I really talk about Sang Min too much

Last night was fun. After school, Sang Min and I decided to go to McDonald’s for dinner because it was Friday, so we took the bus with Moritz, Gulia, Pauline and May. For the first time when I’ve been at a McDonald’s, they had burgers! What a miracle, a Mickey D’s with burgers. Who would’ve thunk it! I got a double burger, despite the fact that I hate McDonald’s burgers. I’m sort of at the point where anything that tastes like home I’ll go for—today I bought Sun Gold Raisins just because I can predict exactly what they’ll taste like. Anyways, Sang Min got a Big Mac, which until then I had never actually seen someone eat. Even though the burgers in China are smaller, that was still pretty big…I finished mine in about 30 seconds, which shocked Sang Min. He thinks I don’t eat enough, but I felt very satisfied with my double burger, medium fries and medium Sprite. After a mediocre McDonald’s experience, we decided to go back to Tongshenghu to just walk around. Dan (an American teaching at our school) had said there’s whole apartment complexes that are built with no one living in them and it’s really creepy, so naturally I wanted to see.
Now, on a side note, let me tell you that I am a big McDonald’s fan. At home I eat it much more than a healthy person should, and pretty much fulfill the stereotype of “Americans eat lots of fast food”. I throw people off though, because I don’t fulfill the second half of it, “…and are really fat”. I was saddened to hear that all the other foreign students assumed that all American’s ate lots of fast food and most of them were fat, which made me really angry. I honestly know very few obese people, and I eat much more fast food than anyone I know. Most people in our area I think are pretty anti-fast food, trying to be all green, organic, healthy and what not. Super Size Me really did not help America’s global image at all. I say the McDonald’s in China is mediocre because:
1. There is too little salt on the fries. I know that in America most people think we have too much salt on fries but I personally love our amount of salt, I find it quite satisfying to my taste buds.
2. The fries aren’t as full. They have that “old fry” feeling, the ones in California are much fresher. I know what you’re thinking, “It’s McDonald’s, there’s no such thing as fresh” but let me assure you, there is a BIG difference.
3. Everything’s smaller. ‘Nuff said.
4. The sauces for dipping McNuggets in here are given broad (and stereotypical?) names such as American Sauce, Thai Sauce, and like Greek Sauce. Something like that.
5. There are more Chicken Sandwiches on the menu then burgers. It’s just wrong.
Anyways, back to Friday night. Sang Min thought we could take the bus, so I got out some small bills and we started walking. And walking. And walking. After a while I finally thought to ask “uhm, are we going to get a bus? Or taxi?” and he told me that he didn’t know where the right bus would be (even though we were literally just at the bus station…) and he would try to get a taxi if we saw any, which of course we didn’t. So we kept walking on and on..this giant stretch of wall and sidewalk and road, there were lots of large buildings under construction but nothing that was presently being used seemed to exist. After a while Sang Min suggests we cross the street to walk on the other side, so we do, even though you can’t get taxi’s on this side of the street. He felt like the side with the wall was creepier though, and I agreed. Now we had the road to our right and a gross looking river to our left…Sang Min suggested we swim across jokingly, and was like “you go first! You’re a good swimmer, right?” but then, after what I think was seriously considering the thought, he said “no wait we can’t, that’s Alligator River”. I don’t know if that’s true or not…but wow. We found a bridge and crossed to the other side of the road (the roads here have a large physical divider between cars going different directions for the most part) and then crossed again.
Sang Min said he wanted to “go with you to a flower shop”, even though it seemed highly unlikely that a flower shop would be open at 7:30 pm. I think that was around what time it was…whatever the time, it was dark. We came upon a huge nursery and went inside a set of gates, where to avoid the mud we walked on a low brick wall, Sang Min leading the way. He’s so much like a little kid sometimes, he had his arms out like a balance beam and almost fell over once. We walked along a row of small nurseries, all of which were of course closed. I thought the place was a lost cause but he knocked on the door of one and a boy came and let us in…he looked about our age. Sang Min pointed at a plant and said he wanted to buy one. Apparently they’re called Sansevieria? He wanted them to “make the air better” in his house, so we picked out two. Then he said “maybe I want more” and we both got in with the plants and picked out a bunch, ten in all. I paid for them because he didn’t have any money, and the lot were given to us in large bags. Now we looked pretty funny, the two of us walking along the sidewalk holding bags of plants, we crossed back across all the roads and the river and finally caught a taxi. Whenever we’d cross the street (jay walking, because this whole time we had not encountered one crosswalk) I’d be like running and skipping and Sang Min would laugh at me because I find it a little exhilarating. He’s too used to the fun things in life, he doesn’t think they’re fun anymore.
