10k

01/30/2009

2 Comments

 

Today, I had lunch with my trainer-turned-friend, C, at Rumi, an amazing Persian restaurant down by the Village. I had spent the previous evening, contemplating into the wee hours, trying to figure out the mental trigger that would fire the synapses through my mind, into the joints of my body and move it until I reached my ultimate goal: to be the strongest, leanest, healthiest, most flexible me I can be. That’s why I hired C, to kick my ass into shape. Lunch was an excuse to do some heavy brainstorming.

C and I have been doing quite well for a few months now, but the intensity that I’m looking for isn’t there yet. And it’s not because of her. It’s because of me. It’s ME. It’s my fault that I’d rather eat an ice cream cone than do 30 measly minutes on the ancient elliptical at my gym. It’s my fault that the area underneath my chin wobbles without my permission. It’s my fault I’m not the strongest, leanest, healthiest, most flexible me. And it will be my fault if that never happens.

Despite my creative, motivated, driven, determined self,  I am extremely attracted to structure: lists, schedules, appointed times and detailed do’s and don’ts. This is how I am when I set out to do any kind of project. Organization is what allows me to breathe through the hard times; I know that as long as I follow the formula, checking off each thing systematically, I will get it done, and done well. It’s a wonder I don’t like science and math. (I hate science and math) However, the whole physical goal throws my anal (but adorable) tendencies off balance.

C says changing your body is easy; it’s the disciplining of your mind that’s hard. Damn straight, it’s hard. I blame it on impatience, a characteristic that seems to glide through the blood of almost every 20-something I know. It’s the impatience that fills our stomachs to the brim with an angst for immediate results. The ability to delay gratification is often a sign of emotional and social maturity? Ha. Let's throw that one out the window. I'm plenty mature, but I sure do love me some instant gratification. I don’t know if it’s the haste to live life to the fullest, or the keenness for efficiency, or if our impetuosity is a result of too much cell phone radiation, but if there is one thing I do know, 20-somethings are impatient mother-effers. At least that’s my plea, in the case of the yet-to-be-perfected-physical-being-of-Jenny. But it’s true. Especially in a feat that involves changing your body, instant results are essentially nil. And the worst thing is, just as you can’t take off an abrupt inch from a single workout session, you won’t gain an inch from eating one, two or three pieces of chocolate in one night. Good or bad, signs of physical change love to procrastinate, then pop up one day, like overzealous toast.

So, how am I ever going to reach my goal? Well, it seems that the key is to treat it like every other project I've done. But for me, the even bigger key is to find the motivation spicy enough to push me to eat healthy every day and drag my butt to the gym. So far, the prospects of a fatty liver, a shorter lifespan, more energy, skinny jeans – nothing can make me put down that ice cream cone if I’m in the mood for an ice cream cone. Nothing.

“I need to find a reason, immediate and strong enough, to pick my ass up and avoid sugar and do cardio every day," I told C over our naan bread.

“Your health. That’s important.”

“Yeah, I know. But health is too far in the distant. I can’t see it now. I don’t know how to measure it. I need an incentive, more urgent than someday attaining a perfect body, in order to make me do the things I need to do today, and tomorrow and the next day, until I get there.”

“Well, maybe your goals aren’t big enough.”

“What do you mean?” I wondered. What could be bigger than wanting to achieve the best physical me?

“How about a photo shoot? You could set a date to take a photo shoot in a bathing suit or something.”

“Yeah, I guess. I have something similar to that. I’m planning a trip to NYC in April; I might be performing with the burlesque troupe B is playing in. I want to be comfortable on stage like I was when I used to do a lot of acting.”

“That sounds good. You’ll have to wear something sexy, which is motivating.”

“Definitely. But that’s already a plan I had. And it’s still not working. It hasn’t clicked yet. I need to find an urgency that clicks in my mind.”

Silence. Thinking.

“Why don’t you do the Great Wall Marathon?”

“Huh?” Holy shit. You mean, like, run?

“It’s a 10k marathon, on the Great Wall. You said you wanted to try new things. That would be new.”

