loquats! so that’s what they are!

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I never knew what a loquat was until two weeks ago. Shocking, isn’t it? I think I might’ve heard of loquats before, but … that’s about it. When I took a daytrip to Suzhou a few weeks back with friends (because Suzhou’s only a half-hour train trip from Shanghai), I kept hearing references to 枇杷 (pípa). Er … what’s that? Oh, it’s a loquat. Er … what’s that? My friend’s father was driving us around Suzhou, so he pulled over to the side of the road and bought some. And then it was the group of us standing awkwardly on the side of the road holding these round yellowish-orange things like complete idiots. Uh, sir? How do you eat these?

So now I know what a loquat is. I know what a loquat is in Chinese. I know how to eat a loquat (the skin peels easily, then you eat the fleshy part around the large seeds in the center). And you know what else? I know that loquats grow on trees. Because we went up a hill and picked loquats. Neat.

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mangosteens, they do exist!

Now I can’t be for certain that they exist (in the United States) because I haven’t seen a mangosteen since I was in China, but apparently it’s a thing? Or at least Snapple’s latched onto it. Somewhat. Maybe it’s the exoticism of it, the unknown tropical fruit. I’ve only had a mangosteen once in my life, but I remember it being good. Sweet but a light, refreshing kind of sweet (unlike honey – yuck!). The Snapple, however, ain’t that great because the flavor is too light to work as a drink. But when I saw it in the vending machine at school I just had to buy it (dollar fifty be darned) for nostalgic reasons. Eh. Definitely not as good or as fun as a real mangosteen!

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the color yellow … how i detest thee

Are there any colors you just absolutely despise? I, personally, hate the color yellow. Granted, I might occasionally make exceptions, but for the most part, I just don’t like it. I own one yellow item – a short-sleeved sweater – which was an impulse buy, but nice for spring (I’ve worn it once). Because it’s the summer, it’s bright yellow everywhere. But I think it’s annoying. When it’s boiling hot and humid, the last thing I want to see is yellow. I just want air-conditioning.

I used to hate orange as well, but since my college colors were burnt orange and white, the hue grew on me. I also hate red, but I might compromise with darker, richer, or earthier reds. Does that sound incredibly picky of me? Quite possibly. I guess that’s why I stick to a lot of neutrals. Yellow is too sunshine-y and it often comes across as ‘fake smile’ happiness. I sound like the Grinch of summer. Oh well. The color just annoys me.

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cherry red

Well, what do you know? It’s 2012 already. I’m back in the city and goodness gracious yep, everything is smaller and more expensive than in Texas. Today I went down to Chinatown for some grocery shopping and I bought some cherries from a vendor on the street. Two pounds for three dollars. I’m generally not a big fan of fruit, but I like me some cherries every now and then. Plus, it was two pounds for three dollars. That’s less than I paid for the subway trips.

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I’ve never liked the color red and I always wondered why the bright red hue is sometimes referred to as cherry red. Because in my mind, the color of a cherry has always been the color of a Bing cherry – a nice darkish red. Anyway, they’re pretty yummy. Some are kind of soft and some are kind of hard (I didn’t get to pick them, they just got thrown into a bag by the vendor) but they’re quite sweet. Still not a big fan of fruit, but I suppose one cannot survive on carbs and candy alone.

no work! weird fruit!

Today was my last day of work. Yay! It was also my first final. Boo! The person who handles payroll wasn’t here today, so I’ll probably have to go back tomorrow to check in with her. If she’s not there tomorrow, then I’ll have to go in on Monday. And then … that’s kind of pushing it. I don’t have much time left over here!

As for the final this morning, I’d rather forget about it. It was horrible. Wow. So bad. No matter, I got three more to go. Last night I made a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese because unhealthy American food is my kind of study food. I only ate part of it last night, so I just finished the rest off. It was delicious. But now I feel like my stomach is simultaneously gnawing at itself while verging on explosion. It’s very annoying and kind of painful. It’s a love-hate relationship.

Before the cheesy goodness was some lovely weird fruit. They’re called mangosteens. And they’re very, very weird. When I type “mangosteens” I get the red squiggle line underneath because my computer thinks it’s a typo – but it’s not. The shell is pretty thick and a bit hard, but the inside white stuff is really good. Really sweet and yummy. My friend had given them to me … without actually knowing what they were. Ha. We’re great friends.

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buying chinese

Today was kind of sucky. I planned to check out the Xujiahui Cathedral this afternoon, which, after a whole lot of wandering, did not happen. I have no idea how I could have missed it, but after half an hour of walking up and down the same roads (after half an hour of walking to the area), I gave up. Before the cathedral, I was on Panyu Lu, looking to see if I could find the mirrors of the mirror war (described here) but no luck on that either. Very frustrating. Oh, and did I mention that it started SNOWING while I was walking? Yeah. Thankfully not too cold. Stopped by a little park, which was nice.

By that point in time, my feet were killing me. So I did what I normally do when I’m kind of stressed out. I bought stuff. Went to Ikea. Didn’t buy much, just some candles and containers. Had some meatballs and tiramisu too … their tiramisu ain’t good. Whatever. Meatballs (Swedish) and tiramisu (Italian) at Ikea (Swedish) in China. Heh.

Now to explain the title of this post (and the picture below). Went to the grocery store. They were out of Nutella (Italian), but there was this jar labeled “Hazelnut Chocolate Spread.” Well, that’s essentially the same, right? Except it’s a Chinese brand. Hm …. Then looked for some peanut butter. Skippy (American). Hey, that works. Except the packaging was Chinese. Hm …. Oh well, bought ’em both. Then went to the local fruit stand. Picked up some oranges, picked up some grapes. Then they got rung up. Oranges: 4.3 RMB. Grapes: 34.6 RMB. Wait, what? I really wanted grapes so I just bought ’em. Looked closer at the sign. Oranges were local, grapes imported from the US. Yep, I need to pay more attention to signs.

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