Third Week of September

Aaaand it's time to begin the weekly posts! These will be released every Monday,* and will encapsulate the major events of the past week. They won’t be as detailed, focusing on the broad strokes of what I’ve been up to and thinking about.

The third week of September involved hanging out with 2 people: Primarily Steve, one of my best friends, and once with Emily, one of the few friends I still have in Chatham. Contrasting this with how things were in Australia, it’s a lot more solitary. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, as it’s giving me plenty of time to work on the projects I had been cooking up while in Australia.

Day 159 - The Return

Put them Socks on, Boy
September 13th, 2015

Another early morning; another massive breakfast. Lt. Dan at the helm and his trusty sidekick, Steve, beautifully frying the shit out of the pool of eggs the massive wok. Steve, as anyone who knows him knows, eats a lot of eggs. The 7 of us sat around the table, largely silent, devouring the plates of potatoes, sausages, eggs, and whatever other food we had. I have it written that we at 18 eggs that day, though I’m not sure if that’s true 100% true.

Day 158 - Revelry

Damn, they look good
September 12th, 2015

Up late drinking leads to early mornings! That’s partially tongue-in-cheek, partially based in reality. Have you ever found that the morning after drinking you’ll wake up at 8am, even if that’s not your normal schedule? I’ve read that it has to do with your brain being sugar deprived. Eating a piece of fruit should help you get back to sleep, and help whatever hangover you’re dealing with.

Back on track: Dan and some of the others are 9-5ers, so their internal alarms go off much earlier than those of us with less-than-structured days. I mentally combat the idea of getting up, knowing that it will make the night that much harder to stay awake through. But there’s an ever-weakening band-aid solution which I call coffee! A tolerance break is in order...

Day 157 - 9-11 in 'Murica

On the Road Again
September 11th, 2015

Warning call from Steve and Adeline, his fiancé, that they would be arriving at my place at 10:30am. I was told 11 the night before, and was groggily rolling around in bed. As stated in the last post, I’m trying out the slow carb approach to eating once more. Eggs and lentils for breakfast, how appetizing! I'm not sure how well I can stick to it for this weekend. We shall see.

Day 154 - The Tail End

September 8th, 2015

Standard Canadian Houses
I woke up feeling like a building had collapsed on me. I haven’t worked out for over a month, then did quite a bit of activity and injury yesterday. Does a number on you! Going to bed last night, I hurt a bit, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. 

I pull myself out of bed to find I can’t walk without a significant limp, and definitely can’t run. Any fitness buffs know that sore-leg biz after leg day can be difficult to get around. At least know it’s a good pain. Now it’s just damage pain that will probably linger for a while. So long as it’s temporary, I can deal. Please be temporary.*

Day 153 - Can You Do The Splits?

The cat my parents nursed back to health
September 7th, 2015

It’s 10 o’f***ing clock in the morning and I’m already awake. Just to be clear, I slept around 3am last night and had been up since 4:30am, save for a 1 hour nap. I’ve done night shifts for years. I'm naturally a nighthawk, so I thought this wouldn’t be so bad. In reality, it’s not that bad since I don’t have to be at work or anything, and I’m used to being tired all the time by now. I'm just playing it up, though it is annoying.

I play around on my phone for a bit before realizing that it may be a while until someone else gets up. Leftovers for breakfast! I’m not sure why people have contempt for tepid or cold coffee. Still pretty good, and at least it doesn't scorch your mouth. Tea and coffee are annoying like that.

While waiting for Steve to get up, I edit posts as best I can on their rural internet. The rest of the family wakes up and goes about their day while Steve continues to slumber. His parents ask me to come out on their boat. The Mythical Boat.

Day 152 - A Singer, a Barista, and a Doctor

Sleepless in Waterloo
September 6th, 2015

Having a life in multiple timelines can be a bitch.