“Run a marathon?”

“Yeah. I could train you. It would be fun.”

I look at C, who is grinning from across our spread of hummus, pureed eggplant and white rice with currents and saffron, and I lift my eyebrow.

“Um, okay.”

And that was it. With those two magical words, I found the thing that will catapult me into seriously reaching this goal that I’ve carried around for too long. Charging toward near-physical perfection is too abstract. Training each and every day, for the next two and a half months, in order to run a 10k marathon atop China’s greatest structure is tangible, plausible and hell-yeah do-able.

Top that do-different.

 
 
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It might be the thought of a chance at a second new year (Chinese New Year), although the first one wasn't that long ago, or it might be this week that I have all to myself, but there has been a very distinct urge tugging at my heart strings, pulling harder and harder as the days pass. This little feeling, maybe the size of a coin, radiates a heat that bakes my insides and traps me in my own body, waiting for me to release it. No, it's not  flatulence (you think you're so clever).

I finally figured out what it was on Monday evening, as I was lodged on my static-inducing, hair catching, lime green couch (provided by le landlord, since in China, many apartments come fully furnished, usually with odd pieces that were mostly likely the love children of Bai Ling and Kimora Lee Simmons - love you girl, but some of that Baby Phat's got to go). Anyway - what I figured out was that my little, hot, coin-sized, mental itch was yelling for me to do something different. So that’s what I decided to do, a do-different.

That evening after I made dinner, instead of inviting my usual dining mates, Movie or Internet, I strolled to the ugly lime monster, situated myself in the middle of its spongy cheeks, and ate in silence. Well, silence was relative, since the Chinese New Year fireworks brigade was stilling running rampant across the city, throwing explosives into the air every hundred feet. But I sat there, quietly chewing, and listened to the symphony of pyrotechnics, letting the echo of each whistle and roar settle serenely into my bowl of ground beef and onions. Upon savoring every bite, I learned this. Paying full and glorious attention to your food fills you up sooner. From the tiny spicy spouts on my tongue, I could tell that I had put in too much diced onion, and that the white, long-stemmed mushrooms made the beef slippery in consistency, and that for the first time in my short and unsuccessful amateur cooking career (i.e. client=myself), the beef was finally not over-done, and that maybe a little mustard would be good between the slices of cheese I had melted in the whole wheat tortilla.

Sure, eating in silence might be something normal to most people. In fact, it was normal at one point in my life, when I still lived at home, and all meals were at the table. But not once, in my independent, live-in-my-own-apartment, 20-something life away from home, have I ever eaten in silence. There are just too many distractions. And so my do-different quota was filled that night and the urge fell asleep. Until the next day.

Tuesday evening. I got curious and pulled out one of the frozen fish the Office had graciously bestowed upon me (Chinese New Year gift), cut open the bag, placed the fish on a pan, put a chunk of butter on top and stuck the whole thing in my toaster oven. 20 minutes later, I could hear a sizzling sound. When I pulled my dinner out, it didn’t look too bad, smelled good and seemed ready. Maybe cooking isn’t so hard after all, or so I thought:

The first few bites were pretty good, although Mr. Fish did seem a bit scaly. Hmm, as I got deeper, the insides didn't seem fully cooked, but hey, sushi's raw, so it couldn't be that bad for me. Right? But wait – what is this bulbous thing in the middle, right near the stomach area? Ew, is that the stomach? I dunno. Moving on. Mmm – this part is tasty. (Spit more scales out). Hey, this bulbous thing is getting to be pretty obtrusive. I sliced the thing open – it WAS the stomach, guts and all.

“Haha,” Bryant later laughed at me over Skype. “You’re supposed to clean the fish first.”

“How am I supposed to clean a frozen fish?”

“You thaw it out, dummy. In salt water.”  

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“What? I thought that if they sell it to you frozen, it was ready to cook.”

“Nope – they just catch ‘em and freeze ‘em.”

Grr. Ew. Gross. I’m never doing that again.

