So that title? I had it in mind, and evidently I've used it before because it auto-filled it for me. So on to that updateyness.
Today was a really nice day (in general, my days off are my favorite days, and I have indeed had a lot of nice ones). I started early by going to a bakery cafe I had often passed by on my walks to work on Sunday in office 40 minutes away on foot, as I had noticed the other day that it opens at 8, and I had always wondering about their upstairs balcony they advertised. The weather was wonderfully still and sunny, the bakery was deliciously Japanese-style French, and the odd little balcony upstairs was a very pleasant little space. There was a trio of stray cats lounging around or complaining about visitors, the plants both next to the balcony and around the alley it overlooked had fragrant flowers, and shadows of bees and butterflies danced around the table in front of me as I listened to the birds chirping (and the occasional drone of construction, because you never fully escape it in Shanghai). At some point a group of Japanese women came up and cooed about the space but decided it was too hot and went back downstairs, and at another point a young women came up with her tiny dog. That tiny dog wandered back and forth around the space, and at one point licked my legs with a tiny tongue, and very politely allowed me to pet it, and it hit out underneath me for some shade. As the young lady, who had been going back and forth on her phone, started to descend the stairs she smiled and bid me farewell, though we had said nothing to each other.
I had been working on my rereading/skimming my novel from last fall to write out the plot holes, and I found myself entertaining more notions of a sequel as I got to the end. I had spent my last four days off having misadventures trying to find good cafes to work in (because editing at home is a drag), and today's was my favorite, by far.
Still in a good mood after that, I wander down the street and some antiques caught my eye, so I went inside. The old man insisted I feel free to rummage through everything, and we talked a little in Chinese about the things I was interested in, and I found an old hanging bamboo scroll that I want to use as a table-runner to make my tea-time at home a little more atmospheric (I had been looking for just such a thing). I took the other street up and found a little tea shop and a bored looking young shop keeper, so I accepted her tea offer and kept her company for a little while. She had just that morning received a big shipment of very fresh pipa fruits from Suzhou, and they were tasty. I'll probably be back at some point; though every friendship I make feels daunting because I never know here quite how much I'm signing up for. With Chinese people, anyway--with expats, it's very easy to meet people, hit it off, exchange contact info, and then never see each other again.
I stopped by a hair salon on the way back that I knew was expensive, but I had always wondered about it because they (like many salons) advertised having Japanese stylists (yeah, that's a big fad lately. There are many, many hair stylists from Japan in Shanghai, like my hairdresser in Matsue told me that last time I got my hair cut before leaving. Speaking of Matsue, I've been really nostalgic for it this week). I went at a time when no one was busy just to consult him, and although I didn't really like what he suggested for my hair, it was fun to talk to him for a few minutes anyway.
And then after a little break and self-indulgent doodling for a sequel to the fantasy novel I really need to start editing, I did a bunch of research for the NaNoWriMo project I had in mind for this year (and my challenge to myself on that one is to try not to let it get too long--economy of language is a thing!).
And then I finished listening to the audiobook version of "The Invisible Man" and started "War and Peace" while doing a very, very poor patchwork job on my backpack. Although it'd be easy to find a new backpack here, I really like this one I got in a thrift store last year because it'd very stretchy so you can fit a lot in it, it's a nice color, and it has this adorable Engrish which make it a good travel/adventure backpack:
As it is fine,
I'll go out.
Let's decide together
where to go first.
Let's take the plunge.
I jumped for joy.
I showed it to a friend; she thought it was about marriage. Well, anyway. Speaking of travel, I'm planning a 10 day trip for this summer to a few spots smack-dab in rural China, and I'm a little nervous about it (and haven't told my mom about it). I do feel that one particular leg of it might be a little risky, but it'll probably be gorgeous, and this is the only place I've seen on TV--many years ago--and thought, I have to go there! And now the flights are purchased, so I guess I'm going. Originally it was supposed to be two or three small trips instead of one big one (because, frankly, China is big and those spots are all pretty far away from each other). But due to the nature of my work schedule, it had to all be combined into one, and I'm kind of looking forward to doing a night train again for the first time in almost seven years.
Did I mention before that I got a therapist? I just had my last session her the other day, and she was a great match. I feel better equip to make the best of the rest of time in China. I don't expect this to be the highlight of my life (because, frankly, my time in Matsue may be impossible to every top and I need to just be okay with that), and I need to appreciate it for what it is right in front of me, and not beat myself up about it not being everything I dreamed up. Like, martial arts? It's a nice idea I keep coming back to, since the place I had been going to closed a few months ago, I've made almost zero effort. (But I kind of started exercising again, a little, so that's something, right?)
Welp. Guess I gotta go to work tomorrow.