Monthly Archives: January 2008

Not Complaining, Just Commenting

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Ugh… I kind of don’t feel good. I’m sort of achy and definitely cold (google “shanghai weather news”. . . are you back? See, this is not normal for southeastern China) and also there’s my stomach. After everything I eat I’m so very full, even if it was just a muffin. Then I feel acidic and not too long after, 2 hours or so, I’m hungry again. Ravenous, actually. And also my bowels are a bit out of sorts, but that’s a given here.

Let’s see, today I ate: A bowl of oatmeal and some yogurt (and then was so full), then a few hours later had a fried-egg-on-a-chewy-pancake thingy from a street stall (cause I was soooo hungry), then met Jesse for an afternoon romp in the snow while he broke from work. Then, I had an hour and a half to wait for him til he finished work, so I went in the seldom visited posh café I used to frequent and had a piece of cheesecake (and I was very full). Then we got some dinner after he got off work and I could hardy eat any of our spicy tofu and wok-ed greens because I got full so fast.

Now, what do I mean by wok-ed greens? (new topic. Weather and health = dull) So, Momm and Daddy had the pleasure when here to try out the vast array of “greens” that are prepared very simply. Flash fry with garlic, add water and msg, serve hot. And it’s almost always our favorite dish. These ones were small leaves, very green on tips, white on bottoms. There are also stringy tough greens, small sprout-like greens, mountain vegetable, white leaves, spinach, many called just “green vegetable”, cabbages galore and what appears to be romaine lettuce all prepared in this fashion and always delicious. It usually seems any single restaurant may offer one or two different dishes of greens.

OK, I’ve got to go find another tums.

Snowy Memories

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It’s snowing today. Nice big fat flakes that stick for about 5 seconds before melting into the slush already accumulated. It’s peaceful (aside from the screeching brakes and honking still audible from the street) and makes the city seem somehow cleaner.

It reminds me of a day in Japan, when I was walking across town to meet Jesse at his High School. There was a mall near his school that had recently opened up a coffee shop with actual whipped cream on top (rather than whipped weirdness, I never figured out what they were topping with at other establishments) of the mochas. It was snowing in Hachinohe that day and I was walking along with a few of my students, gathering snow flakes on my tongue, saying goodbye to them on the way as they dropped into bus stops, down side streets, etc.. I felt so good that day. The world seemed brighter, richer, promising. I think we’d recently passed the 6-month mark in our stay, that would be February, and I finally felt I had banished the demons that had been with me through Oct, Nov, Dec….. I was no longer embarrassed about looking so foreign, no longer feeling quite so fat, no longer struggling to ask for help from other teachers, no longer desperately missing my comfortable place at OMSI, no longer afraid of falling into a stomach-clenching anxiety in the middle of the night.

That fall in Japan was the most humbling period in my life. The time when I realized my own body’s power, my mind’s ability to make me feel like a crazy, anxious, awful shadow of myself. I have never felt worse and think I never will again. I was so scared about this year in China, that I would feel that way again. That I would psyche myself out and feel so frightened, so out of control and also, so hateful of myself that I could not look in a mirror for fear of seeing that ugly person. You can read about it here, on Diaryland, but I don’t recommend it. It’s not going to make you happy. I can’t stand to read them.

The good news is, I don’t feel crappy. I’m not just OK, either. I feel pretty damn good. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to going home (counting down the weeks, actually!), but that I think I’ve got a little control over my fears. And I’ve got Jesse. When we left for that year in Japan, we’d been together less than a year, and now it’s been over four. I’ll tell you something – I didn’t exactly show him a good time that fall in Japan, but he stuck it out with me. He’s my life and my love.

All that to say, it’s snowing in Shanghai and I’m going out into it. Good day, folks. Mine will be.

Complain

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Hi…

I think I’ve successfully stayed away long enough to make all of you friends and family give up on checking back for updates. Sorry. No really, I am. I’m not super busy or anything, just lazy. There was also the visiting from Momm and Dad (see below), but you all see them more often than I do, so can get all the details of their trip from them (there was a lot of walking, some amazement at cheap food, and stunned acceptance of spitting, taxi-racecar driving, etc.). I miss them.

I was cranky and a bit distant their last 2 days here (did you notice Momm and daddy? Sorry.) and wondered what was wrong with me. I figured it out that evening, when feeling further cranky and sniffly at Jesse. When you’re a kid, you might, for example, feel sad because you miss somebody, and you think, I feel sad! But here I was, just feeling cranky, and it took a bit of self asking (what the devil is wrong with you, self?) to figure out I didn’t want them gone and didn’t want to miss them. Also, all the buildup of their arrival would be gone and i was finally looking at a post-christmas bleak Shanghai winter.

And on that topic, bleak it is! The temperature has not been much over 40 the last week and it has rained every day. You know, the latitude here is almost exactly that of Cairo and Houston, and yet, it snowed yesterday (and did not stick, but whatever) and this weather is not at all unusual here. We feel we can’t complain, because the summer will come and it will be hell.

So, is there anything else I can complain about? Probably. I’d sure like some cake, pie or raw suger cookie dough. Mmmmm…but a bowl of oatmeal will have to do.

Hi, I’m Here

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The server at work is down, Jesse’s at work and Momm and Dad are out seeing a museum, so here I am at home with my first few free minutes in front of a computer for quite some time.

My computer had an “episode” (for want of a better word) last week and I’m afraid to turn it on again for fear it will still be busted. It simply would not go past the startup screen. Leif said I probably fried either my CPU or motherboard. Mostly I was worried about our pictures. All our traveling from the last 4 years was recorded on my computer. I was going to send the dumb machine home with the parents for Leif to try to get the pictures off for us, but that evening I tried turning it on and it started right up. I had blown a large ugly mess of dustbunny/hairball from around the fan (whoops) but it still seemed to be running really hot. We copied all of our pictures and random other music and documents to an external hard drive we have (a gift from Jesse’s Dad, it was full of music that we had to partially delete). Now my computer is sitting arse up, waiting for me to get up the guts to open up it’s underside and blow out all the dust and gunk. Leif seems to think this is my best bet. I may have just gotten lucky that one time to get it to turn on again for us to take our precious things off. And it may be fine.

So I’m using Jesse’s computer. (I’m going to check and see if work’s server is back up…)

OK, it’s hours later and I finished work. Whew. Computers are t.r.o.u.b.l.e.

Tomorrow, Momm, Dad, Jesse and I are leaving on the early train (only we don’t quite know when that is) for HongZhou, the most beautiful city in China. It has a man-made lake in the middle of it and I don’t know what else. I suppose we’ll find out. We’ve all been having a fabulous time together.

Having worked for the past 4 hours, I’m a bit computered out. I’ve got to do something else.