I’m woken up at 4:30am because Shimou is being worried by her friends whispering in her ear. It seems like they’re more traditional, and clearly have no idea who I am. They seem to be telling her that a) I’m using her, b) I will disappear without warning,* and c) that I’m a bad guy. "Bad guy" is debatable, but the other two definitely aren’t true. Constantly hearing these ideas about someone who isn’t there… well, that’s hard to defend against.

I talked to her for an hour, calmed her down, and said goodnight. Everything was cool. On her end. On mine, I’m wide awake from the conversation, and my internal clock still thinks it should be daylight. I heard somewhere that it takes 1 day for every hour of time change, which means this places me at about 5 of 12 days.

Reuben, thankfully, pushed back his pickup time by a half hour, which allowed me to get an hour more of sleep. Reuben is funny. Fantastic singer, fitness enthusiast,** tip-top waiter at The Works - all around great guy.

Day 151 - Canadian All-You-Can-Eat Sushi!

September 5th, 2015

Initiate day
Initiating day…
Initiating Sushi…

Yes, today I am getting all-you-can eat sushi with my sister, Lauren, Friend Rochelle, and Ex-Housemate Reuben. Sushi is great, and nowhere is it a better deal than Canada, it seems. I’ve talked to people about all-you-can-eat sushi, and most places don’t seem to have adopted these wonderfully gluttonous fishnets.

Reuben’s orders took priority because he had to be at work about an hour after we began. An hour is not nearly enough to give this task the respect it deserves. We got hand rolls, maki, nigiri, sashimi, teriyaki meats, udon, soups, rice bowls, dessert - too much to try all in one go. If in Canada, do try. Lunch is better because it’s usually around $10 cheaper than the dinner prices.*

Day 150 - That Comedy Show

Super Canada!
September 4th, 2015

Again, despite being incredibly fatigued, I wake up early. While waiting for others to awaken, I chat with Shimou and catch up on what’s been happening in her end of the world. Eventually, Lauren wakes up. We catch a cab to the mall, where she has to work. I feel like getting out of the house, so why not?

Day 149 - Not Done Yet

Random Street art in Downtown Kitchener
September 3rd, 2015

Despite being stupidly tired, I wake up early. My phone still hasn’t registered the time change, and I had set my alarm for 10:30am. It went off at 8:30. I didn’t notice the change until I was already up, dressed, and getting down to work. My first priority is trying to find a way to Waterloo to see my friends there. Only problem is that we only have one functional car between the three of us, and there’d be hell to pay if I tried to take it.

Craigslist! One of the sketchier places on the internet, but maybe I can find a rideshare. Turns out some guy is leaving between 3-5, and might have space. Sweet deal, that’ll only cost $20 to get there, and I’m down with that price. He says he’ll have to let me know because the car is pretty full, but may have room depending on how much they’re bringing with them.

Day 148 - Back to the Fields

This Fella was Waiting for Me at the Duty Free
September 2nd, 2015

Finally, Solid land which will stay that way. I honestly don’t feel like I’ve travelled very far, and it feels somewhat surreal, almost like a dream, to be here again. I’m not actually sure which is the dream and which is reality, though both seem to be real.

I wander through the heat, carrying my overpacked carry-on and my sweater draped over my shoulders. It’s 30C today, which is probably what people will be expecting whenever they ask how the weather was in Australia.*

My parents grab me at luggage after I shambled through the Detroit airport. This is all pretty easy to do now that I’ve run the drill a few times, solo. Hey, fear of flying has definitely been damaged.

Day 147 - Departure

Our Goodbye Coffee
September 1st, 2015

It’s 5am and we’re rolling! I had packed everything the night before, set my clothes aside, and slept in underwear to make the morning as easy as possible. While waiting for the car, I grabbed a random assortment of leftover food from the night before. Like I said, Chinese people don’t seem to like leftovers to the point that they don’t bother putting them in the fridge. I grab some chopsticks and fish out pieces of fish from the soupy leftovers. We’re sharing a coffee when the car arrives.

Apparently you can get a Chinese car to come and pick you up. It’s cheaper than a taxi, and is often just students being impromptu taxis. I guess the Gov doesn’t pay much attention to things written in Chinese, as I don’t think it’s an actual, bonafide business. In this case, it’s only 10 dollars cheaper than a taxi, landing us at an $80 ride with two other random Chinese people.

