Thursday, January 1, 2009

a perfect way to start 2009

Chinese people don't really celebrate New Year's Eve since they have their own new year celebration that's based on the lunar calendar (so the date changes every year), but since Americans live in China there's still a lot of stuff to do on NYE and a huge public fireworks display.

I always have such a great time on NYE. I can't remember a single NYE where I wasn't doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and last night was no different. I've had good luck when it's come to starting off the new year.

In order to ring in 2009 right and truly set the tone for the year, I knew I had to get a massage first thing in the morning. Massages here are amazing. They're only 10USD for a whole hour and the spa I go to is so nice inside. There are "spas" that offer 5USD massages, but they're really grimy and everyone gets massaged in the same room. My spa, Bamboo7, is wonderful. There's fountains, calming music, and a light scent of lavender in the air. I love that about spas. So refreshing.

The masseuses don't wear name tags, instead they were number tags, which is such a Mao thing to do. Usually I just take whoever is immediately available, but they were short staffed and only had guys ready when I stopped by, which I'm not a fan of. I've never received a male massage, and it's not a "first" I feel like experiencing in China. I don't really know why, but it creeps me out.

So I made a reservation for a little later in the day, and remembered that #70 had done a really good job the last time I was in, so I requested her. When I came back to Bamboo7 later, there had been some kind of mix up and I ended up not getting #70, but #31.

It didn't really matter to me since I've always received great massages there and it actually ended up working in my favor because #31 was AMAZING. Like, life changing. It was the best massage I have ever had. I can't even describe it. It was that wonderful. I left utterly speechless. An hour is a long time, but #31 was so relaxing and calming that it felt like I had been there the whole day.

Then, as if the day couldn't get any better, I came back to my room and made myself a burrito from the burrito supplies (cans of refried beans and a package of tortillas) that my aunt and uncle (and cousins) sent to me and some cheddar cheese I bought at the supermarket. A burrito. In China.

2009 is going to be a fabulous year, I can tell.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

my new year's resolution

Everyone's been asking me what my New Year's Resolution is. Okay, not everyone, just my 12th graders, but they're my only contact with the outside world during the work week, so they're "everyone" to me here in China.

I don't really like the idea of a New Year's Resolution. First, I never really know what to resolve. I googled "Top New Year's resolutions" this year trying to find some ideas, and every list included: going to the gym (I do that), quitting smoking (I don't do that), and saving money (not gonna happen). AKA, lame, lame, and lame. Second, doesn't everyone always have the same New Year's Resolution? Does anyone actually stick with it or what? I feel like the answer is usually "yes" to my first rhetorical question, and "no" to the second.

Despite all that, I'm a conformist and thus will conform and make a New Year's Resolution. I've done a lot of resolving in my life recently, so this was a tough decision to make in terms of actually thinking of something that would be tough to give up or change in my life, but I finally found a goal I'd be interested in trying to keep in 2009.

I'm quitting dessert.

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm quitting dessert. For 2009, at least. And yes, I am fully aware that I have given up sweets on my blog before (twice, actually). Clearly that didn't stick since I am resolving to give them up right now, but you know what they say, third times the charm. It's a new year and I feel like I have more motivation to actually follow through with my goal. Plus, I can't bake here in Shanghai.

Last year I quit soda, and despite a few slips (or should I say sips? har har har) here and there, I did amazingly well in keeping my resolution. I was the girl that used to buy 3 12-packs of diet A&W rootbeer at a time "just in case", so it was definitely a struggle to kick the habit. But I did for the most part, and I'm happy I made the choice, too.

There are some rules to the quitness of dessert. They are as follows:
1. My birthday (January 2nd, mark your calendars) does not count as I will be having at least part of a slice of birthday cake. It's a tradition, after all.
2. 100 calorie packs of any variety, even candy or cookie, do not count as dessert.
3. Fro yo is not dessert UNLESS it is topped with a not healthy topping (anything syrupy, chocolatey, or otherwise tasty).

Those are the rules. Wish me luck.

If I had more self awareness I would say this whole eliminating stuff from my diet thing (remember I gave up all meat but fish a month or so ago) is my way of dealing with a quarter life crisis. I feel so helpless when it comes to what the fuck I'm going to do with my future, that I'm controlling the one thing I feel like I can control: what I eat.

But I don't have that kind of self-awareness--despite having read both The Power of Now and New Earth--so I'll just call a duck a duck and say that giving up sweets is my New Year's Resolution. So there.

another year bites the dust

It's interesting having a birthday so close to New Year's. It really makes you think. Reflect. All that.

Actually, it doesn't really, it just means I usually get gypped on birthday gifts since Christmas is the week before. I feel sorry for people born on Christmas day, that must really suck. And to share the same day of birth as Jesus? Man, talk about some competition for attention.

I mean, I shared the womb with someone and all, so naturally I have to share a birthday, but instead of "sharing" the day, it usually ends up amplifying it, making it seem like a bigger deal than it really is. So there's plenty of attention to go around. Wearing sequined clothes and funky headware helps in the attention department, too.

Well, it's December 30th, two days away from 2009, so am I supposed to make a "year in reflection" post? Is that a requirement of every blogger? This is my first legitimate New Year as a real blogger (whatever that means) and I'm not familiar with all the rules.

I guess just to cover my bases, I'll do a little 2008 in review:

High point of the year Reading my paper on Martin Scorsese's gangster films at an undergraduate research conference. I was sitting on a panel with some other students with papers related to film and when the presenter before me finished with her paper and people were allowed to switch rooms to go to other presentations, a flood of people came into the room, more people than there were even chairs for. It was quite exhilarating talking about something I had researched so much and felt so passionately about to a room full of strangers who were there because they wanted to hear what I had to say.

Low point of the year Saying goodbye.

Song of the year "Butterfly" by Jason Mraz.

Book of the year The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Best idea of the year Taking a trip to South Korea. I had no idea I loved Koreans until I moved to China, imagine that!

Dumbest idea of the year "Let's switch cabs!"

Hmm, guess I kinda suck at reflection. It's overrated, anyway.

Monday, December 29, 2008

flashing, flashing, lights, lights

Way back in November when I still had hair, I went to a Kanye West concert in Shanghai. It definitely made my Top 5 Lamest Concerts of All Time list (which is also graced by Avril Lavigne and Hootie and the Blowfish, hey, I go to a lot of concerts, okay? Don't judge).

The Shanghai Indoor Stadium is MASSIVE. I have no idea how many people it holds exactly, but considering this is a city of 18+ million people, I would guess somewhere between a "shit ton" and "helluva lot". At the Kanye West concert there were 43 people. Okay, I'm sort of lowballing that number, but the stadium wasn't even close to being a quarter filled.

Despite the lameocity of the event, I managed to have a fabulous time. Mostly because I was wearing shutter shades and a cat shirt. Oh, and we also got to sit way up in front since no one actually paid for the good seats. Sweet.