chilly chily april weather

What a great start to spring, eh? Technically the first day of spring was a few weeks ago on March 20, but if you’ve been in the Northeast, you’d never’ve guessed it. On the first day of April, the weather was beautiful (only a light jacket required). On the second day of April, it snowed (winter coat and snow boots). Since then, the weather’s ranged from the 30s to upper 50s, but it’s expected to hit 75F this weekend.

I know it’s boring to complain about the weather. I know it’s pointless to complain about something that no one has any control over. But it’s so frustrating! Mostly because I keep putting things away (like coats, sweaters, boots) only to have to take them out again, and my tomato plants are getting bigger and are starting to crowd me out of my own apartment.

eating ice, busan in winter (tbt)

Of all the countries I’ve visited (excluding China and the US where I’ve lived), I’ve visited Korea the most – three times. That being said, I haven’t actually seen much of Korea because all of my trips were more for visiting people than exploring or adventuring. So when my sister and I took a short trip to Busan in January 2015, we went to the beach and ate ice. Yeah, we’re all about contradictions like that. But it was good. And it had mango. Yum.

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We went to a place called Binguru just across the street from the Gwangalli Beach, and although there are many, many places in Korea that sell shaved ice, it’s definitely more popular in the summer. I was told that this was Taiwanese shaved ice (baobing) rather than the very similar Korean version (bingsu), but honestly I’m not too sure what differentiates them … I think they’re basically the same. Both use a fluffy form of shaved ice and are served either with red bean topping or sweet with fruit.

In contrast, the good ol’ American snow cone is ground-up ice with syrup for flavor … totally paling in comparison to the fluffy and fresh Asian ices. However, as good as baobing and bingsu are, I could totally go for a snow cone right now.

wishing you were somehow here again

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This time last year I was in New York. I was working on my thesis, there was snow piled up on the fire escape outside my bedroom window, and I was cozy warm. Amazing how much changes in a year, eh? Snow, how I miss it! Free heating, how I miss it! Being from Texas, I’m totally cool with endless summer, but if I’m going to be cold, there’d better be snow.

Lately Shanghai’s weather has been … odd. For a bit there I thought we had completely skipped winter. Last week there were a few days that were in the low 20s Celsius (60s-70s Fahrenheit) and it was actually kind of depressing, like seasonal affective disorder in winter but in reverse. Well, yesterday it snowed! Crazy, right? It dropped 20 degrees in a week! It snowed for a bit on Sunday and more yesterday, but it didn’t stick and the weather’s warming up again.

But it’s still really cold! Shanghai’s longitude is similar to Central Texas, but since there’s no central heating here and buildings are poorly insulated, it feels soooo much colder than New York. Either give me a radiator or give me snow! In New York I had both, in Shanghai I’d like at least one. This air conditioner/heater unit (which is mounted on the wall above me) is quite inefficient (because hot air rises) and it is totally drying out my skin.

dying mosquitoes: one benefit of winter

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My office is located near the Suzhou River. Where there’s water, there’re mosquitoes. And goodness gracious are there mosquitoes. Thankfully, as the weather cools (IT’S GOTTEN REALLY COLD!), the mosquitoes are lessening, which means there are less of them bothering me and I have less mosquito bites, which is probably also thanks to the sweaters and leggings I’ve been wearing.

I almost feel bad for the ones that still come by to visit because they’re hanging on to life so dearly. But it’s quite obvious they’re on their last legs since they’re slower and much easier to kill. Woot! Die, little buggers, die!

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!

sheesh it’s burning up in here

New York, ah how I love thee. It’s great that heating is covered by the landlord and there are guidelines in place so they don’t skimp, but GOODNESS GRACIOUS, PLEASE TURN IT OFF ALREADY. It’s the latter part of May, the outside temp is about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. AND THE HEATER IS STILL ON. At this point it’s just wasteful because I have to have the fan on to combat the heater.