But in honor of my new do-different attitude, the next night I decided to tackle the two remaining fish the right way. After all, what’s trite about scaling and gutting a fish? Nothing, that’s what.

The next hour was filled with activities even more horrifying than discovering the stomach of a cooked fish. Mind you, I say horrifying because I am the type of person who gets itchy just thinking about bugs. The sight of anything with more than four legs will make me bolt; and worms, slugs, snails and intestines definitely make me throw up in my mouth. It’s just who I am. Anyway, I digress.

There is a good reason everyone who scales fish on TV is in full protective gear: apron, boots, rubber gloves, a rain hat and definitely a hefty pair of goggles. Those bastard sequins of nature got everywhere. Crevices I didn’t even know existed made friends with each little shit piece of confetti of the sea. And, god – I know I’m Chinese, but I am not eating that fish head. It’s one thing to be served a full, beautiful fish; it's quite another to have to prepare that fish. So, off with the head. Oh, but wait – the giant butcher knife I’m using isn’t sharp enough. Ok. What to do. I got it – get the scissors out. I’m not sure this is entirely correct form, but cutting and chopping are both methods of decapitating, right? Okay, head off. Purple guts are spilling out. Agh. Gag. Breathe. Hee, hoo. Hee, hoo. Now what? Right: filet it. Fish filet. Filet o’ fish. Jenny filets fish. How do I do that? Well, I’m not risking maulling my hand with the dull butcher knife, so scissors it is, again. Snip. Snip. Snip through the underbelly of Mr. Fishy, and right into the intestines. AHHHH. Ew. Ew. Ew. Nothing like fingers swathed in unfolding strands of black red goo. This fish better taste amazing. Okay – stomach and guts are out. Now for the fins. Cut that one off the side. And that one over there. Oh, and there’s another cute wittle one on the back. CrunchCrunch. Horror. Did I just cut through the backbone? I notice the fish still looks like a fish in my hands, not like those succulent salmon steaks that sit proudly behind the counter at the grocery store. Getting seriously faint on the inside. Still cutting through the backbone. Must. Get. It. Off. Crrrrrrrunnnch. (I’m pretty sure no chef has ever done it this way. Skimming off the top of a backbone, horizontally, seems pretty inhumane to me) Done. Phew. Sigh.

I would be the worst surgeon ever.

Suffice it to say, none of my recent experiences related to fish have been all that pleasant, but at least I experienced them. And although I’m still picking scales out of my hair, and touching fish guts probably doesn’t even faze you, I feel alive for having done it.

*

So, what exactly defines different?

do-different is a moment you reserve to:

1) take an action that has yet to make it on your portfolio of life experiences, or

2) do something not present in your daily life

With just these two rules, the options are endless. And the beauty is, they don’t have to be giant gestures of passion or zeal. They can be as small and subtle as chewing quietly on a couch, or wearing a pot over your head while lip-sinking to Janis Joplin (have you ever done that?), or if you prefer, even streaking down the road in nothing but your dignity and a pair of sturdy shoes. Whatever your do-differents are, as long as you keep at them, they will add up. One day, looking back, you will realize just how satisfying your time on this earth has been. They might have even saved your life.

On another note, do-differents are also particularly good for people my age. As 20-somethings, we are riding the line of adulthood, determined to transition without losing our youth. We try to play the mature card, which means waiting patiently for our successes to compile and reward us, and yet it seems Time can’t pass fast enough between our actions and the results we crave. The do-different world is the loophole for instant gratification, a sacred space where we can create experiences entirely unusual to our usual. And for those of us who can’t commit to weeks worth of a task, the do-different is just enough to get us to the next baby step. It doesn’t overwhelm; it just changes your life, and can in quite a significant way.

*

Standing in front of my kitchen window, open so as to waft away the looped visual in my mind of guts spurting out a fish’s neck, and trying to figure out what my do-different for Thursday would be, I peered through the screen; just below the window was a ledge holding an air conditioner of some sort - I almost climbed out on it. No folks, I did not end up squeezing myself through the two by four frame (I figured “different” shouldn’t equate to death on a rusty ledge), but the point is that I felt brave enough to do it. I had sanctioned out one moment of each day, where I was allowed to act on something entirely foreign to my daily routine, and having that moment made me feel alive and invincible.