Day 146 - Last Day in Australia

Flowers along the Sidewalk
August 31st, 2015

Sleeping in is difficult with sunlight in your face. 11am, and I’m up, knowing I won’t be able to sleep much tonight. Lame.

I highly recommend cooking or doing chores while listening to an audiobook you find interesting. Lately I’ve been working through What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars. I make pancakes, coffee, and clean up some dishes from the day before. There's still lots of ice cream taking up space in his freezer - it goes with Belgian waffles, why not pancakes? Can’t be much worse than maple-flavoured high fructose corn syrup. Top it off with some green onion chinese pancake thing that Luke made, and we’re ready to go!

I need to stop at the bank because I realize I haven’t looked into getting my money out of the country. Wire transfer require specific numbers, branches, and all those annoying details. Not sure what route I'm going to take.

Day 145 - Melbourne Day!

"Magnificent, isn't she!?" Luke Exclaimed with Vigor
August 30th, 2015

Today is Melbourne day, and you better goddamn remember it!

...I didn’t realize this was the case until the night before when it was mentioned in passing. Hey, we have no plans, so why not capitalize on the random events that will be taking place.

The Cow Tree Thing
The Docklands market is supposed to be happening, and I wouldn’t mind trying the “Taste of Melbourne” meat pie that they’re selling. The market is a lot of the same vendors from the Queen Victoria Market (day and night), and a lot of them really seem like they’re not having fun. It reminds me of the Chinese proverb “A man who does not smile should not open shop.” Protip: If you have a market stall, don’t look bored out of your skull. That one's for free.

We walk toward a crowd until I realize that everyone is walking in the opposite direction. Whatever main performance that was taking place seems to have finished. 

Day 144 - To The Top!

Flinders St Station
August 29th, 2015

The plan today is for me and Shimou (no Luke) to make it back to Queen Victoria Market during the day before it closes, as we had missed the window yesterday. I’m relatively familiar with the transport and how to get to select places, which gets us there with about an hour and a half to shop around.

Day 143 - Charcuterie and Street Art

August 28th, 2015

Look at that fine Charcuterie
Note the top right sign. Now I dare you to find the Cafe itself.
Yes, it is contained within this picture.***
Last night, Luke said that Roommate Leo would be having people over tonight, and had asked us to clean the living room. I wake up before Shimou (as usual), shower, clean the room, make coffee, and settle in before having to wake her up. It’s my fault she’s still not awake - I tucked her in when I got out of bed. Apparently they don’t do that in China. I had to show her what they were missing.

Day 142 - My Affair with Voltaire

My arm is a selfie-stick
August 27th, 2015

Today the plan is to check out “the nicest brunch restaurant in Melbourne.” This requires us to get up around 11 or so. Really, it requires Shimou to get up then, but if I don’t get up, she won’t get up. Get Vertical!*

We get off at Yarra Station, a rather affluent feeling area of town. It’s a rainy, cold day, but we have umbrellas and it’s only as bad as Canadian fall. The stoic in me reminds myself that any cold is simply uncomfortable, or even beneficial, and not actually causing any lasting damage. Plus, think about how nice it feels to enter a warm location after a little suffering!

Day 141 - Shady Dealings at the Night Market

The View from Up Here
August 26th, 2015

Apparently Shimou’s house has problems without her there to mediate. Maybe it’s low EQ or just a clash of personalities. A fight has broken out between two of the housemates that resulted in one of them breaking every single plate in the house, and repeatedly stabbing a table with a knife. Shimou is the mom/mediator for the group - the one that seems to tie the group together. She’s been gone for a couple weeks and shit has hit the fan.

