Well hello there, do you still remember me?
Apparently I'm the author of this blog...
You know the one who is supposedly responsible for writing posts and publishing them too...
Problem's only I haven't really written anything in the past couple of weeks.
Sorry about that.
I've thought about writing something but I just couldn't convince myself to actually sit down and do it. I did try but I keep getting distracted by various TV shows and movies or Temple Run. We all know that that's only an excuse, the real reason for my silence is a mix of writer's block, laziness and a generally uneventful life. Also, because it's more fun to blame others, my friend sent me a lovely notebook from Ireland and I've been filling that with letters to my fish. It's a little something I'm working on and I hope to finish the book by Christmas. Don't tell the fish, okay? So hush, this existence of this book shall be our secret.
|Here, take this red envelope and have a good time.|
Even though I mostly work the afternoon shift (1pm to 9pm), work's rather tiring. After spending the whole day in teacher mode, my brain just refuses to co-operate. It switches off. Well, actually it switches to snooze-mode. That's the time of the day when speaking English is suddenly really difficult and speaking Chinese feels like it's a piece of cake...and yes I'm just as confused about that as you are. It's kind of cool though so I'm not going to analyse this, I'm just going to roll with it.
In other news, I got my Chinese residence permit at the end of September. Apparently these things take about three weeks to arrange these days (it really doesn't matter which country handles your paperwork, it always takes forever) so I spent most of September passport-less, which was a little weird.
For the October national holiday I had a block of three days, followed by three days of teaching, followed by a block of four days, off work which was absolutely marvellous. I mostly did nothing, which, I admit, was a little boring but also cool. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do. I did go ice-skating though. It was a blast but resulted in two massive bruises on my knees and a rather sore right knee, which is still troubling me a little.
|I survived...and I don't even look tired.|
Somewhere in-between the Mid-Autumn Festival and the October national holiday I also went to the cinema. Not my first Chinese movie and definitely not my first movie staring Wang Leehom, but easily the best movie I've seen this year. The movie was hilarious, it had just the right amount of comedy, silliness, romance and action to make it perfect. Go watch it!
That evening I also sadly misjudged just how hot the soup inside a soup dumpling actually is. I royally burned my mouth and suffered from a numb tongue for three days. I tell you, eating was no fun. Who on earth needs 45 minutes to eat a damn banana?! Apparently I do.
|Wang Leehom's "My Lucky Star" 王力宏的 “非常幸运”|
Last week I also finally took the plunge and popped into the hairdressers across the road from my apartment. I somehow managed to tell them that I wanted to get my haircut and a handsome young man took me to the second floor of the shop to wash my hair. He was pretty happy about my Chinese skills and while he was washing my hair, which took about half an hour, we had a lovely chat. He was as gentle as could be and super-professional. I really regret not asking him and his mate to pose for a photo with me. Next time I'll make them!
I'm still a little confused by the fact that here in China mostly men choose to become a hairdresser. I have yet to come across a female hairdresser. While my hairdresser washed my hair I did ask him that and he told me that the training takes about three years to finish so girls don't want to waste that much time to learn the ropes of a job they don't intent to keep doing once they are married and have a child. Fine by me, I'm totally okay with having a handsome, male hairdresser -- yes, I totally am that shallow! No long nails that scratch my scalp, just smooth fingertips giving me a relaxing massage. Heaven! Bliss!
My hairdresser was extremely attentive and so was his colleague, who actually cut my hair. Instead of rushing, he took his time and made sure to ask me exactly how I wanted to get my hair cut. I had a little trouble making myself understood but the guys in the shop were professionals and somehow managed to piece my incomprehensible Chinese together to make sense. Just about every hairdresser in the shop was interested in my hair and having a feel so my hairdresser had to fight them off to actually be able to cut my hair. It was hilarious really. It's not everyday you want to get your hair cut and end up getting the VIP treatment. I'm not even going to try to deny it, I royally enjoyed it. These guys were all super-cute and funny and I had a blast letting them fuss over me.
