Day 70 - Shimou's (Actual) Birthday

Sunday, April 17th, 2016
Smog Level: 2/3 Mountains

I saw an old man sleeping on a park bench when returning from the gym. I might not have noticed him if he hadn’t been loudly snoring. Part of me wanted to put my water bottle down next to him in case he was sleeping there, hung over… but the other part didn’t want to deal with the ensuing confusion if he’d woken up.* It’s strange, though, because this is an apartment community with a swipe card gate to gain entry. 

It’s a relaxing day, given that it’s sunday, I don’t have to tutor (so nice), and it’s Shimou’s birthday. While waiting for her to get ready, I do my drawing assignment that Aurora and I have agreed to do. One drawing a week on a theme that we alternately pick. This week, I chose “Potions and Miracle cures.” It’s been a while, so my drawing is lackluster, especially since it was somewhat rushed.

I like Taobao. You need something, just go online and it’ll arrive at your door within the next few days! Packages will arrive out of the blue with little surprises. Today's surprises: a pyrex measuring cup, and a chinese chess board. Yes.. now I can start practicing for my final showdown with those old men on the side of the street!

Shimou's Birthday and the Three Good Student

It’s a special day, so you know what that means! Waffles!

I don’t really know why I keep suggesting we go and get a waffle. We got them on Valentine's day, and now again on her Birthday. We hang out there and talk about some of the stuff I found in the “Chinese Stuff” book, like the “Three Good Student.” The student is supposed to excel at the “three goods,” which are virtue, physical fitness, and academics. Though, people have been getting mad that it’s primarily/exclusively focused on academics. Shimou said she had gotten a few when she was in school, and that she sucked at sports.

Shimou has dinner plans with her step-mother, and I have the games night. Worked out perfectly in that regard.

Reverse Culture Shock

Bob and I cab it to Liudaokou, a section of town. I tell him that I’ve been writing about my Chinese experience. He said he’d done that for a while but after his first year here, he had run out of things to say. That is something I’ve considered… but plan to cross that bridge when we get to it.

He told me about how he had experienced reverse culture shock when he had gone home. He was back in the states with his mom in a Kmart. He pointed around us to the various lit up signs and asked me what they said. No idea. “Right, so we just ignore it and filter it out” he said, “but it can be overwhelming when your mind doesn’t filter it out anymore, especially after you get used to being without it.” Sandals 50% off! Dairy! Sporting goods! Nike! So much useless information fighting for attention. Just like Pool said about the propaganda constantly bombarding him.

[Nerd On]

The game starts with us doing as we please in town. Being a drunk, I go to the seediest tavern I can find. Ah, yes, “The Lepers Foot,” just where I want to contract my first lifelong illness.

I buy a pitcher of overpriced ale and a wineskin. Drink half of it, put the rest in the skin, and ask for a job. “What can you do?” he inquires. “Magic!” I respond, sending sparks flying from my fingertips. The noseless man stares at me, unimpressed, but gives me a wooden token and instructions on how to gain into the back room with it.

Knock twice, insert the token, they ask me if I can put people to sleep. Why, yes... yes, I can! 

“Feel like springing someone you’ve never met from a carriage?” 
“Sure thing! When and where?“ Turns out it’s now. Okidoke. We trudge through the sewers, teaching me another way of getting around town. We perch under a manhole, keeping a lookout. Along comes the carriage, I cast my sleep spell and roll well enough to put them all to sleep. Boom, 50 gold. Apparently, I could have really screwed myself here, but hey, all's well that ends well.

The group reconvenes to meet with The Wiz, and one of our teammates continues to hold me with obvious contempt. Being tipsy and not giving a damn, I use one of my spells to put a big brown stain on his back right before meeting the wizard. Heh.

The Wiz leads us to a giant-mushroom garden that has various kinds of 'shrooms. Some are edible, some will eat you, and some just plain scream. Classic. One of our team tries to pick some and starts a fight with three man-eating 'shrooms. I blind two of them, they poison the guy who tried to pick them. After a brief skirmish, we put two of them down. The final one explodes when I shoot it with a fire bolt, endowing another teammate with a lungfull of spores. Whoops.

The moon elf among us chastises me for using fire on it because it “didn’t deserve to burn.” She thinks only good things deserve a fiery death. Pff, it’s an animal and they're innocent enough to deserve a better way to die. She’s not pleased; I drink some grog.

The Wiz explains that the item we’re searching for - the one that grumpy-group-member wants us to find and hasn’t briefed me on** - isn’t here anymore. Somehow it was stolen from it’s magical hiding place. “Good luck!” He tells us. Uh, ok.

On our way back to town, the guy who was soaked in spores finds a baby screamer in his pack. Sweet, a new pet. I go back to the Lepers foot while everyone else does their things. Three of our team see the King, whom we’ve kept waiting for three days when he was expecting us on the first. Luckily i’m not associated with them, necessarily! The bard, who went with them, hit on the king’s mom and ended up reconvening with her in her private chambers while the other two bicker in front of the king himself. Good talk.

The other wizard went somewhere unknown, and I was left in limbo because we ran out of time. Next time, back in the seedy underbelly.

[Nerd Off]

Took a cab home, no problem this time, and hit the hay. Getting up early tomorrow to work out with Shimou, and to prepare her for her job that starts Tuesday. Oh yeah, she got a job! More on that to come.

*Looking back, I kind of wish I'd had the confusion so then I'd have the story.
**They always speaking the language that everyone speaks - except me

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
[shay / shway]
e.g. Nǐ shì shuí?
[nee shurr shay?]
(Who are you?)
Frank zài nǎ?
[Fray-n-k zai narr?]
(Where's Frank?)

Editing Music
Athletic Theme Jazz Cover 
(Yoshi's Island 2 Cover)
Music by Pedro

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