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Avoiding Tigers

semi-overcast 82 °F

After school on Wednesday, a bunch of us wanted to go to a store called Big World that is supposed to be really cool and inexpensive. We (me, lauren, her sister, olivia, her sister, jordan, alexis, maggie, bekah) tried to get a taxi for a while, but apparently the taxis were not traveling to big world on that day(?)...I don't understand why. So we decided to take a bus because the sisters said it was a 20 minute walk. We're lazy Americans, so we waited for the bus. We sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the bus stop. We don't stand out at all! We waited for an eternity for the stupid bus, and we finally realized that maybe the sisters didn't know what they were talking about and that we should probably just walk. So we started walking, and after about 10 minutes, we got to a Carre Four (big grocery store type place with other stores on sub-levels...think unsanitary child of Wal-Mart and Costco). The two sisters told us that Big World closes in 30 minutes, so we decided there was no point in going. We decided to hang out at Carre Four instead. Bekah had to be home for dinner, so she left. The rest of us split up. Alexis and I (mostly me though) really wanted pizza, so we went to Pizza Hut (yes, I had dinner before 5PM). Pizza Hut is always pretty fancy in China, but this one was crazy high-class. THERE WAS EVEN A WESTERN TOILET. Three cheers for toilet paper and soap. We got a stuffed crust pizza, but it was thin crust, so it was just okay. I'm starting to remember that I don't really even like pizza. I just like the taste of Western nostalgia. Afterwards, Alexis and I looked in random stores. I tried to buy sunglasses, but they were about $10, and the lady wouldn't bargain, so that was a no-go. We went to another store where there was a cute bag, and the lady wouldn't bargain there either. I said "zai jian ke ai de bao!" (goodbye cute bag) before leaving the store. I was pretty much the saleslady's entertainment for the day. She went and told her friends what I said. Alexis and I also saw some really good Chinglish fail shirts. One had a random drawing of a girl and said "sin"...I had a nerd moment and was like "sine?! what the heck. Do they have a cosine shirt too?!" Alexis stares at me..."Sara, I think it's supposed to be "sin." Woah. I need to take a break here to interject...my house seriously smells like pee right now. I think it's some food that's cooking. Maybe it's fish? I hope it's something I don't eat. I'm scared. Moving on...we also saw a shirt that said "I'm ready!" in really big letters at the top, and the bottom said "to go to the beach and make brownie skins" in smaller letters. I think it was supposed to be about tanning. I couldn't decide what I liked most about that shirt. I'm kind of leaning towards the double entendre that only I understood. After we got bored with shopping, we tried to find the actual Carre Four store. We went down an escalator to a place I subsequently dubbed "Happy Fun World"...but maybe I should have called it "Sketchy place where small children play World." It was basically an ill-lit, smoke filled Chuck-E-Cheese minus the playground. It had some creepy looking doors with locks on them. Obviously, that's where they keep the bratty children. Why do we not have such doors in America? The sensory overload in that place was a little unbearable, so we ascended out of Happy Fun World. We finally got up to the level of the Carre Four store, and the first thing we saw (before entering the store) was a little manicure/pedicure kiosk. I look at Alexis, "Do you want to get a manicure?" Talk about spontaneity. I got a mani/pedi, and she got a manicure with a bunch of glittery stuff on it. I didn't even get color on my nails :p. It was overpriced for China but still really cheap for America. It took a long time, and afterwards, Alexis went to Carre Four to grab some juice and lemonade, and then we left. It was dark, and Alexis had never gone home alone in a taxi before, so I went with her. Afterwards, I was in the taxi alone in the dark on the way to my house. I've done that many times, but I was so much more comfortable with it in Shanghai because here I never know whether we're headed in the right direction. So that was pretty much my Wednesday. I got home at 9:18.

