I’ve not had any dreams lately, at least none that I can remember. When I just wake up, and I know I had a really good dream, one full of wonders and fantasy and whatever else makes such things perhaps a bit better than real life, it slips away, much quicker than before, well before I’ve had a chance to write it down. So I mean, it’s an excuse really, but this is why I’ve not written down any dreams lately. Also sometimes they’re just mundane, like the one where I dreamed Maria said one thing to me and it turns out she actually said another or nothing at all, ones that happen after I’ve moved from the bedroom to the couch to continue sleeping so that I can keep her company, albeit unconsciously, probably after the point in the day when one should still be asleep and so perhaps my punishment is boring, normal every day dreams. And maybe it is a punishment; maybe I should pay more attention to real life.

Which lately hasn’t been all that great. Lots have happened actually, and I can’t believe it’s been twenty days since I last posted anything, since anybody last posted anything here. I wonder if it’s possible to get my membership with expat blog revoked? It’s not like I’ve been doing anything horribly expat-y lately, though we did buy a water cooler, and that was an adventure in and of itself.

So Maria had been feeling dehydrated, and so have I frankly, and the water in China is a little dodgy and though you can boil it and clean it of whatever bacteria might be in it, we couldn’t help the film of sediment that formed on our water kettle nor the layer of detritus on the bottom of our water bottle into which we poured our boiled water. This meant we didn’t have much faith in it actually, and have substituted water when thirsty with perhaps not too healthy, sugary others. So we had talked about it a while ago, but the solution was to purchase a water bottle, one of those big ones that you see on the backs of trucks being delivered in the States. I had fond memories of using one the last time I was in China because it provided instant hot water and was a perfect means of re-constituting instant noodles. I only just recently realized, since it’s gotten to be summer and the weather is hot and humid in Beijing, that you can also get instant cold water and so have a nice refreshing beverage whenever called upon. But this was some time ago, the discussion I mean, about getting a big water bottle, so we revisited it recently and decided to actually go forward with it.

So in China, it’s a pretty easy thing to do. Just down our little alley there’s this guy that sells these big jugs of water. They weren’t open that day actually, so it was their loss, but we found another guy selling the exact same thing serendipitously actually on our way to the supermarket. Apparently they’re just everywhere, and they all do basically the same thing, and they all have a guy driving around a three wheeled bicycle that takes these things and delivers them to you. So we go into this little hole in the wall store, filled with big bottles of water, and the guy is very nice in that salesmen-sy kind of way and he lets us sample the water and he explains how it’s the best kind of water there is and he says they’re having a special where if you buy ten bottles they’ll give you two more for free. Whatever. The point though was that it was easy. He had the machines there that provided the instant hot and cold, he had the bottles of water, he had the guy to deliver and install it all, and a quick exchange of money later and we were on our way to fresh water heaven. We’ve a phone number to call whenever we need a new bottle and he’ll send the guy on his way, and he’ll maintain our water machine thingy for a year. Obviously the point’s a little moot since we’re hoping to move by the end of June, but apparently it’s a universal machine, capable of housing and carrying any and all kinds of big water bottles, so we’re good. It’s humming away happily as I write actually, and it breathes; every now and then you’ll hear it gurgling pleasantly. In short, everyone go get a water cooler! Huh…I just remembered that those things are called water coolers…

So that’s the bit of China that’s kind of non-bloggy and kind of expat-y and I hope it justifies my existence in the expat blog directory listing.

Since I last wrote we’ve also attended a friend’s wedding up in San Francisco. We needed to get out of the country anyways to enter on our next visa entry and Maria was running her first marathon in the States, which turned out very well. Fully expect to see some more milestone updates later on but at the moment I’m a little fuzzy on all the dates. But the wedding was nice, I got to see some of my family and Maria got to see an extensive bit of hers. We were apart for two weeks, and it killed me. That was when I was doing the whole nocturnal living thing as evidenced by my previous posts about biking in Beijing in the middle of the night. Not exactly the pinnacle of healthy living here. I’m hoping though for things to regain a semblance of sanity and normalcy soon.

The restaurant is also fast out of my hands, hopefully, I pray. Skipping over all the pertinent details because they’re not mine to disclose, but the headache and stress of having to deal with being in the food service industry may soon be behind me. That does mean I’m still out of a job, and have been for a while, and haven’t been paid by anybody for a really long while, and the whole process has still nevertheless sucked this transitioning out of my hands and will probably suck long after the actual transition takes place, but um, it’s still a load off, and will be even more so of one when I have my high paying power job that lets me live the life of luxury in this town, no sarcasm intended, obviously.

And speaking of jobs, I had the world’s worst interview today, ever. Not only was it for a job that I applied to a very long time ago and so now have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of what it was about, but they had layered themselves in so many different company names an recruiters and go betweens that I had no idea who I was even applying for a job with. It was an hour away by subway, out in the bums of nowhere, though it was really pretty, kind of tropical looking on the ride out due to it raining today, and when I get there I knew immediately it wasn’t going to work but had to still sit through it all, much to my general embarrassment. See, I knew at once that it was a Chinese company, without even a hint of foreign-ness to it. There were no English signs, there were no foreign employees, and you could just feel that tinge of Chinese laziness in the air where they hire a bunch of people with credentials on paper who all they do is the least necessary, if that. I’ll come out and say it now: the majority of Chinese employees try to get away with doing as little as possible. Maria just read somewhere recently that Chinese greed is only outweighed by Chinese laziness, and it’s true. There’s a whole floor of people sitting in cubicles, everyone looking at their own computer screens, all messing on the internet in one way or another, without so much as a word being spoken to anyone, without that sort of collaborative creativity and productivity one feels in US offices. Just with that, I knew I wouldn’t want the job, but apparently they didn’t want me either. Ah the other thing was the actual applications I had to fill out. First, there was a questionnaire and one of the questions was in Chinese; obviously a test of my literacy which I obviously failed. Second, all the boxes to fill in information like “name” or “relation” or “previous employer’s name” where too small; you couldn’t write the English in there even if you wanted to. Obviously meant to accept Chinese characters only, and obviously another count on which I failed. Then there were the questions about HTTP protocol and DNS lookups which I actually just don’t know, so obviously I’m not qualified for the job either but I don’t actually remember because it’s been ages since I first applied and these people put so many buffers between the actual job and me I went in completely blind. So there wasn’t even a real interview. Some guy came out, said thanks for coming out, said I probably wasn’t qualified, asked if I had any questions, and that was it. Hours of my life wasted in what is probably the biggest job interview fail of my life. I’ve been failing a lot really, and it’s kinda putting a crimp in my self esteem.

But the pluses do also exist. I’m doing some freelance programming work which allows me to flex some of my programming muscles. I’m doing some music work for pay as well and that’s always a good thing. There are a few social events on my calendar coming up with people whose company I enjoy, and I at least am very excited by my father’s and Maria’s business opportunities coming right over the horizon. I’m hoping for lots of good things from them.

A bigger short of it though is that I’m not entirely sure I’m happy, but I’m hoping to find what I need to fix that so that I can be, so that this opportunity which has been afforded me and which I have undertaken with Maria, my partner in all of this, will have ultimately been beneficial. Um…so that’s the meaning behind the title, actually. I’d like to enter a process of discovery and more specifically, rediscovery, of all the things in life that I love so that I can share them with the person I love.


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