cafeteria food done right

It feels blasphemous labeling such deliciousness ‘cafeteria food’, but alas, that is what it is. 24 kuai! Udon noodles and chicken katsu (Japanese-style fried chicken cutlet) for the equivalent of 4 USD. The only aspect that makes this ‘cafeteria food’ is that I had to carry the food on a tray to a table and shared a long table with a bunch of other single people. What a sacrifice! I love cafeterias!

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The Jing’an subway stop is connected to the basements of two malls, Jiu Guang (久光) and Réel Mall, to the west of Changde Road and on the north and south sides of Nanjing Road, respectively. Jiu Guang’s basement has FreshMart, a Japanese supermarket that carries a lot of foreign/imported/ridiculously expensive foods, some small stores like the Yamazaki bakery, and some sit-down restaurants. Réel’s basement is a giant cafeteria. Starbucks and Wagas are down there too, but the highlight is all the cheap, clean, non-sketchy food places and the large open seating area. I don’t eat there too often, but it’s extremely convenient, not very expensive (more than other cafeterias, but for good reason), and much better food than I could ever hope to muster making myself. There’s a healthy mix of places, with a lot of noodle or rice options (great for single people) and a fair amount of Korean, Japanese, or Sichuan/Hunan food (my friend says those cuisines are ‘popular’ among young people).

The only thing I find weird is more of a cultural thing than a critique against Réel itself. When I was done with my meal (which I devoured), I stood up, put on my coat, picked up my tray, started walking, and looked like a complete idiot. The thing is, there is no place to put away your tray. I asked one of the workers where to put my tray, she looked confused, then laughed and took it from me. Apparently you’re supposed to just leave it and a busser (more like a bus-auntie than busboy) will come around and clean it up. To me, if you walk the food over yourself, it’s your responsibility to clean it up or put it away, but if you’re served by a waiter, you can leave it. That thought process makes me an outsider. It doesn’t even occur to people here that you would put away your own tray. When I was at McDonald’s with a local friend and picked up the tray to throw the trash in the trash, she actually asked me what I was doing. I mean really? Cleaning up after yourself is just common decency. But whaddaya know, I guess I’m just abnormally well-mannered.

ah, chinese people

Some Chinese people in the US act the same as the Chinese people in China. Which can be extremely annoying, especially when you’re trying to watch a movie but the Chinese lady next to you is chomping away on some crunchy, smelly snack in a very crinkly bag. Movie theaters in China tend to be more noisy with people talking, eating, and talking on the phone without too much regard for the moviegoer who’s actually really into the movie. But … this ain’t China.

No one sleeps outside here though, probably because they realize that sleeping in public places is not very safe and considered pretty weird here. Very unlike China, where you frequently stumble upon random people napping on planter edges or at their desks after lunch. Or even at the National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) in Beijing. I went to see the Olympic buildings for the architecture, but apparently some view the stadium seating as prime nap potential.

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hey pretty lady

It’s always nice when someone says that you’re pretty. The other day I was in the elevator of my apartment complex and a lady stepped on, looked at me, and said, “Oh, you are so pretty.” Aw … thanks, lady. She was an expat, spoke English, probably in her 30s-40s, and spoke with a smile. That is fine. However, when people tell me I’m pretty and then proceed to FOLLOW ME DOWN THE STREET … oh hell no. Don’t touch me, get away from me, and stop asking me if I have a boyfriend. Ew.

I also need to get better at saying no to people. I’m used to being friendly and other people being polite, so if someone gives me a flyer I feel like I need to take it. Unfortunately here that usually leads to a short conversation, the person following me, and/or someone trying to drag me off. Even though it’s really rude, it’s so much easier to just pretend that I understand what they’re saying, shake my head, act all exasperated, and say bu4 yao4 or vyo. Should’ve done that today … bad bad bad. No matter, I am now home and safe.

Quick recap of everything else: First week of school and all is well. Found the foreign language bookstore and it’s fabulous. Need to figure out a better sleep schedule. Need to figure out how work is going to work … id est, when I work next and what I need to do. So all in all, things are just fine.

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one week down

One week of vacation almost done. And not much to show for it, unfortunately. Tomorrow’s going to be a fairly busy day though, so I should have more to post this weekend. Below is a sign from a subway (metro) station. I find it weird to call it the metro, because CapMetro in Austin is for the bus system. But anyway … this sign made me crack up because in Shanghai, this really is a necessary sign. Disgusting, eh?

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hello again (sort of)

Whoops. It’s been quite a while since I last posted. Felt like I needed to write though … for fun, not essay-writing for class (because that’s not fun). For anyone reading, I feel like I should warn you that this post is pretty much just going to be me complaining. Because that’s what I do when I feel like this.

Work is work. Wow. Revelation. I feel so rundown and exhausted. Kids need to learn that it is NOT OKAY to cough in people’s faces. I haven’t been feeling too great for the past few days and I am completely blaming the kids. I give them tissues, I tell them to aim for their elbows, but nope. I get paid decently and my job isn’t bad at all, so I shouldn’t complain, but COME ON!

Usually when I go grocery shopping I go in with a short list of the things I absolutely need and then just buy whatever else sounds good at the moment. Since I haven’t been feeling well, I haven’t been feeling hungry, and therefore didn’t buy much when I went to the store. For dinner I ate a corn dog (yay microwave!) because that’s all I could really find. My lunch for tomorrow will be yet another turkey sandwich. I have eaten so many turkey sandwiches since the beginning of the semester, it’s disgusting. But if I’m buying a loaf of bread, a head of lettuce, and a container of turkey, I pretty much have to eat turkey sandwiches all week or everything goes bad/stale/icky.

I want to take NyQuil and sleep a good sleep, but then I probably wouldn’t be able to make it to my 8 AM class. That’s kind of a catch-22. If I want to be alert for class, I need a good sleep (which only NyQuil will give – darn coughing). But if I want to make it to class on time, I cannot take NyQuil (which would knock me out for at least 10 hours). Ugh.

Then there’s school. Need I say more? I cannot wait until Thanksgiving. I am going to relish that break so much. Oh, and my wallet currently has $2. It’s just past 11 PM and this college student is off to take a long hot shower, crawl into bed, and hope that the world magically turns into cotton candy in the morning.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]