a few nights after the riots, i went to my favourite xinjiang restaurant.
ive been hanging out here in my apt. for a few days trying to get things done. one corner of the living room is stacked with Things i am Not Taking with Me (there's a please-dont-reinvent-the-wheel box for the new humboldt college writing teacher, who has yet to write me back [though i have written him several times. you'd think he would want to know what i have to say...? i did help design the pgram], and lots of random stuff for the 3 new humboldt teachers who are coming) and another corner is stacked with boxes and suitcases and stuff that Needs To Go Home. save the kitchen and the bathroom, both stocked with things not coming with me (mostly; i am keeping a few of my coffee mugs and some of my toiletries are returning with me), im more or less sorted. now comes the deciding what to ship and what to take with part. obviously, the cat is coming with. har har har. he's been watching me pack with keen interest. when he's not sleeping.
we went to the vet last week. i LOVE how pissed he is at me (i hate you so hard):
he was SO GOOD. and he was fine in his carrier too. he loves his carrier.
before kat and i had met up, we had a funny email exchange that left me smacking my forehead and laughing. we made arrangements to meet to take the cat to the vet. a few hours later, she emailed me again to say P.S. please bring the cat OH! i thought THE CAT! yes, yes, tht's very important. *lesigh*
a few days later i met kat, brit's chinese friend who is helping me out, and we went to the gov't place to get the rest of louie's paperwork sorted. im so thankful i had a native speaker. SO thankful. the building set up was confusing. kat had to ask all around to find out where to go. meanwhile, louie was staring out his carrier being So Good. he gets annoyed when he's sitting still but doesnt seem to mind motion. he had a good time walking around in kat's car. she insisted that i let him roam around. in the gov't building, he got to go on an elevator ride, and then a lady checked him over. she asked me to let him out of the carrier, onto their table, and then he wandered around. she wtched him, poked him, and that was that. kat had to chase him a little while i was filling out paperwork because he hopped down and ambled over to someone's cubicle: O HAI! sniffy sniffy sniff. the most curious bit of the form was the section tht read "use"... i asked kat, does this mean "pet?" we assumed so. if i wasnt so paranoid about getting the forms Just Right, it might have been fun to write random things in that box. louie could have been my butler, or my entertainment, or the like. i just wrote "pet/companion"
then we left one building to go to another building where more paperwork was filled out and copies were made. everyone in the office was staring at louie because, at this point, he was wanting to bust out of his cage and was telling me so. i pet him through the wires and he calmed down. i think he just wanted to go sniff and check things out.
his paperwork is going to take a few weeks to process which makes me nervous. but apparently, there's a 14 day window. if his paperwork goes through before that time, i'll have to do the whole process again. the gov't lady was going to hold on my stuff and put it through at the appropriate time. kat is going to pick it up for me, since i'll be in shanghai, and then i'll take her out to coffee or dinner or some such to say thanks for her help. she's a crack up. she stayed up til 3am to watch the michael jackson memorial. her cat, who looks like louie but doesnt have blue eyes, also a street cat, is named Money. she jokes, "that's because i just tell people i picked up some money on the street!" she asked if i had children, what would i do with the cat? i quizzically looked at her and asked, "what do you mean?" well, she said, in china, when one has a baby, one cant have a pet. it's because they think the pet will somehow spread disease or hurt the newborn. *boggle* i explained, we always take our animals to the vet so they are very healthy. children and pets grow up together. kat thought this was strange. i think the disposable pet idea is rather strange.
i had a china-day last week too. those happen. usually, it's just people being obliviously ignorant. but it's always annoying.
i met up with humboldtians from round 1 who seem to forget that 1) i am capable and 2) the last few years, i continued to live in xi'an. the kids wanted to take me out to a celebratory lunch. so where do they pick? a buffet. i said to them, "do you remember the last time you took me to a buffet? there was nothing for me to eat." oh, they said i continued, "i think it's sweet that you want to take me out, so let's pick a place where we can all enjoy the food!" and then i suggested the indian restaurant that i love so much (and will miss!). we climbed into the taxi and the driver ignored me (this happens when one is with native speakers. ALL the time). the kids didnt know where to go, so i gave the address, like i have a zillion and a half times, and the kids translated my chinese into chinese. then one of the kids asks another, in chinese, are you sure she knows where we are going? are we going to the right place? and i turned to him and gave him a verbal smack. "yes i DO know where we are going. i have lived in this city for almost three years. i am not an idiot. i understood what you were saying just then. it's not nice." he was stunned. "you understood me?" i just looked at him. he settled back into his seat. there was a friend of one of the kids with us. he started to guide the driver the wrong way. i said, in chinese, "where are you taking us? he turns right at the next corner. we go down the block and the restaurant is at the end of the street on the left hand side of the road." the kids were boggled. at the restaurant, the friend of the kid asked me the most annoying questions ever. "do you like china?" no, i hate it here. that's why i made the choice to stay for 2.5 years. "do you like chinese food?" no, cant stand the stuff. it's just terrible. "have you been to the temple?" this question made me pause for a moment--i had never been asked this one before. which temple, i asked, and smiled. "the buddhist one." OH! the BUDDHIST one. that ONE buddhist temple in china, you mean? yeh, i've been there. i started naming off all the cities ive been to in china. i think i blew his mind. but while the conversation sucked, the food was good and it was nice of the kids to want to take me out. i just wish they used their heads. it's so insulting.
christian's family came through xi'an so i got to meet the family (and family friend, the adopted "uncle") and help christian play tour guide. we took them to the vegetarian restaurant (by the pagoda and! by the afore mentioned indian restaurant. i mean, really, i consider that area my neighborhood.) and to the big wild good pagoda (dayanta). there we saw this awesome monk:
we also took them to the water show at the pagoda where a young child nearly pissed on christian's parents. nice. YAY CHINA.
the watershow happens in the day too. this is what it looks like from the pagoda:
we did lots of people watching in the park and around xi'an as well.
i love how sunflower seeds are sold here:
christian's family also treated us all to a "beauty massage." the men folk got a foot massage. taht's what we thought we were getting too but surprise! not quite. it started with a shower and went on from there. christian's collegue frm the french dept. set up the whole thing. the water cooler cozy at the place was brilliant:
later we had dinner at the collegue's house. her husband treated us to an outdoor feast.
christian and family left to continue their whirlwind tour of china and i'll catch up with them on friday in shanghai!
today im going to see:
and remember kids, there's no such thing as a free lunch, but there is free luggage!: