let the non-relaxing vacation begin!

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I often say I’m busy, which is true, but it’s not entirely accurate. You see, I do have stuff to do, but it’s not really so much in terms of quantity, but its timing really, really sucks, so I am stressed out beyond belief. Today is the start of my vacation to Qingdao, I’m sitting here in the airport sleep-deprived and a bit nauseous, and the only thing I can think of is: I really should have brought my laptop with me, I’ve got work to do!

Oy. Here’s hoping the hostel has good wifi. Things were busy but manageable last week, they just kinda snowballed in the last few days. I probably should stay at home and be a good little worker bee, but here I am at good ol’ PVG anyhow because I need a vacation. I did pack a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to connect to my phone, which should make finishing work a bit easier, but … oh who am I kidding? This is going to majorly suck. What a depressing way to start a vacation.

And it is absurdly early. I hate mornings. Bah humbug.

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hello kfc, goodbye stress

Work work work … KFC! Yum. 15.5 kuai? Yup. Two-minute walk? I’m in.

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The spicy chicken sandwich (香辣鸡腿堡 xiāng là jītuǐ bǎo) is, in my opinion, delicious. Best thing on the menu. The spice is just enough to make your mouth tingle but not enough to require a drink. Most importantly, the chicken sandwich is made with dark meat. Ah yes, dark meat. I will never understand why Americans insist on eating white meat. If you’re trying to be heatlthy, then sure, white meat has less fat than dark meat. But dark meat is so much more flavorful! And if you’re trying to be heatlhy, why the heck are you at KFC in the first place? I remember when McDonald’s turned their chicken nuggets to be all white meat. That was a sad, sad day. I guess that will end up being one of those “back when I was a kid …” kind of stories, like when Pluto was a planet.

Anyhow, the reason for my trip to KFC was because this past week was sheer madness. I normally bring my lunch to work, but I didn’t have time to prepare anything and I didn’t want to take too long of a lunch break since there was still stuff to get done. Yup, that’s my rationale for hopping over to KFC and indulging in some greasy goodness. No matter. The key is moderation and since I rarely eat fast food, one chicken sandwich isn’t going to kill me. Besides, it was sooooo good! Ah, instant stress reliever!

november’s end

Wow this month has been crazy. Crazy busy, crazy stressful. But the good news? I have a work visa! Woot! Well, not really … but after many trials and tribulations I have finally received the employment license, which will allow me to get the work visa. Still quite a long way to go before everything gets finalized. Next step: Hong Kong! More paperwork! And more cash to shill out! (Ugh, I have a headache already.)

Below is a picture I took on the subway, er … “metro,” on my daily commute. For no special reason. It’s just so clean!

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Thanksgiving was good fun and I’ve basically gotten over my cold, but the weather’s steadily advancing towards full-on winter, my apartment is cold even with my heater on, and I really miss American food. Like, I really want Domino’s. And I would kill for apple cobbler. Sigh. Moving on, work is good! I like the people I work with, I like the day-to-day, and I really think Shanghai’s good for me. So, to the powers that be that finally granted that employment visa: Thanks! It only took you FOREVER and a day.

As hectic as November was, I have a feeling December’s gonna be pretty crazy as well. Wish me luck! And stay warm out there!

mmmm … wagas

Ugh. I’m exhausted. Sooooo much going on. And I’m behind on so many things! Uh oh. I have a whole host of partially-prepared posts, but I just don’t have the time to finish them up. So here’s a picture of food. Yum. Yay.

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This is a picture of a chicken panini … or rather a “chicken, bacon bits and sun-dried tomato salad with avocado leaves” on “Turkish panini” from Wagas. Mmmm … Wagas. For those not in the know, Wagas is a chain of restaurants in China that’s pretty popular with the Western crowd. Why? Because it’s Western food (sandwiches, salads, wraps), the food is good/clean/consistent, and their restaurant spaces are more appealing to a foreign crowd – casual/comfy decor, clean, higher-end locations, and free wi-fi. Prices are at a manageable expat level (about 50 RMB for a sandwich), so I only eat it every now and then ’cause I ain’t on an expat salary. But they do delivery! When I was waiting for the internet at my apartment to get set up, I spent a fair amount of time at Wagas for the wi-fi. Good food and good atmosphere but not so good on the wallet. I recommend their spinach wraps – the chicken curry is absolutely delish.