We got a cab, went back to his house. Dropped the bags of plants on the floor to be dealt with the next day, and just hung out. Sang Min bought these horribly old-lady-like slippers the other day, which I gave him lots of grief for wearing. He went through a cycle of activities:
-look at dirty room, say how dirty it is, start cleaning
-during cleaning, see puzzle. Stop cleaning to work on puzzle
-get frustrated with puzzle, take out frustration on magnetic dart board surrounded by pictures of blond models
-sit down, not knowing what to do
We made some progress on the puzzle, and I learned that I’m decent at magnetic darts. I ended up staying till like 10 (oops!). Time flies when you’re having fun.
So now for today. I know, you thought this post was going to be over, didn’t you? I’m sorry, dear readers, but I must ask for even more of your precious time. I hope you’re not using this to procrastinate doing something you really should be doing…actually I sort of hope you are. That means I’m more interesting than your homework or job! But enough about you.
Today I slept in till nine, took a shower, and was on the computer by ten. Karina’s birthday is on Saturday and we’re throwing her a surprise party, so I was brainstorming what to make her for her birthday. She loves My Chemical Romance so I thought I’d do something relating to their newest music video from their upcoming album Killjoy (which she named her dog after). I’m watching the music video for Na Na Na (the song’s name) and talking to my real mom when in walks my dad who tells me “put on your shoes, now go shopping with Mommy!”
[side note: I absolutely hate when my family here refers to my host parents as Mommy or Daddy. They say the words in a way that sounds like a four year old, and it’s just really unsettling and makes me antsy]
So right now I’m wearing a baggy sweatshirt and running shorts, my hair’s still wet, and I’ve sort of got my whole morning planned…I try to protest, because I’m going shopping with my friends at 2 anyways, but no no apparently I must go shopping.
Before I know it, I’m in the car headed who knows where. I threw on a decent outfit and put on some makeup, so luckily I didn’t look like crap. Then we’re pulling up to a hotel that I’ve never been to before, and just my mom and I are going in an elevator (my dad was just going somewhere on the ground floor of the hotel?) and we’re at a hair salon. No idea how getting my hair straightened is equivalent to shopping, but oh well. My hair was once again straightened, but these people didn’t talk to me and when my hair was getting washed for the second time today it didn’t feel nearly as nice as when L had done it for me, but oh well. I don’t think they did as good of a job either, but who was I to complain? Wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t have to pay for it. I watched part of Harry Potter 5 on a tv while he did my hair…there were subtitles in both Russian and Chinese.
Then I was taken to my dad’s coworker’s daughter’s 100-day-old birthday party. The whole thing was sort of odd and I didn’t know anyone, but the food was fine. The baby was adorable. I have a feeling that whenever I’m meeting “important people” from now on, I will be spontaneously taken to have my hair done, although this is just a hunch; it’ll have to happen a few more times before it can really be true.
I met with Sang Min, Karina, Pauline and May at the bus station, where we had some ice cream at McDonald’s before embarking on our journey. Destination? Carrefour, a French version of Walmart, pretty much. I had no idea that it was spelled Carrefour because I just kept hearing Pauline say what sounded to me like Garfoo. Sang Min said he didn’t know where it was, then he said he did. Turns out the latter was correct, and I knew where it was too—right next to my favorite Watson’s, KFC and Lucky’s Cake Shop. We were looking for Nutella, which we found, but in an expired, liquid form. I bought some brownie mix, hot coco mix, and popcorn for the Halloween party we’re having at Sang Min’s. That’s a whole different story. We went to different supermarkets, stopping at Starbucks, searching for things that would be good for our party, mainly candy but also pumpkins. We found a tub of Snickers and a thing of M&M’s, which is good enough for now…we each got our own mini-pumpkin. We’re all going to carve our own at the party and then put them on Sang Min’s balcony, it should be nice! I got pretty much everything we need for the party (I’m planning and buying everything because I’m the only one who really celebrates Halloween) except candles. Hopefully those won’t be too hard to find.
Pauline went home, Sang Min stayed out shopping longer, which left Karina, May and I to go home to Karina’s house where we played with Killjoy, the little puppy they found and adopted. Then we had dinner, took Killjoy for a walk, and started getting hyper…
Karina and her real mom live in the teachers dorms at Tongshenghu. Her mom teaches English and Spanish, so she has these old-looking learn-English posters. One had pictures of people doing their occupations, Miss Lens the photographer, Mr. Post the mailman, Mr. Brown was wearing all brown, Miss Write the journalist. Then there was this running guy named Dick… maybe a male prostitute? We could not stop laughing…I swear I have not laughed that hard in a really long time…
By the time Sang Min came back to Tongshenghu, I was wearing a masquerade mask and brandishing a plastic sword, having defeated Karina and May in a mop-lightsaber-war. We headed out singing theme music to go “avenge him ditching us”…look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-/5086084881/ It was…it was really a fun night.
Our duel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-/5086268143/ Karina and I
there’s another one but it’s not done uploading yet. By the time you read this I’m sure it will be.

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