Sunday started out great. I got to sleep in, and then I went for brunch at the Radisson with A. It’s a very nice hotel, and I noticed while I was waiting in the lobby that they serve margaritas. I don’t drink much, but I do enjoy a good margarita. I’m hoping to go back to drink one later.
The restaurant was on the 26th floor, so we had a pretty good view of the river and part of the city. There was a set menu, with a choice of two starters (salad with pistachio vinaigrette, or creamy mushroom soup with black truffle oil), two entrees (steak medallion or Peri Peri chicken), and two desserts (crème brulee or Matcha). I chose the soup, chicken, and crème brulee.
First though, we got some fresh baked bread served with butter, and olive oil with balsamic vinegar. The bread was warm and crusty – I had several pieces, dipped in olive oil. Fortunately, the bread didn’t seem to upset my stomach.
The Peri Peri chicken was wonderful! I haven’t eaten any Peri Peri since South Africa, so it was a real treat. Of course A had steak, and encouraged me to ‘treat’ myself – but Peri Peri chicken is harder to come by. Besides, I rarely eat beef at home.
Sadly, the soup was not as good. It seemed to merely be a puree, with no actual cream. The creamy chicken mushroom soup at Pizza Hut tastes better. The salad looked good, but I didn’t want to eat iceberg lettuce dressed up with pistachios.
The crème brulee had no brulee – just something that tasted like a caramel sauce drizzled on top. The custard was good….but without the crunchy topping, it was just average. And disappointing. The Matcha looked like something I’d have been served in Japan, made with green tea.
Afterwards, I went to the outlet mall to buy presents. Since it was daylight, I could see that the name was Dream Island. I’d noticed it several times before and had wondered what was inside. I went back to HIPANDA since their prices were cheaper than the store at WanDa. Papa had sent me some photos, so once I had convinced the saleswomen that yes, the 16 year old girl needed a men’s size L, I was able to buy the shirts for the big kids, but they didn’t have little kids’ sizes. The saleswomen told me that the downtown store at Five Star had kid’s shirts, and helped me put the address into my GPS for the taxi driver. To be sure, they also wrote it down on a piece of paper, with instructions to go to the 6th floor.
I ordered a DiDi when I got downstairs and when I got downtown I just had to find the actual building. Since I had the paper, I was able to show it to people and they pointed me into the pedestrian area to the right building. When I got upstairs, several sales people and random customers all helped me buy the shirts. I had their US sizes courtesy of Papa, but since I’d bought shirts of several different sizes for myself, I was wary of just going by the labels. I showed them the photos, and then got one size bigger to be safe. The 2 and 3 year olds will definitely grow into them.
On Monday, one of my classes had been canceled, so I went to Rehab in the morning. On the ride there, is a street that basically follows the river, and there is a long narrow park alongside the road. Of course the windows were open, because it seems that all Chinese taxi drivers like fresh air (even if it’s polluted, or freezing cold, or steaming hot). I realized that I was hearing a sound from the park. Cicadas! It was great to hear the familiar singing, and it felt a little bit less like a big city.
After rehab I went to WanDa for lunch and to get some more shorts since all my old clothes are all too big, and it’s so freaking hot.
On Sunday morning, before I went to the Radisson, I’d sat in on an event here at school. It was a Blind Date party and seemed fun. The attendees were mostly 20 somethings, from all over Liuzhou. A couple of the office staff participated, and I noticed that one of their dates had a nice pair of navy shorts. She helped me ask him where he’d bought them, and then sent me the name of the store. I showed this at the Concierge desk at the mall, and was directed upstairs.
Of course it was a men’s clothing store, because even with my smaller waist, I’m still bigger than the average Chinese woman. Once I’d convinced the saleswoman that I knew I was in a men’s store, she helped me buy the navy shorts, and a denim pair too! I usually buy Bermuda shorts, so I didn’t mind not having the short shorts that are sold in the women’s clothing stores.
Then I returned to H&M to get a few more pieces of clothing. I think it’s now my favorite store in China. My mom looked online and there are three stores in STL! It reminds of that old store The Limited. A little more upscale then UniQlo, which is more like The Gap.
Tuesday was Star Trek night and we were scheduled to watch the second half of the Wrath of Khan, but X, the student who runs the movie, had a family emergency. So, we just sat and talked with the students. I wore my new navy shorts and two new shirts.
Wednesday evening I went back to OMG with some colleagues. They were all excited to have Mexican food! S had just been in Hong Kong, so he brought some sour cream back with him for our fajitas. It was great, and I couldn’t help remembering those margaritas over at the Radisson….
I also tried the chicken quesadilla. It was great. I’m supposed to go back with more colleagues who weren’t able to make it, and I think I might just get that next time. Because, cheese……
Thursday we had the monthly departmental birthday party. It was my turn.
I went to rehab in the morning again (all grade 2 classes were cancelled this week). I had to go to WanDa to return a pair of shorts – I hadn’t been able to decide between two styles so I just bought both! I wanted to try a different restaurant, so I went to a BBQ place, but they didn’t have photos on their menu. (Ribs are high on my list of foods I want to eat when I get home!)
I remember that J and I had seen a place we wanted to try a week or so before, so I went there without him. (Sorry J!!) It’s a Japanese restaurant and the food was delicious. I got sushi, though they also have cooked food, which I’ll try next time. It was excellent, as was the tea – it seemed to be a blend of green tea and mugi-cha (barley tea). I’m looking forward to going back.
Afterwards, I decided to go to the movies to see Solo. It was a 3pm show and I was the only person. The snacks are a lot healthier than in the US.
So, my ankle is a lot better from rehab and acupuncture, I’ve made friends, I’m eating yummy foods and can go to the grocery now so I can cook myself, I’m even starting to learn some Chinese finally.
Friday morning I go to teach and K tells me that some students are looking for me. Apparently they are planning a goodbye party for me and Dan. ‘What about N?’ I ask, since he’s leaving too.
‘Oh, he’s gone already.’
W H A T ? !
Ok, I know that I’m leaving and he’s leaving, and so are D and C, and I’ll be saying goodbye to them and the Chinese teachers and the other foreign teachers who are staying – I’ve been preparing for the end of the school year – at the end of June.
‘He’s been transferred to another school’.
W H A C K !!
I feel like the world just went upside down. N is the only other TCK on campus and he’s like another brother.
Just then N came into the office. He told me that he’d only found out the afternoon before and that he was supposed to teach Monday morning at his new school, in another province. He was packing up and heading out over the weekend.
The bell rings. I have to get to class.
After two classes, I’m done for the day, but my plans to go send out resumes all afternoon are blown. I know if I go back to my empty apartment I’ll be upset and depressed.
So I wait for N to finish his class and we walk back to the dorm. I’m calmer now and he tells me how much he needs to do before he leaves. I offer to help and he says he’ll let me know.
Later that evening, T invites us for a beer to have a chat with N before he leaves. I don’t drink beer, because of the gluten, but I did taste it because it was something new and different.
Saturday. Today I slept in, cooked breakfast, did laundry, packed some more old clothes into my broken suitcase to give to charity, and tried to look at jobs, but the internet is down again. Sigh.
Tonight I’ll go to the weekly Expat Meetup and drown my sorrows in a glass of mango juice.