Beijing High Life

So Wednesday was a bit stressful and a bit awesome. It started with a 7 am phone call from my first student asking if we could move our class from 9 to the afternoon. I couldn’t, so we canceled class, and I gratefully went back to sleep for an extra two hours. With my free time, I did laundry, reorganized and cleaned my room, and prepared for my interviews.

I was ready and out the door by 2:10, but had a horrible time getting a cab-honestly, why was traffic so awful at two on a Wednesday afternoon-so at 2:30, I reluctantly got on a bus, my feet already aching in my heels and quite uncomfortably warm in my suit. After a cozy ride in bumper to bumper traffic, I ran my robot heart out and made it to the first interview just on time. Afterward, I managed to flag down a cab after only walking a block, and for the first time, someone actually let me take the cab instead of hopping in before I could. Still more traffic, so I just had time to freshen up and change into a fancy dress and a different pair of heels, before meeting my friend AH.

AH had somehow finagled an invitation to a exhibition and cocktail reception being held at a diplomatic residence, and did me a lovely favor by inviting me. We mingled with complete strangers, drank lovely European wine, strategically stalked the servitors with hors d’oeuvres trays. I was gratified to learn that AH and I share this fixation of fancy parties, and that I am not the only uncouth pretender obsessed with eating. I collected a few name cards, a few potential employment connections, and a very friendly socialite befriended AH and me, and has invited us to another upcoming fancy reception. Oh Beijing, where wealthy socialites, corrupt businessmen, diplomats, and unemployed/part-time English teachers can hobnob together.

We left early, since AH had later plans and I had another interview and didn’t want to drink too much of the delicious wine. Still hungry, I tossed together a quick mapo tofu dish, using bacon since I didn’t have any minced pork on hand. it was a little bit too spicy and salty, but not bad. Fingers crossed now for both interviews, we’ll see how my life goes.

A sunny day, bits of soft fuzz drift in the warm wind like a lazy snowfall. The scent of lilacs fills the air these days, masking the usual stench that characterizes Beijing. I biked slowly, indolently, having a good morning. Dina and I met up after lunch for an adventure to Ikea. I bought lots of glass bowls and bake ware and a table that took me two hours to assemble. Only 2 screws away from being complete, I realized that two of the first pieces were switched, and I had to take it all apart and reassemble it. We rewarded our shopping excursion with Ikea hotdogs and ice cream, then battled for a cab home. Dina stayed for dinner, ordering from the family style restaurant, and fiddled about with internet things while I struggled with my table. Ginny came home just in time to make some snarky comments about girls and building things, to which I had to reply with threats of deadly force.

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