Those of you with freedom of speech heed these words: have a thankful heart!
I just shelled out 60 bucks for 6 months of a VPN service that supposedly blocks my internet location so Chi.na doesn't know I'm surfing the internet from within their borders. I spent forever communicating with a live-help guru last night and finally got it set up, only to have it be blocked by China. Awesome. Today when I got home from work, I checked again, assuming that I would ask for the money back if it was not working, but here I am! Able to access facebook, blogger, and my email. I only went 6 days without those internet sites, but it felt like forever since unfortunately FB and this are my only real ways to communicate with friends back home. I felt like I had been lost forever! Dramatic? Yes. But true, nonetheless. So glory, glory, hallelujah for now. I'm back again on the most surfed internet sights as long as my current country doesn't get a whiff of my presence. shhhhh.
The last week was awesomely busy, friend-filled, and full of celebration. Which of course means that I got nothing done on my thesis. But with no regrets.
Thursday I spent almost the whole day in bed feeling like I was about to die. The pain in my foot has been getting worse and worse and I have begun to take some of the other medication that my Chinese doctor friends gave me. These little blue pills make me feel like a sloth. I physically can't move or think or barely gather the gumption to even go to the bathroom. I just laid in bed, staring at my coveted ceiling fan whirl and thinking, "when will this get better?"
Luckily Hannah called and her, Seneca and I ventured to the famed french restaurant in town, "Provence". I live for that place. They have salad. And bread with butter. And apple martinis. And lasagna. It's like dying and going to heaven after your millionth bowl of noodles! We had a great night and I went back to Hannah's for some movies and girl talk. MUCH needed with the amount of testosterone I am around 24/7.
Friday I woke earlyyyyy and went home to shower and bake the last of my American baked goods from home. I made a package of the boxed Jiffy cornbread and headed to pick up Alexina and Patricia for Anne's baby shower! It was a gorgeous gathering of ladies from the international chu.rch. Being surrounded by strong women from countries near and far was very uplifting. That is one of my favorite things about living here. I went to a woman from Nigeria's baby shower with other women in attendance from Mexico, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Ta.i.wan, Ghana, Australia, and the Bahamas. There were 2 of us Americans. Me and Jeanette, the 55 year old African American from Charleston who can belt a Sunday tune like none other. We sat together during our chorus of praise songs as we sang thanksgiving for Anne's baby and wished to above for a healthy delivery. She tap tap tapped on my knee and leaned back as her volume rose and she belt out those good old southern musical notes. Full of praise and laden with passion. I love those women and I am thankful that they include me in their joyous festivities.
After the shower was over Alexina, Joyce, and I headed to a coffee shop to chat since Joyce was leaving Monday (today) for her college in England. We chatted and sipped and talked about babies until the rush-hour cab rush was over and we could find a willing driver to take us across town. I went back to Alexina's dorm at Zhejiang University and hug out with her friends and reminisced about dorm life until it was time to meet Hannah and the Lutherans at the Maya Bar. It was a huge group of friends, old and new, foreign and chinese and we kept having to add tables to accomodate everyone. It made me really happy to recognize old faces. It's almost like no time has passed, only Jing and Patty are not here to laugh with me at ridiculous China occurrences. :(
After the Maya crowd dispersed it was off to HOD to introduce Becca and Seneca to the wonder that is HOD. They loved the "chineseyness" off it and had just as much fun as I do people watching and meeting random people. I loved seeing an old pal, who happens to be the manager and one of my favorite shui ge's in Hangzhou. It was a full, good day of relationships and a beautiful reminder of the amazing people that call this place home.
Saturday was for resting and recovering from a late night out until noon when I headed to the furniture market with two co-workers. We bargained and battered our way to owning 2 desk chairs (for them) and a strip of bed padding (for me).
Saturday nights are reserved for Book Study with the girls. It is a time I have come to cherish this semester so much that it is known not to call me until after 8 on a Saturday night. I'm busy, Learning with the girls about the important things in life.
Saturday night I taxied across town to Kai's house to pick up my ticket for my travels this week. I texted him asking what station I should go to to buy my ticket, since there are 4 stations and the online schedule is in Chinese. Next thing I know, his mother has gone to the station to buy my ticket for me. His mother. Mother. Oh dear. He is so good to me. Since I have been hurt he has done my dishes, cooked for me, taken me out, been a constant support system on my darkest days of self-pity and physical pain and now his family has bought my ticket for my travels. Life is strange, but quite enjoyable.
Sunday was a make-believe Wednesday because in Chi.na when there are national holidays you have to make them up on the weekends. So the graduate teachers must work Sunday to Wednesday 6:30 am to 4:30 pm. It's a long day. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the National Holiday begins Wednesday and I'll be off on a vacation from the 30th to the 9th. whoooo.
Today is a co-workers birthday and we had a little get together...meet the HDU foreign teachers minus 1...