Perhaps my do-differents may not be as exciting to other people as they are to me, but they don’t have to be – because they are just for me, an exercise to push myself outside my own box every day. Can you imagine if you did a do-different, even just once a week, for the rest of your life, how much more fun you would have? It's an exciting thought, figuring out something that seems so obvious, but really isn't: I create my experiences, my breaths of fresh air, my do-differents and my life. And so can you.


 
 
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Last Wednesday, the storm passed. 

We finally took the magazine to print. 

This current company I am working for has the particular tradition of printing out the first draft in color and then laying it out on our conference table so that the entire team can scrutinize and practice their opinions. This was started by the previous Managing Editor, who didn’t know how to run a magazine anymore than his grim turtle face knew how to smile, but has since been promoted to Chief Editor, which just means he signs off on everything I do. I see him as sort of an antique decoration, maybe one of those tea-stained doilies, awful but permanent, since it was handed down by so-and-so’s great aunt Mildred, just there for the sake of tradition – shabby, stained, banal tradition. Many Chinese workplaces are this way: everything must go through a procedure, carefully guarded by the King of Procedure himself, crowned with the responsibility of reinforcing procedure because, well, it’s procedure.  Keeps my head awhirl, anyway.

Two problems with this tradition: 1) the entire team likes to comment on the magazine as if they are the designers themselves. However, none of them have the expertise to make this kind of judgment call. Plus, the Art Director and I have set standards, reading systems, fonts, sizes, spaces, and things don’t just change because some staff member didn’t like the spacing in line three,  2) It wastes a LOT of time. I’m the Managing Editor and Creative Director, therefore it is my job to take the “book” and make the final editions. But in an illogical, ironic twist that seems to frequent certain facets of Chinese companies, the reviewing process has become all too democratic in this otherwise communist regime.  

In order to retain some ounce of sanity, I have since given into the procedures that have laden this supposedly expat rag with a nice sharp, Chinese edge. But despite my hemming and hawing, giving in a little has made my job miles easier. Why fight the fight just to fight? A little forced inefficiency here and there can’t hurt that much; it’s certainly better than insisting on my way or the highway, then getting the boot because the cars they provided on my highway were all lemons. Needless to say – with my attitude adjustment, and finally, the print out of the first issue, Mr. Boss was tres pleased. Chief Dick didn’t say too much either, which is a good sign.

So, after months of banging my head against the wall, and weeks of blogging about pain of the anal sort, I won the war. We even closed the deal with an evening out, gorging ourselves on baijiu (Chinese tequila – bottoms up! x10) and a banquet spinning in front of us on a giant, whirling, lazy Susan holding the girth of a baby Redwood. 

*

It’s already been five days since the passing of the storm, but it’s taken me that long to recuperate from the aftermath, a serene period of blue skies and unbelievable nothingness spouting out of bosses’ mouths.

And yet, after the rush of succeeding in something I’m good at, a moment when I felt like I could be the Managing Editor of this magazine forever, my mind was jolted with the flashback of a few weeks ago, when the very same people who praised me held my neck to the wire, fingers pointing, ready to make me the scapegoat. It isn't my bosses’ ability to blame and praise at the blink of an eye that bothers me. Rather, it is the realization this so called happiness is split in two, each with a tiny string that can be pulled until the rush is unraveled into nothing but a pile of caution and query.

What I mean is this.

It seems like a lot of people tend to mix up what they are good at with what they like doing. It might be true that one can be the other, but this is not always the case. Being a passionate artist may not get next month’s rent in on time; playing accountant may just kill the libido; whatever the excuse, there are plenty of real life reasons that have a way of subtly convincing people that success always equals what you should be doing, and therefore if you succeed at something, that something is what defines your happiness. 