Now off to finish some of my overdue work (for Company A)! Or maybe some of that deadline-approaching freelance work (for Company B)! Or … maybe I should sleep? I have to go into the office early tomorrow morning (for Company C). Argh. Decisions, decisions. Ah, it’s cold. And now I’m hungry.

time warp: i hope i survive(d)

Am I alive? No, seriously … did I survive this past week? I honestly don’t know because I’m writing this post a week in advance of when this is being posted. Why? Because the next week (er, the past week) is my hell week. Paper due. Final thesis presentation. Hence the label of hell week. And hence this time warp. Are you humming “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror in your head yet? Or even out loud!? You should be.

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Image is from the National Gallery of Art in DC. “Multiverse” (2008) by Leo Villareal is an underground light tunnel in the concourse connecting the NGA’s east and west buildings. Reminds me of James Turrell’s “Light Inside” (1999) at the MFAH, which also acts as an underground connector tunnel and uses light. Very trippy.

darkest before the dawn

Ugh … almost done! Okay, not really. But one can hope, right? Or is the unrealistic optimism making you gag? I have so much to do in the next few days, it’s crazy. My internal clock is way out of whack. For instance, last night I slept almost 16 hours. Woah. I really could’ve used that chunk of time. But whatever. It’s okay. It will all be okay. Repeat: It will all be okay.

I’m also slightly freaking out because the library sent me a notice that a book I had checked out is overdue … even though I am positive I returned it last week. I did finally quit my job, which is kind of sad, but I’m just not going to have the time for it anymore. And what else? Oh, I’ve lost another few pounds, meaning that I am now approximately 20 pounds under my college weight. Whups. I’ll probably gain it back during the holidays though, so I guess it’s okay.

And hey, New York is pretty in the early morning. You know, in that rare space of time when there are no rats or people.

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finals. nor’easter. sigh.

Tonight is going to be an all-nighter. Sigh. It’s that time of the year when massive amounts of caffeine and sugar get ingested and I seclude myself in my room and my room turns into an absolute mess. Oh yes, it’s finals time. No exams of course, just papers. And a presentation tomorrow … er, in nine hours. I kind of feel disgusting right now. A few days ago the weather was really warm, then cold, then kind of nice. Today my room once again turned into a sauna, because outside it’s cold and rainy and the heater (which I cannot control) only has two options: off or full blast. Apparently there’s this thing called the “Nor’easter storm” which is a type of storm that affects this area, which is causing the frigid rain outside and thus this tropical ecosystem in my room. Sigh.

Last month when I went to Boston over spring break, I visited the New England Aquarium. The jellyfish were so pretty. And so peaceful-looking. And definitely not dying of stress or heat. Sigh.

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i need pigs to fly

Some days I feel like crap. Then other days I tell myself to suck it up. I’m not quite sure where my head’s been at lately. Probably because sleep is not really my friend these days. It’s like when your friend is mad at you and you’re not exactly sure why but you kind of have a feeling that you deserve the cold shoulder so you let your friend have his/her space. That’s my relationship with sleep these days. And yes, I just anthropomorphized sleep.

School is as usual. Finally got my passport back. Work is work, still haven’t settled on an opinion (I keep wavering). This week I have a field trip and the following week there are midterms. I don’t know. I just wish that someone will swoop in and tell me that I’m needed immediately back in the United States to begin a life of luxury, where I have a sewing machine, comfy bed, and oven. That would be great.

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yams yum

I’m in the middle of midterms. Oh my gosh. My to-do list is two pages long right now. Must work on graduate school stuff. Thanksgiving is Thursday. Today I bought some yams. Cheap as heck. 5 kuai for a bag about 2.5 pounds. That’s less than a buck for around 8 good-sized yams! Don’t they look delish? Yeah, they’re a bit iffy-looking. Taste alright though.

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hiatus, oh yes

I got back from a field trip to Hangzhou about … four hours ago. And I’m exhausted but there’s oh so much to do. It’s too late to change my work schedule, so for now it’ll have to do. But in addition to that, midterms are coming up. Visa stuff. Then Thanksgiving. Essays. Portfolio. Applications. Stuff on top of stuff. I have so many stories and photos to share, but that’ll all have to wait. I still haven’t uploaded all of my Expo pictures, so whatever. No serious blog posts for a while, just simple “I am alive” kind of posts for the next month.