“For Lack of a Better Title: Buying Things”
Once again I apologize. My computer has taken to being ridiculous when it comes to wordpress, and so I can only post at school…I’m going to email this to my friend Tyler and he’ll post it for me. Fun stuff.
Today, October First, is the first day of China’s National Holiday, which is an awesome week off from school where most people go and travel around. Two days ago, Wednesday, the foreign students were told that we had only a half day of school, so we went…but were told that we didn’t have any classes. We were planning to go out to lunch anyways so we just decided to all go out and explore the city together. I changed into street clothes, as did Moritz. Then, we were off to we-didn’t-know-where because Sang Min is/was in Korea (Klaus, also, but he never comes with us). We took the bus, and got off at the depot, where we walked around for a bit, took another bus and ended up in a giant book/dvd/music store. Technically we went to Walmart first, but there really wasn’t much to do there…we ate KFC and Midori bought a school bus pencil case with nonsense-English on it. I also bought my first perfume ever ( !! ), Nina by Nina Ricci. The bottle is shaped like a little adorable not-symetrical apple. It’s sort of a mix of fruity smell and what I call ‘couture smell’, which is that really strong “fashionable” or whatever smell. Burberry tends to be couture smell, same with Juicy. I’m personally not a fan, but because this is also fruity I like it. We ate lunch at KFC and when there I opened the perfume to put some on…only to realize I had absolutely no idea where you’re supposed to put perfume. I mean I know when you’re trying on perfume at a store you put it on your wrist…so then with Pauline’s help I put some on..my wrists and chest. It smelled for like, a few minutes but then I stopped smelling it. Is that what’s supposed to happen? Or is it a bad perfume? I do not know.
We left the shopping center and started walking in one direction randomly, but the street we went down didn’t have any stores, so we hopped on a bus Moritz knew went to a large store he had told us about on multiple occasions. This store turned out to be a mall of sorts filled with randomly assorted DVDs, CDs and books. Yes, most of it was pirated. In fact, I’d say…90% of it was. You could see the dvd’s being burned right there… pretty crazy stuff. It wasn’t shady at all though, very open and lots of customers. I bought Juno (which according to my housecleaner is not pirated), seasons 1&2 of Pushing Daisies, seasons 1-3 of Weeds, and a bunch of CDs: Recovery (Eminem), a Snow Patrol compilation, three cd’s of Glee music and Congratulations (MGMT). I’m nervous to put some of it in my computer, so as of now all of this lies untouched on my desk. Also, please take into note, I have very little experience with piracy so when I bought everything I didn’t know it was pirated. I’m not even sure if it’s technically illegal here, because there’s very few copyright laws as far as I can tell. In all honesty, I don’t know what most of the laws in China are. It’s hard to tell sometimes…my host mother finally returned home that night, which was really exciting because she’d been gone two and a half weeks.
Anyhow, after we were done walking around the giant store (it literally seemed endless), all of our feet hurt like –insert curse word here- and we were hungry also. After walking down the block and realizing we couldn’t read any menus, we decided we should go to Pizza Hut. Of the group of us, only Karina had been there since coming to China, so it was relatively new. We considered grabbing a taxi, by this point it was only Moritz, Karina, Midori, May & I, but figured we could just take a quick bus to walking street. We walked to the Papa John’s (close enough, right?) Karina and I had gone to briefly with Sang Min on another occasion, only to find it boarded up. Desperate and tired, we settled for McDonalds. Upon arriving, I promptly fell asleep at the table, and was woken up x-number-of-minutes-later by Karina, saying we were all going home. I said I was taking a taxi and headed off to the best place to get a taxi on walking street (it’s nearly impossible) but then kept walking to this shopping center, where I…
Got my eyebrows done!
I can’t even express to you how amazing I felt afterwards. At home, I’m supposed to get them done every two weeks but hardly manage that…but regardless my eyebrows were a mess. When the foreign students had previously gone shopping, we had walked by Benefit (for those of you who don’t know, a makeup brand from San Francisco, there’s one in the Stoneridge mall) and I was really excited…I had seen it yet another time when I was by myself buying spaghetti, because it’s in the same building as that supermarket. The sight of the familiar manikins with their cursive speech bubbles was very comforting to me, as well as the sign reading Brow Bar. I spoke a little Chinese to a woman standing there, very very basic with lots of pointing. At first she was saying that there was no one there to do my eyebrows for me, but after me saying over and over I only understood a little of what she was saying, she yelled “WHITE PERSON!” and a woman came running, who then did my eyebrows.
Yesterday Sabrina had school, so I awoke to..no one home. Again. Story of my life here, haha. Anyhow, my mom had tried to wake me up for school but I told her I didn’t have school so I got to sleep in, which felt amazing. I lazed around all morning, not really doing much of anything, on the computer and listening to music. Ate mostly waffles (bought a bunch at Walmart the previous day). At one got a text from Sabrina “at two mother take you airport see your uncle”, so I jumped into action, taking a shower and doing my hair, trying to make myself look presentable. I thought Jonathan, Xixi, Bohan & Nina (also Xixi’s parents) were coming on Friday so I was taken completely by surprise.
Waiting for them at the airport..was insanely exciting. You have to understand that my cousins, Bohan and Nina, are probably two of my favorite people in the whole world. Of course, I love my other cousin Ray just as much, but he wasn’t visiting me, was he? I also usually get to see him more often than Bohan and Nina because he lives much closer. I stood staring out the glass at people spilling out of doors and down escalators…all Chinese. I was searching for small children and the tall bald head of Jonathan. Waiting, waiting…and then there! Nina wearing giant glasses, hands clutching a bright pink backpack, talking to Xixi, Bohan with Jonathan. I waved and Nina saw me then everyone else did..honestly I was so happy I almost cried. I love them so much! That and the fact that I’m five thousand miles away from home and can still see familiar faces in the flesh. When they came through the gate, I think I might have physically been bouncing a little. The first hugs I’ve had in weeks. Euphoria.
We all went out to dinner, which was fun. Tomorrow I’m going on vacation with them to some national park, it should be beautiful. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures. Today…
I exchanged money! Finally! I’ve been here six weeks exactly, and at last I have my own cash to spend! It’s a great feeling, let me tell you that friends. The fact that I literally have giant pile of money like in movies helps this, but also I’m just very relieved. Until now the not-exchanging-money situation had been pretty stressful, so I’m glad that it’s over and done with. All of my traveler’s checks have been exchanged.
After this exciting momentum, we all went shopping. I bought a really cute black skirt…it has layered lace over a black fabric with roses..I’ll try to post a picture when I get a chance. Oddly enough, most of the stores were playing songs in English…I heard a lot of Glee and Justin Bieber. I’m honestly pretty scared that I caught myself singing along (with correct lyrics, mind you) to Justin Bieber today…it’s not something I ever intended to know or be able to do. After more shopping and lunch and more shopping (unsuccessfully attempting to buy an iTouch) we went home. A fun day.