Day 140 - Botanical Garden

Caffe E Torta
August 25th, 2015

“Tā shì zhēn tā mā dē hēn hǎo” I say to Sunny over her shoulder in reference to her cooking. That’s not proper grammar, I probably should have said “zhe” instead of “tā shì” but the message was clear enough. She thanked me because what I said is very casual, and something you shouldn’t say in front of coworkers, strangers, or relatives. Basically “That is really mother f*cking good!” which Shimou had taught me when I wanted to simply say “The weather is nice.” Now I use it all the time because it’s hilariously over the top.

Day 139 - Tickets in Two Pockets

Two Pockets
August 24th, 2015

It makes more sense to have Shimou shower first because she’ll take at least as long to put on her makeup as I will to shower. The problem with that thinking is that I waste time waiting for her to start, which in turn encourages her to waste time. The general mood is not of movement or getting anything done, but of lollygagging. My fault.

The cafe of today is Two Pockets cafe, spotted across the street from Don Don yesterday. It looked nice from outside, let’s see how it is inside. 

Day 138 - Parliamentary Approval

Legacy Luke
August 23st, 2015

I’ve been slacking. Aside form short-hand notes, I haven't done any writing since the last time at the state library. While attempting to write, I half-listen to the conversation in the kitchen. They usually speak mandarin, but for some reason they’ve started imitating heavy Beijinger accents in English. what-uh ahh yuu coo-king-ah? They each have their own accents, which range in difficulty to understand, though Shimou and Luke both are pretty good.

On our way to the immigration office on Thursday, Shimou and I had taken some wrong turns and ended up walking through a back alley. On that alley was a quaint cafe and an alley full of art. Never would have discovered it if we hadn’t ventured off the main track. Today, we return to revisit that area with Luke.

Day 137 - Party World!

August 22nd, 2015

The plan was oscillating between karaoke and grabbing brunch. Yesterday they changed it to brunch because karaoke wouldn’t work. I skip my morning coffee because I’m expecting brunch at a café. This works in the favour of my vocal chords when I find out that we’ve switched back to Karaoke. Hooray…

Day 136 - So Hot

The Sunset as we walked to the train
August 21st, 2015

With nothing in particular to get up for, the days get pushed back. So long as I can make it into town in time to do official business, everything is simpatico. As I mentioned yesterday, I am supposed to hear from the school about how their luck went with the Chinese government on Friday - Today. I’m feeling a little anxious. Thinking about it won't change anything, so I generally don’t.

We're going out for dinner with all the housemates - our treat. They won’t accept cash as payment for letting us stay. Shimou goes about cooking, chatting in mandarin, while I spend most of the day playing games and listening to informational talks on youtube. Best combo ever. Around an hour before heading out, I get in gear.

Day 135 - Cobble It

This guy is leaving the Library
August 20th, 2015

Well, today its the day that I had planned to leave, and god is chuckling in my general direction. The visa issue is still hanging and the school says they'll be dealing with it tomorrow, then let me know. Just in case, I think I'll head to the immigration office to see how much one of those visa labels for my passport costs. Might as well give the school as much proof as I can get my hands on.

I've said it before: I need too much sleep. Despite usually staying up slightly later, I'm also usually up before Shimou. She makes comments against me staying up later, but has no defense against that fact. Hah!

Day 134 - The French Woman and the Photo

I found this old book. Too bad it's too big/heavy for me to keep.
August 19th, 2015

Bang bang bang “Wake up!”
Ripped from sleep, into the cold, sunlit room, I wonder what the urgency is. Oh right, they're delivering a couch today at 10:30.. are they early? No, they're not. Shimou had turned off the alarm in her sleep, again. I hadn't heard it this time. Close to 11, I jump out of bed to help quickly reorganize the room, and move the futon we had just been sleeping on. That’s one way to kickstart the day.

Day 133 - Puffing Billy!

Puff Away, Billy!
August 18th, 2015

If you can't keep yourself awake, just check your phone and browse messages or updates on your favourite social app. You'll be hard pressed to fall back asleep. I use this technique this morning when Shimou quickly killed the alarm. I shove her out of bed so that we're ready when Elvis arrives to pick us up. He’s supposed to be there at 10:30, but we're lucky that he's 20 minutes late.