Double Dove Apartment; 临海，浙江，中国
|包装||包装 means "packing" – I decided to teach you this word today for obvious reasons – see the rest of my post|
|Bāozhuāng||I actually enjoy packing – it's a great workout! I actually really enjoy going to work for the same reason I loved Pizza Hut so much – at work I get to spend time with my friends, even if I don't see them much while there.|
I'd been intending to post the photos I've promised by today, my friends, but life has made that impossible… Because of the current labor shortages in China (believe it or now, even a country of 1.4 billion people can have labor shortages) the sales department staff of the factory I'm working at all had to go help pack chairs for shipment today. Normally they get Sunday off. I couldn't very well let my friends go work on a day they normally have off while I take the time off because I'm a laowai and I can, now could I? I joined them. I actually enjoy packing, for the most part – it's a good work out, which is why I'm rather exhausted right now.
In any case, this week has been rather insane. It's another reason you haven't had any more updates – more of the American team is in town, and I'm swamped with projects, which means I have very little downtime. I could find some if I looked, but I've been lazy I know I keep promising to update more regularly and keep failing just as much as I promise – something's got to give – I'll do my best!
Anyhow, there have been several changes of plan in rapid succession the past little while – first I was going to go home on 8 April, then the plan shifted to me staying here until September. Then it shifted again to returning in April, the back to September, then back finally to April yet again. On top of that, plans have shifted on my return trip – I was going to go to Tokyo, then I wasn't, then I was, now I'm not… Life's insane like that. Basically my mind has short circuited and I had to do a lot of running to sort it out (which wasn't very wise because I jacked up my ankle in Shanghai… At least it doesn't hurt too badly right now )
To avoid undue confusion acquired from the above paragraph, my plans are to go home in April and study as hard as I can for the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters, then to return to China in December and stay for several months. I'll be far more valuable to the company with additional training back home. Things have worked themselves out to allow me to do it, too, which makes life really nice and relatively easy to go through at this point.
Sorry – you're pretty much getting my unfiltered thoughts right now – my mind's shot, as I've been packing chairs for a good six or seven hours… I'm rather tired. Anyhow, I hope the insanity's not too much to handle.
I had promised my friend Terence shortly after I arrived here that I'd cook him spaghetti if I could find the ingredients. Since then I've been looking around, and I finally found everything this week (with some substitutions). It's my mom's recipe, which is some of my favorite food. It actually costs a lot more to make it in China than it does in America, because many of the ingredients are imported food and thus are extremely expensive (case in point: one can of cream-of-mushroom soup costs about $5 here…). It turned out really quite well, in my opinion – I hope my Chinese friends enjoy it! (I made it several days in advance because the sauce is better that way). I'll let you know how it goes, and I'll post photos as well. I'm working on getting them processed right now.
Ooh! I've been applying the cooking lessons Trudy gave me and have come up with some passable authentic Chinese food! I don't know any recipes – I just have to use my judgement and mix ingredients in whatever way I think is best – but what I've cooked thus far has at least been edible, and almost delicious! With some additional practice I think I'll get there. I intend to bring some of my cookware home with me, and I'm going to purchase a wok and a rice cooker when I get home and eat a lot of Chinese food – I like it much more than American food, for the most part.
Ah, something else – I tried chicken feet today. They were really tasty, actually – I was extremely surprised. They're a ton of work to eat, though – they're absolutely full of bones. My friends and I went out to lunch at a Shechuan place near the factory which has extremely good food. I quite enjoyed it.
I'll wrap up this update for now – as I've said, my mind's rather fried. I'll do my best to write an update tomorrow, as well. Please hold me to it!
~S. A. Collins