The days before a trip to America are always nuts.
This time is no different...laundry that needs days to hang dry, international flight luggage restrictions, emptying the fridge, preparing kitty for his stay at "camp," buying a bus ticket to Shanghai, buying gifts for family, telling friends that I won't be able to recieve calls for the next few weeks (when I'm gone my Chin.ese phone doesn't track messages/calls), putting money on my phone so I have credit when I return, bringing enough Chin.ese money to exchange during a layover, plannign what to wear on the flight, charging my electricity for my room, taking off work, finishing final grades for my real job...etc.
I've been procrastinating by going to the gym for long periods of time. This is good and not good. My body feels great, but my mind is going haywire.
Tonight I decided to head to the night market because I thought my gift for my mom was lacking. I have no debit card now (thanks to the Shanghai trip from hell) but I have some money and would hate to travel around the world to my family from an exotic locale with nothing cool. The thing is, after 3.5 years here, I feel like I have bought everything "gifty" already. Ties? check. Jade? check. Tea? check.
So a trip to the market was in order.
I found my friend the pearl vendor and got to work ordering some goods. We chit-chatted and she asked me why I haven't been in awhile, "I have no money," I laughed.
Then she paused and looked me in the face. "You are thinner," she said matter of factly. I shook my bum in my happy dance and said, "yes." "How? You cut fat?" "Yes, I cut fat." (the Chin.ese language is so straight forward). And that was that. I knew I liked her.
I was in such a happy stupor from her noticing my efforts that I just rambled away in Chinese until she cut me off, "your friend?" Then I heard a foreign male voice from within a foot of me, "no."
I didn't notice the white dude show up at the table. "Yo," I said. "Are these pearls real?" he asked. I assured her that my pearl lady is the bomb and I've been going t her for years and yes the pearls are all real from her hometown of Zhuji, but she hides the great quality ones in the back.
The pearl lady was just smiling at us while we jibber jabbered. Then the tough part began.
He asked me, "how much do these earrings usually go for?"
Well, crap. Another case of 'whose side am I on?'
I told him to ask her himself because I had not been to her shop in a long time and maybe prices changed. He asked her. She answered, "10." "If I buy more than one?" he asked. "Always 10."
After some deliberation and me biting my tongue, he wandered off into the sea of vendors and young patrons wearing glittery ensembles to impress each other.
After he left I looked at her, "is the price for me still 5?" "Of course, we are good friends," she said as she asked me how many pairs I wanted and packed them away for me. 4 pairs for 20rmb (3 dollars). I paid half of what she offered him.
I've got people in all the right places.
Here's some pics from the past few days:
Riding bikes in the rain is one of my least favorite things in life. Just ask my poor, patient friends who have to deal with me when I show up to dinner looking like this...
I can't wait to ride in a (warm) car in America!
Taking pictures of my kitty is one of my fave things in life...(obvi I am now an old fart)...
Imagine if there was something like this in America, "My White Friends" written on a notebook...hahahahaha, Chi.na...
40 hours til lift off, so much to do...
walk slow. xoxo.