instead! but in the meantime i just hoped the 9" pie dish would be large enough for the quiche i'd be making later tonight. according to the recipe anyway, 9" was the correct size.
kevin arrived at exactly 4pm, texting from outside as he didn't know how to use the antique doorbell. he arrived in a hooded sweatshirt and a large suitcase. he said it was cold but his winter jacket was in his luggage and he didn't want to get it out. first meetings are always awkward, as i gave him the quick tour of the house, while at the same time probing him with questions to make sure he's not crazy. from first impression he seemed like a good guy. taller than i'd expected, and a bit more older than the photos i saw of him online, which is a good thing. while he unpacked his stuff, i was busy cleaning out half of the cupboard so he can have some kitchen storage space (earlier i'd already cleared half of the fridge).
so here are all the things i learned about kevin: he grew up in shanxi province, went to college in beijing, did his masters in nanjing; his major during college was satellite and rocketry communication, which might explain why it took so long for him to get a US visa; he has a girlfriend but only for 2 months, they met at an astrophysics conference, she was doing a documentary film; he confirmed he's been to lhasa, at an astrophysics conference; most of his travels are conference related, and he's been to japan, sweden, italy, and even taiwan (just last month); i thought he said he'd never seen snow but it snows all the time in shanxi, he's just never experienced a monster coastal blizzard; his father is a construction worker, his mother owns a makeup store; in his spare time he likes to play sports especially badminton and even brought his racket; however he doesn't really follow professional sports, not even soccer and basketball; he doesn't watch too many american tv shows; he knows my former roommate LSH, having met here 2 years ago when he visited boston for a few weeks but also at conferences, they study the same thing; he also knows one of the astrophysicists who's currently living in my grand uncle's upstairs apartment; during his visit to boston back in 2017, he stayed in allston in another apartment share; his research is in star formation via infrared radio scan of the magellanic clouds; he may have to go to hawaii at some point to do observational volunteer work at the mauna kea observatories; he asked me how to pay the rent, i said with cash, he asked if credit card was okay, i told him i have no idea how to accept credit card.
around 5pm i started making the quiche, since it'd take another 40 minutes then 20 minutes of cooling before we can eat it. kevin came out of his room to help, though it wasn't necessary. he cracked a few eggs and did some mixing while i cut and sautÃ©ed and combined the ingredients. i was happy to learn that 9" is the perfect size for the quiche, and if anything, this dish is slightly deeper so the filling didn't look like it was in danger of spilling out.
while the quiche was baking, kevin went back into his room to take a nap, said he was still jetlagged. after 40 minutes i took the quiche out of the oven and let it cool for 20 more minutes. afterwards kevin came out and we both had two slices while sitting around the kitchen island chatting. i felt proud when he got his phone to take a photo of his dinner. i also offered him some country style pulpy orange juice. later i taught him how to open the front door; he managed to both open and lock the door, but he'll probably need some practice before he gets the hang of it; some roommates never figure it out. i also showed him how the nest thermostat works, including voice control via google home mini. as a bonus i demonstrated voice activated light switching.
kevin also gave me a gift, a small box that i initially thought was tea, but turned out to be chinese medicine, è¡Œè»æ•£ "troop marching powder." he said it was for heat strokes, you can either apply it topically or drink it, he wasn't very specific as to the usage. i did some more research, it's also known as five pagodas ya-hom powder. five pagodas is the brand, and it's actually thai, not chinese, though it's chinese herbal medicine. rumor has it that it was banned in the netherlands because it contained endangered plants, but five pagodas said that wasn't true, and only applied to importers without a certificate. i couldn't find any english language info about this mystery powder, the best i could find was a tasty thailand posting that said it was a remedy for nausea and stomach upsets, and you take it by mixing a teaspoon worth of powder with water and then drinking it.
i thought kevin went to bed for the night, but around 11pm he woke up and came into the living room to chat. we watched some news followed by a bit of a stephen colbert rerun (thanksgiving episode). after that he went to bed for good, but said he'd probably wake up early due to the jetlag. earlier he said he'd go to the astrophysics center at 8am to meet his friend there who was going to show him around. i told him he could have another slice of quiche for breakfast. i was finally by myself around 1am.