An Excessively Social Weekend

Trip Start Aug 13, 2010
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Flag of China  , Hunan,
Monday, September 13, 2010

A couple of days ago, Donna called me a social butterfly, which I found to be an understandable, yet strange comment. Based on what she has seen of me since I've been in China, I suppose I have been rather social, however, it is not a category to which I have often belonged in my past, thus I find it surprising. (It seems to be that lately I find everything "surprising.")
    So I think Donna was rather accurate in her comment, considering the weekend that I had. Milli (my roommate from training) came to Changsha and stayed with me from Friday evening until Sunday morning. We went out with Derek, Andrew and Jon to eat at this dumpling restaurant on Walking Street (our third time there!-- Did I mention the door says "Dumping" restaurant? I love Chinglish) After we ate a rather tasty meal of dumplings (filled with meat or eggs & tomato), noodles (in a yummy broth with cilantro! my favorite), these fried pancake-like-flaky-green onion filled deliciousness, and the first 'sweet and sour' chicken that I've tried in China, we all went to "bar street," naturally. We went to Hooligans, the American bar that we've been to before-- and spent some time there. We met some other Americans, which was nice, I guess, but I think I'm getting tired of meeting new people. I've entered so many people into my phone and haven't actually contacted most of them again. I think I will begin working on developing better relationships with the people I already know, especially the Chinese teachers. I didn't really come to China to meet Americans...
    So, around midnight, Milli and I decided to leave the bar, as we were both rather tired. We got a good night's sleep. I woke up Saturday morning and decided to go for a little run around the track-- only 2 miles. While I was running, I kept passing this old man who was taking a stroll around the track. On my 6th or 7th lap, he said something to me in Chinese and silly me, I decided to stop and make some horrible attempt at conversation. He told me he was not a teacher at Yali but was a teacher somewhere else-- then made a conducting motion-- maybe he was a music teacher? I didn't talk to him for very long. I think he was amused by my lack of language skills.
    After my run, Milli and I met up with Tina, a British-Indian girl who is teaching on the outskirts of Changsha. Tina had been in contact with Milli, who called her to meet up. So, when Tina arrived-- around 11:30, we went to eat and then around 12:45 hopped on a bus to go to Walking Street. And we stayed there for SO LONG. Milli and I pretty much were on Walking Street for 10 hours, which was TOO LONG. We found a wonderful chocolate shop, some great little clothing shops, an interesting fancily decorated pizza place, etc.After eating at this new pizza place (we had pizza, fries, and onion rings--which made me feel gross), which was owned by a Chinese guy(my first non-Chinese meal since I've been in China), Tina left and Milli and I met up with Betty.
    Betty, Milli and I walked around for a few hours. Betty taught us how to say "I want to try this on" in Chinese and forced us to say it to a salesperson in the stores. We found some great "Chinglish" shirts. Milli and I were quite tired from being out all day, and I felt kind of bad because Betty had so much energy. We left Walking Street at around 11-- and Betty came back with us to my apartment because apparently she is unable to enter her dorm after 11. So, I had to call some friends to borrow some blankets and cushions.
    By the way, Tina, Milli and I stopped by a bank and I exchanged a bunch of money-- without speaking any English. In Chinese, I basically said "I have American money. I need Chinese money. Can you give me Chinese money today?" We stopped by several banks and finally I was able to. I was rather proud of myself for exchanging money without Rodger and without Lan.
    Also, while Milli and I were out, i got a text from Monica (the girl who was friends with the teacher who lives with her son and mother in law in the apartment above me who I ate dinner with on thursday). She asked me to have lunch with her on Sunday. So, after Betty left, Milli and I went to Monica's place for lunch. We accidentally went into the wrong building-- up five flights of stairs-- then back down-- then back up to Monica's-- then I had to go back down because Betty forgot her glasses in my room-- so back up 4 flights to my place-- back down-- then back up to Monica's. It was a little bit ridiculous.
    The meal with Monica and her apartment-mate was really great. She made eggs and tomatoes, eggplant and pork, cabbage, a green vegetable, and this seaweed/bamboo stuff. It was nice to have a home cooked meal and to converse with her. It was a bit awkward at times but for the most part, it was very pleasant and I hope that I get the chance to dine with her again. This is my third meal with a Chinese teacher-- and they've all been so enjoyable. These meals have all been so unexpected and it just surprises me that I've been having lunch and dinner with random strangers.
    So, that was my weekend. Whew. I'm exhausted thinking about it. I think that I have a limited supply of social potential and pretty much used it all up. I think much of it had been depleted during my English classes, as it does take a certain amount of social skill to manage 40 teenagers.
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