This happiness, split in two: each side is separate with its own characteristics, though if we’re lucky, not always separate in form. As already established before,  the first kind comes from being good at something, and the second kind comes from somewhere deeper, a place where love, passion, yearning, motivation and tenacity are born. It seems like the latter type of happiness is the one that is idealized, the one we think we should all be seeking. And yet, when it comes time to choose a career path or a role in life, our happy-nometer starts to go in circles. 

Take this magazine for example. After printing the first draft, happy boss=happy Jenny. My mood couldn’t have been further from several weeks ago, when I was near hyperventilation at my desk, ready to pack up and leave town. Because of the current and successful situation, my mind actually sees a future I can mold. But I am at unrest, because I can’t figure out if my happiness is due to the fact that I got a pat on the head for hard work on a product I am good at creating, or because I actually enjoy what I am doing. Too many people my age struggle to find their paths, torn between what they think they can survive on as a day job-possibly-turned-successful-career, and the love for a life that stems from the depths of their souls. This is worth thinking about because if the right choice isn’t made, one can end up bored and successful or passionate and poor – either leading to ultimate unhappiness. 

Anyway, I don’t have the answer. I figure I should just use what I’m good at to catapult myself into doing what I love, and maybe somewhere along the way, I’ll end up balanced. But I’m probably babbling, at best. 

 
 

It's 11:30pm and the firecrackers have been going on all day, except now they have changed to fireworks.  Any planes flying over China would be greeted by a landscape of exploding bouquets of color confetti. The entire city of Beijing is aglow, bringing in the New Year - Chinese New Year, that is. This whole next week will fill the air with stagnant smoke from thousands upon thousands of mini explosives, reminding us that 2009 is the Year of the Ox. Chinese New Year is like our Western Christmas, except sans all that St. Nicholas stuff. Instead, train stations are bulging with passengers on their way home to family, banquets, and little red envelopes filled with the currency of hope. Since my own family is 8000 miles away, I'm using this week for contemplation and productivity, curious as to what this second New Year will bring.

 

Syrup

01/23/2009

1 Comment

 

I'm going through a syrup phase, starting two minutes ago. I have this bottle of leftover Log Cabin Country Kitchen Original, from when B was here, and I am going to pour it over everything. It's going to be great.

And what the hell is a sexegenarian?

 
 

I have nothing insightful or even remotely interesting to say. Because anything that would fall under the latter category would require time, which I don't have. In the past two weeks, I have worked myself into an overtime tizzy. I think I have enough saved up for a week of vacation, which I'll just spend worrying about not being at work. God damn the corporate world. I TOLD you it wasn't good for me. But, Spring Festival is just around the corner. I plan on spending that week working out, eating well, drawing this good to God children's book, blogging up the wazoo, singing with my guitarist (and a possible harmonica player - more on the whole singing spiel later), and catching up - on sleep, on time, on friends, on life. But for now, here's some more blah to go with the blech.

Magazine deadlines come before birthing babies (if you need to birth one), showering, eating, sleeping, thinking (about your own life), walking, and breathing.

 
 

I remember when Facebook just started out. It was called The Facebook and only circulated among a few universities, Vandy being one of them. I didn’t want to join at first, because I thought it was an egotistical way to plaster pictures of yourself online; eventually, I was too curious not to. And then it was love at first sight. Since I moved around a lot during my childhood, Facebook found my kindergarten playmates 15 years older, helped me keep in touch with high school friends and stalk ex-lovers. And even though I have an account, I was never a MySpace gal. Facebook, with its simple design, straightforward info boxes and easy search system held my loyalty. It was just that good.

But as all passionate relationships that happen too fast go, things spun out of control. My world of simple profile templates started receiving heroes ability and be a billionaire! requests, friends for sale and emo bands invitations, and 125 other extraneous piles of poo that I am still scooping and tossing.  And then the tracker started, recording our every move: relationship to single, updated photos, Jenny is-es. It was almost too much to handle. But I held strong; I staunchly defended my Facebook against My Spacers, and faithfully checked in every day.

Today, my Facebook crossed into adulthood. Her (Facebook is a She) beautiful, untainted innocence was shattered into a trillion tiny shards that pierced my heart in places I didn't know could be pierced.

