Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Friends, Old Habits

As I write this, Rachel, Olivia, Nick, Eliza, and Lucy are enjoying the last bit of their Qindao adventure. They spent the weekend there for the International Beer Festival. I stayed here for the weekend to save money for our Shanghai trip and to force myself to survive independently in Qufu. So far, so good. 
Friday evening I left the comforts of my apartment for a brief dinner run. As usual, I ordered dinner on the street from my noodle man (or so I call him). He's a very animated and friendly guy who stir fries homemade noodles with some veggies in a bit of vinegar and about a quart of peanut oil. I have decided this year is less about eating healthy and more about eating to survive. When I am hungry, I eat whatever I can get. I intend to do a year of detox upon my return home. After grabbing my bag of greasy noodles and a side of greasy, freshly-made bread I scurried back to my comfortable little hole. I entertained myself for the remainder of the evening with some episodes of Rescue Me and Sex and the City.
 Saturday was a productive day. I spent a the morning hours preparing for my first elective lesson on Monday. I am making a lengthy powerpoint show, which I am filling with photos to keep my students entertained. I anticipate a large class of about 100. Yikes!
In the afternoon I met up with one of my students, Yolanda, who has been kind enough to show me around Qufu and help me purchase a cell phone (which I did yesterday). After cell phone shopping, we went to a large department store to get some groceries. Yolanda suggested that we cook some traditional Chinese dishes in my apartment, which of course I was all too excited for. We invited her best friend (another one of my students) to join us for cooking and dining. The girls happily made themselves busy in my kitchen for about an hour, preparing 5 dishes. Among my favorites was a cold bean noodle dish with thin slices of ham, cucumbers, and carrots, tossed in a spicy mustard oil and vinegar sauce. I also thoroughly enjoyed the warm scrambled egg and tomato dish and the tofu soup. We ate and talked for at least an hour, then after digesting a bit, we did what most students do after dinner: walk the track. We did several laps, chatting all the while. At one point we got on the topic of homosexuality and the issue of gay marriage. I had expected it to be a rather touchy subject, but we enjoyed a brief, mature conversation about it. 
We closed the evening with promises to cook again, and with a plan to watch a movie together in the near future. Yolanda and Mika love horror movies (perfect)! It was a wonderful evening, and I now feel less lame for having skipped the trip to Qindao. 
I just spoke to Rachel, and she said they will be back to Xingtan around 9pm. That leaves me around 9 hours in which to keep myself occupied and entertained. I plan to heat up the leftover tofu soup for lunch, then spend the rest of the afternoon finishing my powerpoint for tomorrow's fashion class. I'm sure there will be some episodes of Rescue Me and Sex and the City tossed in their somewhere. What can I say? There are some habits from home I just can't bring myself to break. Watching comfort movies and TV shows is definitely one of those.

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