My haircut included a blow-dry and hairstyle and I left feeling like a superstar. A good haircut is definitely better than chocolate.
|The result, not that much change in length, just a trim, blow-dry and style.|
Following the lovely treatment I got from my new hairdresser, I spontaneously decided to treat myself to a manicure on Sunday evening. The last time I did that was back in Germany and it was a horrible affair. The beautician was absolutely crap at her job and I left with bloody, sore hands. Naturally I never went back. In Ireland I never considered to treat myself (partly because the prices are sky-high) but living in China has made me throw caution into the wind a bit. I like looking pretty. Mind you, I'm not into full on with five tonnes of make-up, I prefer to keep it simple.
But back to my manicure, I went for a French manicure, which, according to my beautician, looks amazing with my white skin. That reasoning made me laugh...it's all about my white skin here in China. Oh well, as long as they're having fun. I've given up on telling them that in Western countries it's actually rude to tell people "Oh my god, you're so white!". If my friend was to say this to me, I'd give her a kick up the arse for insinuating I look sick. Every time I tell my students that in Western countries we simply don't comment on the colour of somebody's skin, they laugh.
Anywho, it took about an hour and a half to get my nails done. I went all out and also had a hand massage, which was well worth it. The girls in the shop were absolutely lovely and we chatted about anything and nothing the whole time I was there. In the end we took a couple of photos together and exchanged WeChat IDs to stay in touch.
This week my uneventful, quiet celebrity life here in China officially got verified by Sina Weibo and I now have a pretty golden V attached to my profile picture, you know like all the celebrities. I'm pretty chuffed with myself that I managed to complete the application process. I struggled with it before so I'm glad it finally worked out. My Weibo suddenly looks so much more professional but this means I also feel compelled to triple-check my Chinese before I hit "post" and post more English. My verified badge does say that I'm an English teacher...
In more, other, food-related news, my new favourite dish is a spicy noddle and chicken broth from a local restaurant near my work. I wasn't feeling all that hungry so I just wanted something small, a light dish. One of my students recommended this dish to me and I went for it. No regrets. The broth is spicy but not spicy enough to make you spew fire. It'll make you feel warm and happy. A very simple dish but it's full of flavour. Drink some of the broth, followed by a mouthful of the stripped chicken with the mushroom and some noodles. Yum. I usually cook at home and take my food into work but this week I'm very tempted to buy my dinner instead of cooking it.
|The name of the dish is 五彩鸡丝面 which translates into multi-coloured noodles with chicken.|
What else? Oh yes, two of my colleagues went to 汉正街 (Hangzheng Jie), a huge wholesale market here in Wuhan (Hankou), and I tagged along. It's actually so much more than just a street, so the name is a little misleading. There are many back alleys to explore and if you have time it's well worth a trip.
You can find just about anything there and it's usually a lot cheaper than in the shops but you need time and patience to shop around and haggle about the price. Nevertheless, it's a lot of fun and you will find at least some of the things you wanted.
My feet were seriously sore after our five-hour shopping trip but I had a blast and great company. The place was packed but not horribly so and we also found a nice place (a little hidden away) on the eighth floor of a nearby shopping mall, to have an early dinner. They had squid!!!
|A sizzling plate of squid and fresh vegetables. Surprisingly delicious, honestly thought it would be just okay.|
Now, I've told you a lot of things but I totally neglected to introduce somebody very important to you. You haven't met 小红 (Xiao Hong) just yet and it's a real shame because she's really, really cute, so without further ado, here she is:
|What? Doesn't everyone need a cactus in their life? If you never considered getting a cactus then you are seriously missing out. I'm telling you, you should go out right now and invest in a cactus to keep you company.|
Now I'm really running out of things to share with you but I'll work on something, I promise. I could always dedicate an entire post to pseudo Chinese food aka the food I cook and eat every day. Today I made hot dry noodles with egg and fish, my very own creation. The fish says he wants to try it next time, but I'm not so sure that's a good idea. What does China's law say about a foreign woman who accidentally poisons her Chinese boyfriend with inedible home-cooked food? I'm not saying that I'm absolutely awful at cooking but my fish loves his mum's cooking and she's a damn fine cook. I fear I'll never live up to his expectations.
Now if you excuse me, I just decided that I need to watch 非常幸运 again, so I shall be off.