I was puttering around my apartment when I heard Her Chat make its friendly popping sound, letting me know someone had sent me a message. I ran to the computer and saw that one of my best friends from high school, Courtney F, had messaged me. That's when the ball dropped, the goose was cooked, the cat skinned, the candy stolen, the rug pulled, the last straw plucked, the pie burnt and the fat lady sung. Facebook as I knew it, had changed forever.

I pasted our conversation below (with director’s notes in italics):

Couldn't retrieve chat his8:45pmCourtney
Hey

8:46pmCourtney
Jenny???

9:01pmJenny (Hooray! I haven’t talked to Courts in ages)
HI
muah muah muah

9:01pmCourtney
How are you?

9:01pmJenny
i'm good - YOU?
you're back in MA?

9:03pmCourtney
nope

I am stranded in London
i got mugged at a gun point, it was a brutal experience, all cash i had on me were stolen and my credit card was collected too now i'm left with no money here

9:08pmJenny (Wait, WHAT? Poor Courts!)
oh NO
have you gotten hold of your parents?

9:09pmJenny (Hmm, I should to be more supportive. But I’m in China! How am I supposed to help?)
is there anything I can do? (Wait, I know!)
I have a credit card

9:11pmJenny
hello?

9:12pmJenny
COURTNEY

9:13pmCourtney
yea i have but the $$ they wired isn't enough

9:13pmJenny
how much do you need

9:13pmCourtney
I need you to loan me $800 to add up with the $$ my parent's wired to me

9:13pmJenny
Sure (That’s weird; Courts would never say anything like “I need you to loan me . . .” She must really be frantic.)

are you at the airport? (Little red flag going up. Maybe I should double check, just to be safe.)

tell me something only you would know so that I know this is you

9:14pmCourtney
nope i am still in the hotel.. The Hotel Manager is letting me stay here until i can get help
I am also using his PC to talk to you right now

9:16pmJenny (She’s not answering my question . Come on, Jenny – put your thinking cap on. How can I check to see if she is really stranded at the Hotel? And why couldn’t her parents just wire her more money? Wait! I can call her mom. But I don’t have her phone number. Hmm. Who would have that number? )

are you going to tell me something only we know together? (Yes! I know! Haley just moved back to MA – she would know. I check Haley’s profile, which says:  Haley is laughing about CF’s hacked facebook page – she was not mugged and is not in London.)

9:22pmCourtney
jenny???

9:22pmJenny
sorry
i can't help you

(My god – I almost just gave her my credit card number.  A rush of anxiety fills my fingertips, like I almost got hit by a bus but didn’t, but then thought what if I had. Shudder.)

9:22pmCourtney
the server is kinda slow
why not?

9:23pmJenny (Getting angry)
because the Courtney I know isn't in London

9:23pmCourtney
we went to the same high school
Jenny

9:23pmJenny
what was your roommate's name, sophomore year?

9:25pmCourtney
Its you Jenny

9:25pmJenny (Mother-fucking weirdo who can’t even speak English. Who the fuck is this person?)
sorry, wrong answer (you fuckwad)
you should do more research before you pretend to be someone else

(Temporary panic; what if this person has kept me on chat long enough to figure out my Facebook password? Can that happen? Maybe I shouldn’t be such a smart ass to him)

who are you anyway?
bastard.

(Oh god. He’s going to send me a virus. Oh shit. He probably already checked out my blog and looked me up in the Vanderbilt alumni section, or called my office. Damn it. Stupid hackers.)

9:30pmCourtney is offline.

*

Oh the horror. I will never be able to look in Facebook’s eyes again. The damage cannot be undone. The cherry has been popped, chopped, dyed and fried. (Cue sobbing).

 
 

I forever feel like I’m explaining my lack of blog updates. This time was due to work. Hence the butt-raping post earlier. I’m serious. It’s no laughing matter. Work has inserted the beads and RRRRRRRRRRRRRIPPED THEM OUT.

