I know it’s been aaages–over a month, to be precise–since I last wrote. Blame that on a 12-day trip to Hong Kong, realizing I need to get my act together career-wise, and being worn out by toddlers on an almost-daily basis. Blame that on me. Whatever. Here’s a quick one, a reassurance to those who care of my continued existence, before I go watch a movie (haven’t done that in a while, either).
My second class this afternoon caused some ire and grief. The four-year-old, Mealler, refused to let any of the handful of vocab words stick in his head–and yes, I’m pretty sure it was intentional, to spite me since I cut short his lego-boats-in-a-sinkful-of-soapy-water fun-time. And at one point, while playing smash-the-plane-into-various-fruit-monster-flashcards (guess who was holding which), he punched my mouth with his hand and then refused to say sorry. (It actually hurt.) And to top off the exhausting lesson, his grandma–who handles his life, apparently–announced that she was to start paying me once every five lessons rather than at the end of each lesson, as we’d been doing the last two months. (At first she proposed once a month, but I was like “uh, no…”; the main thing keeping me motivated to go to this class was the immediate post-lesson cash.) His grandma was also the one who, at our first post-Chinese New Year lesson, gave me in return for my gift of Meltykisses (a kind of chocolate, for the uninitiated) a tub of unshelled peanuts and this pancake thing that was 6 days past its expiry date.
The unpleasant afternoon was redeemed by a splendid evening, made so by three things:
#1. Nang (Xinjiang flatbread), which Sean brought home from a Xinjiang restaurant near his school that makes seriously terrific nang. I’ve only had it from three or four establishments in China, but I suspect this one comes pretty close to the real thing (to be confirmed when I make it out to Xinjiang…). Though much of the crisp had worn off after 2 hours in his bag, it was still warm and soft and salty and loaded with sesame, not hard and flavourless like the others I’ve tried.
#2. Dessert from a Dongbei restaurant where we had dinner: 拔丝地瓜, or deep-fried sweet potato wedges drenched in caramelized sugar. They threw in some regular potato, the sneaks, but that didn’t matter: the crunch of the thick sugar coating giving way to the hot, soft inside made it hard to believe we were eating any kind of vegetable at all.
#3. The most broke-ass Chinese imitation attempt of all time:
[Edit 03/08: OK, a recent sighting by Sean has mine beat on the broke-ass aspect. It’s linked on facebook here.]
OK, off to see whether “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is as amazing as my little sister claims.