Last year my room had an overactive heater, but it was only really crazy during the winter, so it was just mildly uncomfortable with the windows open. I switched apartments and the heater here worked fine during the winter, but now it’s basically summer so having the heater on is just absurd. My room is not actually 97 degrees, it’s just that I keep my thermometer on top of the radiator. Regardless, it’s REALLY HOT IN HERE.

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remember nemo?

It has been about a month since Nemo hit. Remember that? The storm was called Nemo, and I have no idea why. It didn’t really need a name. It was a snowstorm! They don’t get names! Plus, if they really, really wanted to give it a name, Nemo was a bad choice. First of all because it’s the name of that cute little fish and secondly because it continues to ignore that great movie from the my childhood that was based on a comic strip from the early 1900s. Oh and also because THERE WERE TWO STORMS, not just one. But I suppose my main quibble is that apparently my sister and I were the only ones to ever watch “Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland.”

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The storm itself was kind of overblown in terms of New York. Apparently there was about a foot of snowfall, but … it really didn’t seem like it. Quite pretty and not a big deal considering that the morning after, even without all the sidewalks salted, it wasn’t too bad except for crossing Morningside Park (which hadn’t had its stairs shoveled at that point). But everyone was sledding and the kids were having so much fun. It was funny to see because it’s New York City! Sometimes I forget there are so many kids around here.

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[NOTE: Image is the “Little Nemo in Slumberland” comic published on March 11, 1906, and retrieved from the Comic Strip Library.]

The name Nemo is Latin for “nobody” … but no one really cares about dead languages, right? I didn’t even know the stupid storm was named Nemo until way after the storm had already started (ah, life without cable) but when I eventually heard the name Nemo being tossed around, I immediately thought of Little Nemo, whereas I’m sure most people thought of the fish. Sigh … on the other hand, Google knows of my Nemo (the comic at least) so that’s gotta be worth something!

snow again – for realz!

Today, New York City was snowing her little head off. Woo! It’s been all over the news; these are supposedly “blizzard conditions” … but not really – at least not in Manhattan so far. When I left for work this morning it was snowing (sideways), when I got to work it was sleeting (sideways), when I actually started working it was raining (sideways). My temporary desk faces the window, so I was watching stuff fall (sideways) from the sky all day. Kind of hard to concentrate! No one wanted to go out for lunch so we ordered some pizzas and ate together at the big conference table, which was nice. Then the rain suddenly turned into snow! It was snowing! And it kept snowing!

And then I left work. It was still snowing, but … ew. Dirty slushy slippery snow ain’t great to walk around in. It’s still snowing and it’s supposed to continue through the night, so I wonder what it’s going to look like when I wake up. Right now there’s only about an inch on the ground because all the sidewalks had been heavily salted since yesterday. As much as I hope there’s a lot of snow, tomorrow morning I need to head to campus and then trek over to Queens, so that might not be a very fun trip.

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fresh snow in the city!

Last night it snowed! The fresh snow wasn’t all light and fluffy; it seemed a bit harsher with more crystals, which made surfaces shimmer. I hadn’t been expecting snow, and the hard soles of my cowboy boots definitely did not agree with the icy slickness of that fresh snow! I almost slipped a few times, but thankfully I never fell. It only snowed for a few hours, and by this morning most of the snow had been swept away or melted.

School has once again started and everything is already starting to feel overwhelming. The weather’s cold, my schedule is in flux, and my thesis is being mean. But seeing snow fall is probably one of the most calming things ever.

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settling in nicely

The semester is ramping up and the kinks are almost smoothed out. I’ve decided on my classes and am starting to get into the rhythm of my new schedule, which is always a bit of a task since each day is different. Two weekends ago I went down to Bryant Park and did some ice skating, which was fun … in a sense. Oh my goodness I was so sore afterwards. Balance is not one of my talents. There’s a reason I got a ‘B’ in gym class. But that little adventure was followed up with some yummy apple cider, so all was forgiven.

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Back then (oh so long ago), it was cold and it snowed. The weather’s warmed up since then, and it’s REALLY weird. February 1st and the temperature is about 60F right now. It’s 60 degrees! In February! In New York! Oh goodness. I’d better go read now. Ack. So much reading.