today is my first day back from new york city. it was nice being able to sleep in my own bed. like i always say, the best part of any vacation is being back at home. the first thing i did after getting out of bed was to feed my tetra. it's been starving since tuesday (i did sprinkle some fish flakes early monday morning, not sure if it ate them though), and i was happy to see it was still alive.

since i was supposed to work the cafe yesterday but couldn't because i was still traveling back from new york city, i worked today. i brought the two bottles of chinese baijiu and the box of braised duck necks. my mother was excited to try the duck necks, and was shocked when i told her how much it cost. i was afraid it wouldn't be very good but it turned out to be the spicy variety, which is my mother's favorite.

business today was slow. i spent much of it telling my parents about the things i did in NYC and showed them the photos i took.

when my mother started making food for dinner, i couldn't keep the secret any longer and told her that my godmother planned on surprising them with some 50th wedding anniversary food, which she was going to bring right before closing. my godmother told me about it last week, and wanted me to make two dishes to add to hers, until i told her i would be in new york for most of this week. instead i said we could get some chinese takeout from zoe's, get a few dishes that my father really liked. my godmother asked if my sister would be willing to bake a cake, but when i asked my sister, she got really annoyed and said the dinner should be on friday, the actual day of anniversary. i told her the reason why we were doing it on thursday was out of politeness, because my parents might have their own plans friday. my sister said that was impossible. my sister then contacted my 2nd aunt to call my godmother and have the dinner rescheduled to friday. i found out and said we would still have the dinner on thursday, so in retaliation my sister said she wasn't coming (and naturally no cake). it was all too much drama, for something i didn't like doing: keeping secrets from my parents. i was tempted to just tell them last week. anyway, my sister contacted me today, sheepishly asking when we were getting the takeout, and asking if she should get balloons. i told her she could go pick up the takeout if she wanted (saving me some time, since i was at the cafe working), but not do anything else. since i didn't specifically tell her not to get balloons, she heard my message as, "okay, get balloons." a few hours later she asked me where to put them.

anyway, but the time my sister returned with the balloons, my mother already knew about the surprise, and was in the parking lot, waiting to see the balloons. we then made the order and my sister drove me to get them. when we got back to the cafe, my godmother and 2nd aunt were already there. my godmother jokingly chided me for telling my parents about the surprise, but i didn't tell her i don't like keeping secrets from my parents as a principle.

my godmother came with some braised duck along with a few other dishes. jack contributed a cake while alex gave my parents a bottle of chinese wine. we got dried-fried pork intestine and dried-fried smoked ham from zoe's. we closed an hour early so we could have dinner. a long-time customer actually knocked on the door and my sister and i stopped eating to prepare a bento box for her.

we finished dinner by 8pm. i unlocked my bicycle and rode home. since i knew i'd be getting home after dark, i brought my bike lights.