I had plans to go shopping on Central Street (Big, Russianized walking street downtown) with Lauren, Alexis, and Maggie, but I was really tired and slightly sick, so I decided to text my sister and ask her to send the driver to come get me after school. When he showed up (my driver is really cool by the way), he said something about going somewhere that wasn't home, and I was getting extremely bummed because I did not cancel my plans so that I could go out somewhere else! I just wanted to take a nap. Eventually, he had me call my sister, who explained to me that we were going to my dad's military base. We would eat dinner there, and then we would go home. I tried to tell her that I was really tired, but nobody really cared :(. But they wouldn't really understand that even people who require next to no sleep in the real world need immense amounts of sleep when forced to speak difficult foreign languages all day long. So when I got there, my sister and dad had me take pictures with a bunch of military dogs (there were German shepherds, chow chows, golden retrievers, and random other dogs). Afterwards, they took me to see the military band. The band played just for me! It was cool/awkward. After they were done, Yitong had me take a picture with the conductor (who conducted with a big staff/rod thing). After that, she asked me who else I wanted to take a picture with in the band. She asked who I thought was handsome. None of them were handsome, but I wouldn't have told her even if they were. How awkward is that!? So the conductor decided for me and had me hold the conducting staff while taking photos with various band members. This must have gone on for 15 minutes. Afterwards, I was told that we were going to dinner, but that was a lie. We were going to look at more dogs. They were all really loud, and it wasn't really extremely interesting. Eventually (I stress that word), we went to a main building where I saw some military "museum" (really small, so it wasn't quite a museum). I found out that my dad is the current leader of his unit, and also, that a few years ago, there was a female leader. I think that's kind of cool...even though there was only one. Then, we got to eat dinner! I wasn't even hungry; I was just sick of walking around. We ate at a special table with cushy chairs :D. I still find it hard to believe that my dad is the head hauncho. He's about the size of a toothpick, and he's pretty short too. He's constantly smiling. Outwardly, he's a pretty amiable dude! I definitely can't imagine him going to war. After this event, we went home. I went to sleep around 9 :D.

Today, we were supposed to take a class trip to the Harbin tiger reserve after lunch. It's a big tourist attraction, but I really did not want to go. My real dad has been, and he said they starve the tigers, and people pay money to feed them live animals such as goats. I find that highly unnatural and disconcerting. Plus, whenever this topic came up among our school group, it created a huge uncomfortable disagreement between a few classmates and me. I decided it would be really convenient to get sick, but I didn't want to lie. Luckily, I actually seriously started getting a headache...which I think was primarily psychological. I could have survived it, but I was uncomfortable/tired/in pain, so I told my teacher that I had a headache and wanted to go home. I called my sister, and she asked if I needed to go to see a doctor or take medicine. I told her that I didn't need to see a doctor and that I don't like medicine. I just needed to sleep. I stayed in the classroom for a bit longer, but a lot of people were yelling during break time, and it wasn't really helping my headache, so I waited for my driver at the front gate. He finally got there and told me that I had to eat something. He pulled up in front of a Chinese restaurant and started to get out, so I decided to push my luck. I pointed to a McDonald's across the street and asked if I could eat there instead :D. He was like "sure, no problem!" (In Chinese). He told me he doesn't know what I like to eat, so I should go with him. I decided on fries and an Oreo McFlurry...mmm, more food of champions. I felt so spoiled eating American food in the car on the way home after leaving school early. My headache was already starting to go away. Once I got home, I took a nap for a few hours and then went on the computer to email and do college research. My mom randomly came home about 2 hours ago. She was visiting her father and was supposed to return on Tuesday. I hope he didn't die or anything. He is really sick because he has throat cancer. He doesn't have any vocal cords. I think my mom's return means that I have to share a room/bed again. Yitong has been sleeping in my parents' room this week. Not much else to say, so I hope you enjoy reading this.


Posted by saralovett 23:35

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Hi, I need to read this blog a few more times before can really comment. Note: I have replaced Dora name with yours when talking about Explorers.
Love You

by PaPainTPA

Your Grammy is going to give grammer heck when she reads the above comment!

by PaPainTPA

I have the impression your Chinese father is very proud of his occupation. (It is always fun reading your blog. I feel that I can hear you talking and your feelings are so evident.) The driver sounds like a very caring person. He is looking after you too.

by Painter68

Pap, Haha...I have deemed the Blog World a grammar-penalty-free zone :D

Grammy, yes, he definitely is! I'm glad my voice is clear. I get that comment a lot on my writing. I think I'm pretty good at being myself haha. My driver is caring! He's probably the family member who cares most about what I actually want/feel, yet he's not even technically a family member. He talks to me directly in Chinese though. I appreciate that we can have actual conversations. My parents usually give up on me or assume I don't understand and ask Yitong to translate even simple stuff :(. I can actually have fairly complicated conversations though...people just have to be patient with me.

by saralovett

I guess that the Chinglish police never made it to Harbin in their Olympic sweep. Chinglish is always amusing ! Did you discover the source of the urine odor?? I am glad that your headache inducing power enabled you to miss the tiger feeding frenzy. You are making me nostalgic for Jia La Fu !

by mlovett

I think the source of the mysterious odor was some weird meat. I didn't have to eat it, but I had to be near it while I was eating. haha, why would you miss Carre Four?!

by saralovett

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