Lettuce Rejoice for Winter!

Today is “Lidong,” the beginning of winter on the lunar calendar. Funny because it was mighty warm today, though the sun did go down around 5 pm.

 

The view at work was clear because it drizzled early this morning. Normally, my view looks like this:

Winter is lovely, but the sun goes down too early making the last stretch of work absolute torture.

For my friends who care, this is what my office looks like:

Feel my pain.

And for those same friends, can you picture me in one of those slots under the translucent lighting??! I can barely sit still in front of a TV in a cozy living room!

I digress.

Lidong… yes, on Lidong Chinese people traditionally eat dumplings. But who follows traditions anymore? Instead, I came home to a MOUND of surprise.

"Flash" photos on my camera come out terribly. My sincerest apologies for your visual displeasure!

My neighborhood was handing out free LETTUCE! Insecticide-free!  Each apartment unit can carry home 2 bags. My mom and I hate turning down free things, so in the elevator we went with our share.

Why, you might ask, is our neighborhood distributing lettuce to its residents? It’s because a nearby farm yielded way more lettuce than they could sell (one gigantic head of lettuce at the market costs .90 Yuan, which is about a $0.16, so basically it’s worth nothing). More significantly, however,  it’s because contractors bought the land and need to clear it for apartment complexes that will be sold at exorbitant rates.

Anyhow, this lettuce is going to last all winter long. I foresee a mountain of dumplings, endless bowls of chicken soup and maybe even kimchi (which is Korean!) in the upcoming months. Too bad I don’t have rabbits or turtles to share my treasure with.

Sleep tight, sweet lettuceheads.

 

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When Blogger’s Block Hits, I Talk About Babies

It’s funny…I find myself constantly thinking about this blog, about what to write, of what I see and what I hear wherever I go. But when I sit my butt down, I suddenly lose that inspiration. The upside is I find myself reading other people’s blogs (which I have come to LOVE doing) and learn tons about lives all over the world. It’s really quite fascinating. The world and its people are something beautiful, and I want to contribute with my stories and photos of life in Beijing, but since I have writer’s block, I guess I’ll start with an easy topic, like babies.

I have a problem with staring and smiling uncontrollably at babies. Personally, I don’t think it’s creepy but I don’t know how other people would react to my gazing. My friends tell me it’s weird. Oh well, they’re cute! Especially Chinese babies! I now understand why that American lady I met in Chinatown, NY frequented the park to watch Chinese babies (she even helped me get bird poop out of my hair while we chatted). Aware that my staring may anger some folks, I decided against taking photos, too, except for one.

They don't have those fat red cheeks, but they've got little tushies poking out of their pants!!

Anyhow, I think some people can agree with me when I say Chinese babies with their beady black eyes, fat red cheeks, and little buttocks poking out of their pants (instead of diapers, they wear pants that are easy-breezy in the crotch area for bathroom convenience) are just adorable.

Alright, enough with babies. How about a brief update on my new job?

Well, my friend Hannah got me a job editing college application essays. It is more tiresome and time-consuming than I thought it would be. First of all, the job requires me to sit in front of a computer 8 hours a day. I am prepared to need glasses and bigger pants by the end of the year. Secondly, I’m reading about students who have dreams they want to pursue, which gets me thinking about my own dreams that I’m not following through with by sitting here reading about other people’s futures. Of course that sounds a bit selfish because it’s a wonderful thing if I can take part in helping these students get into good American colleges (that’s what these applications are for, American universities), but I just graduated college and would like to fulfill some of my own goals.

Gosh, I am such a grouch today. It must be because I slept for 11 hours.

Here is the building I work in, on the 18th floor!

Street lined with delicious restaurants of various regional cuisines!

Sunset. It's already dark by the time I leave the office. Depressing.

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In Boston, my grandma used to wake up at dawn to gather ginkgo that fell from the tree in front of Clear Flour Bakery by our house before the other elderly Chinese neighbors got to them. So when I came across this lady poking at ginkgo trees on the way to work Friday morning, I realized my grandma must’ve done the same while she was living in China. How resourceful and totally stinky (raw ginkgo smell rancid)!

Ginkgos scattered on the street.

Ginkgo leaves, so you can identify the tree if you ever feel the desire to gather ginko.