Double Dove Apartment, 临海，浙江，中国
|繁忙||Today's word of the day is "busy." Man it's been a busy week! I honestly haven't had the time to update this blog at all, which I'd never expected… I'm going to have to see if I can eke a little more time out of my mornings from now on…|
|Fánmáng||I had forgotten how truly wonderful it feels to be busy… I'm going to have to see if I can keep this up!|
Okay, let's get to the details. It's Sunday, but I still don't have a whole lot of time – my friends are coming over today for lunch, then we were originally planning to go to the wall. It's raining, though, so we shall see…
On Tuesday my song went much better than I could have anticipated (though I was extremely nervous… When I finished I could not feel my hands, and they wouldn't stop shaking for an hour…) I sang a rendition of the traditional Scottish song "Auld Lang Syne" in a Scottish accent, which was fun! I know it's traditionally for New Year's, but I figured this would work as well (it's really hard to find a good birthday song to sing that isn't silly…)
The birthday party was incredible! Daniel really goes all out on things. I did learn that the first birthday is considered the most important to the Chinese, and it was his son's first birthday. The party was held at a new seafood restaurant across the river. The food and the ambiance were both incredible (the snake was especially good, though I was the only one at the "laowai table" who ate it… I had about five pieces)! I really don't want to imagine how much it must have cost, though…
Wednesday after work I went to dinner with my friend Jackie. He took me to a nice Chinese restaurant near the university and we had a great conversation in mixed English and Chinese (though mainly in English). Afterward we returned to his store (he runs a USB device store on campus) and continued our conversation until it was time for me to catch the last bus home. He actually gave me a USB hub, which was awesome! He wouldn't let me pay him for it, though… It's incredibly difficult for me to spend my money when I'm with my friends here…
Thursday after work I went with Tony (the Belgian intern) and Bob (an American team member who's here for two months) to Nancy's. We had a really good conversation that sparked a lot of thought on my part, and met an awesome man from Israel, of all places. It's crazy who you meet when you open your mouth and look around out here.
Friday at work I had several meetings I attended with Bob. I learned a ton from doing that – I've been taking a ton of notes! Sarah (one of the office managers) got me a planner, and I've been really filling it out. I have had to to keep up with things! It feels good to have that element of missionary life back After work Daniel invited Tony, Bob, and I, along with some Chinese team members, to the seafood restaurant again. After dinner I ended up walking home – Daniel's car had one too few seats, and I felt like doing some exploring anyway. I discovered a fun market store that's pretty close to my apartment and several other fun things.
Saturday I spent about ten hours in meetings. We started the day with a meeting with a customer (which took six of those hours), then ended up having several other meetings after that! I had no idea how exhausting it is to work at the administrative level! There are so many decisions to be made about all sorts of things it's a wonder there's time for it all! I'll say I learned a ton, though – I got about four completely full pages worth of notes yesterday!
After work I decided to once again go to Nancy's with Bob and Tony (I missed the bus due to the last meeting, so I was riding home with them and just decided to go to the restaurant as well.) Fritz (a German buyer for a company, I think) was there, and it was good to see him again. Speaking of Germans, I also saw Bernard (one of the German designers – I met him back in December) at the factory yesterday. It's always cool to see people you know again! Anyhow, I decided to run/walk home (it's hard to run on a full stomach). I took an alternate route and ended up passing the mighty entrance to the wall and, being myself, decided to run up it then come back down and continue home. There are several hundred very steep stairs there… It was not the brightest move I've ever had… I managed to make it about 3/4 up the wall before my body literally made me stop running. I was able to not stop moving, thankfully, and made it the rest of the way up and back down without a problem. I really want to be able to run that without getting too beat up by it!
On the way home I ended up running into (not literally) four middle-school girls who were excited to have the chance to talk with a laowai. They ended up walking the rest of the way home with me, and we had a pretty decent conversation almost entirely in Chinese! I was excited to find I was able to do that! It was still extremely basic, and quite difficult to communicate, but progress is being made! Now I have even more people to talk with on QQ (the Chinese messenger program) Speaking of, one of Trudy's friends from Hangzhou added me on QQ and we had a decent conversation, as well! I have a ton of friends now who want to practice their English with me. It's been quite interesting!
I've got to go – Trudy's coming over in a bit and we will be making lunch for ourselves, Tony, Terence, and Elva. As I said, we were originally planning on going to the wall after that, but it's raining, so we shall see. I'll update again later!
~S. A. Collins