the day of non-working

It’s a holiday! No work! Today is May 1, aka May Day, aka International Workers’ Day, aka Labor/Labour Day. I had heard of May 1 being a holiday, but having grown up in the States, it was always one of those random holidays that barely made it onto the calendar. It was that weird spring holiday where you might leave candy and flowers at your neighbors’ doors (but most don’t).

Well, no candy and flowers here in China. It is a national holiday though, so the work schedule gets all switcherooed to make it a three-day weekend (off Thursday, off Friday, off Saturday, work Sunday). I hear the holiday referred to as Labor Day (and I’ve seen both the American and British spellings), but I just can’t bring myself to call it that. Because Labor Day is the first Monday of September. It’s a goodbye to summer, the last hurrah before school starts, whereas May Day is decidedly a spring deal. So I’ll play the part and say “International Workers’ Day” … but in my mind I’m thinking flowers.

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Image is of a pile of rubble near a construction site in Zhujiajiao, Qingpu District, Shanghai. Construction in China – it’s not progress, it’s a way of life.

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summer in new york

This has been my first summer in New York, and wow it’s hot. The temperatures have been in the 90s except for a few days of rain, and it’s not really the temperature that gets you, it’s the humidity. It’s not to the point where I’m going to embarrass myself as a Texan by overly complaining about it, but I must say, this lack of central air-conditioning is annoying. Otherwise, it’s kind of nice. No school, work only two days a week, and a lovely ceiling fan spinning overhead.

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To me, summer in New York means:

  1. Broken fire hydrants and flooded streets.
  2. Brunch every weekend. (Bad for the wallet, good for the soul.)
  3. Hot trash smell.
  4. “The Entertainer” on repeat from that ice cream truck that seems to circle my block.
  5. The extreme temperature difference between waiting for the subway (that steaming concrete hell that is the underground airless platform) and entering the air-conditioned car.
  6. Aguas frescas on the street. Watermelon, hibiscus, tamarind, horchata, oh my!
  7. All those damn tourists who walk slowly, crowd the museums, talk obnoxiously loud on the subway, and make my life just that much more miserable.