No, butt seriously, last week was tough. Trying to cope with B’s departure, work was the last place I wanted to be. And then I got scolded: the magazine is late and why didn’t I carry out my promises? Well, fuck you Mr. Boss Man. I’m supposed to manage this magazine, not do every fucking thing by my self. That’s right, I said it. If your incompetent team actually wrote one decent, non-Chinglish article I didn’t have to re-write, then maybe we would have a magazine now. Fuck you. (Stomp out of the room. Pack things. Leave China). Well, that’s not what happened, although at the time, there was a fantasy or two that involved similar scenarios.

Anyway, amidst the hot mess that I call the Office, I realized that no amount of explanation or pouting was going to fix anything. Your balls have to be hard as diamonds out here, and mine hadn't even dropped yet. However, while drilling holes into my computer screen with laser beams of hate, I did figure out that I was the only one who could change the situation, which required an alteration in attitude. I don’t mean attitude as in I’m going to break your ass, bitch. I mean attitude as in my outlook on things. I tend to easily fall on the shit end of the blame/lie/elicit your sympathy while I take your money stick because I am gullible as all hell. Partly because I believe in the Good of the world and partly because I was a little Chinese immigrant girl who grew up in white, suburban Arlington, VA and thought that the bearded man they called “Jesus” in the old, soft cover, children’s Bible 12-set I somehow ended up with, was America’s status quo, and that I would be turned into a pillar of salt if I looked back at the burning village. My lunches were packed with peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, or Tupperware full of delicious leek dumplings, which subsequently stunk so badly that I was trapped between being too embarrassed to eat them in front of my friends, and guilty for letting my mom’s hard work go to waste. I didn’t even know what The Little Mermaid was until fourth-grade, and I only just developed my own taste in music during sophomore year of college. This is what happens when you travel to the States at age three, under the care of a (phenomenal) mother whose most authentic idea of “American” was the Ronald McDonald cardboard cutout two blocks south of our first D.C. apartment.

But don’t worry folks. I am balancing out my gullibility by living the hell out of life, everywhere. And I am finding street smarts in my size, layering it on like a proper Shanghai citizen, shriveled in front of a tiny heater in the dead of winter (in China, there is a certain date when all heating is officially turned on for winter; the government, however, does not allocate heat below an invisible line drawn across China’s midsection. Shanghai is south of that border). I can pull on an old pair of neck swerves like it’s nobody’s business. You know - the kind where you perch your left hand on a jutted hip while the other hand snaps left, right, left in front of your pursed lips as you gyrate your neck with flava. (Side note: this is a talent I perfected in college when I somehow found myself a member of a Black Entertainment Sorority. Word to the sistas of Diamond Dolls Elite. Mm.) Anyway, I’m quickly learning how to decipher the bullshit from the regular shit.

Long story short – after a bunch of hooha and pointing fingers (probably the most frequent habit at any workplace; that and surfing the net), I made it clear that despite their erroneous accusations of my empty promises and over-optimism, the job I had set out to do was done. And if they wanted anything more, they better get me some Little Fucking Engines that Could. And just to seal the envelope on my hard work and their lack of, how ever many hours I was supposed to work last week, I doubled. I literally worked my way out of the problem. And now everything is daisies . . . or rice patties. Bad attempt at racial humor. Sigh.

And that’s why I’ve delayed my blog, yet again.

But, I'm back :-)

 
 

The perks of working for a large Chinese company:

1) Free Laoshe Teahouse tickets

2) New Year Gift: 10 giant green calendars; 5 pocket-size; one large pastel calendar of a cartoon cow sporting a hat and 
    fishing pail (to be fair, 2009 is the Year of the Cow)

2) A case of oranges for the Lantern Festival

3) Frozen fish and shrimp for the Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival - celebrated in January :-/ )

4) Occasional re-imbursed taxi rides

5) I'm almost the only one who uses the nice western toilet, since They like to squat. (Yes, I am one of Them, but I'm just 
     not a squatter)

6) An excuse to be excessive in dessert or alcohol

 
 

Work is butt-raping me.

Help.