Started work today. A lot of the forms that I had to sign were written in Chinese… hmmm… I'm starting to wonder what I signed to?? I drank coffee out of a real china mug. Like, when people get married and ask for fine china? I drank out of that. And it wasn't a deal at all. Actually, it was totally cool because it had a lid to it. Like, a little china lid that sat on top of it. Kept my coffee warm later than normal, AND you can turn it upside down and it becomes a coaster. I loved it. I want to find one and bring it home for me.
I got my badges and phone and everything. I am going to have to go back to using a Nokia-style non-qwerty keyboard phone. Ugh. Well, it's free, and it's communication while I'm here. It was freezing in my office—that is, until I found out that there was a heater that just had to be turned on.
For lunch, we all go to this separate cafeteria… cause everywhere in China, the employer pays for your food. I had bok choy, matchstick potatoes, tofu in a bean sauce, pork and green peppers, pork wrapped in tofu skin, steamed rice, and pork broth with winter melon. Basically, not much I'd ever have ordered from a menu, but it was all delicious! Plus, I ate with chopsticks. All of it. Even the rice! Well, not the soup, obvi. Using chopsticks could be one of the best diet tricks ever. Now I know how all Asians are so thin (sorry for the blatant profiling). I totally told everyone at lunch (all two other people) about how mine and Chris' first date was with Chinese and he made me eat with chopsticks. So I credit my mad chopstick skills to my boyfriend :-)
I think there's some mountains/hills outside my window, which would be really pretty if this fog and smog ever decides to lift.
After work, I ate at a delicious Cantonese restaurant with Jim and Simon. Simon's hilarious. He's a Chinese guy, born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada, and went to school in North Carolina. Speaks without any sort of accent, and speaks just enough Mandarin to get by. So, when we went to the restaurant and they started talking to Simon in Mandarin, he turns to us and says (in a very American voice), "why do they always assume I speak Chinese? What is it about me?" We all laughed. Anyway, dinner was family-style. Think PF Chang's. We had these shrimp/pork things wrapped in sticky tapioca dough, sweet and sour pork, sweet barbecue eggplant, pork cooked three ways (one had a sort of crusty side, and you dipped it in sugar—it was phenomenal), and steamed dough filled with pork barbecue. Lots of food. And it was fun to eat, cause we all just went at it with our chopsticks, grabbing things and eating them, not putting them on plates or anything. It would have easily cost $20-30 per person if we'd had that in the US. Here? It was $25 total. For all three of us. *love*
After dinner in this mall, we headed underground, where Wal-Mart awaited us. No kidding. It was stinkin' awesome. I went for a bowl and spoon to have my oatmeal in the morning, and some instant coffee. We had a fun time going through the food section. There is a whole aisle that had on the sign just sugar, salt, and MSG. No joke. There was another whole section that had soy sauce. There was a whole other section that had ramen-style noodles. Then, we got to the fresher foods. They had chickens. Whole chickens without feathers, on ice, in the middle of the store. Down a bit, they had dried, salted chickens. Whole, and hanging by their necks, in the middle of the store. They had tanks, like stores have lobster in, but they had catfish and other fish, and hairy crabs (because their claws are covered in fur), and clams. On the "dead-and-over-ice" section, they had barracuda, sting rays and squid. In one tank, they had soft-shell turtles that they were putting on ice (live ones). I bought bread. It's like a braided bread, but in the braid it has jams and fruits. Looks like it'll be good for breakfast. So, of my purchases, the china bowl was $1, the spoon and loaf of bread were 50 cents each, and the coffee was $8. I'm a little upset by the coffee, but since I feel like I saved a dollar on the bowl and three on the bread, I'm okay with it. There was a Starbucks also, but I didn't go in. Apparently, Starbucks are everywhere, so I can get Chris' gift at another time!
Now, I'm getting ready for bed. Unfortunately, I'm also getting a second wind. I just drank some hot cocoa and I think that helped, actually. I'm going to crack open a good book and lay with it in bed. Hopefully be asleep by midnight. They said the jetlag would hit me today and tonight hardest. It sure is so far. I just wanted to sleep in the office starting around 3 (mom, don't worry—I didn't). Yep, feels like the cocoa is kicking in. Time to take a melatonin and head to bed. Adios, amigos. Talk to you tomorrow.