Do I have a tale for you,
These past couple of days have been crazy - non stop! Have you heard of a Moon Cake, or Moon Festival? Nope, well neither had I. To be short and sweet (like the cake) a Moon Cake is the Chinese version of a Fruitcake, yup, that also means in the percentage of popularity as well. Not popular if you didn't catch that. Moon Cake is given during the Moon Festival, which is the Chinese version of Thanksgiving. It is a time wrapped around the idea of harvests and admiring the moon - well that is what I am told. In reality it is a time when people get together with friends and family and have dinners and a day off (sometimes more for certain schools). At my office we were given half a day off and a chance to have dinner with each other. Jane and I, not ones to turn down free meals and drinks, took full advantage of this opportunity to meet other coworkers in the office we don't meet regularly. It was great. It was difficult because only a few of the other workers spoke English. To anyone going to any company dinners, I want to let you know that at mine a coworker made a speech and then downed her glass and then another made a speech then everyone tapped their glasses on the table. Jane and I followed suit but not sure what you may expect. As a Mongolian told me in Beijing "Just follow the water" meaning do what the locals do (aka...When in Rome). To be honest, we still don't know what was going on. It happens.
Remember how I mentioned about the Moon Cakes being just as "yummy" as fruitcakes? Well as a part of the tradition, at some of the expat bars in Hangzhou (well at one that I go to), for every Moon Cake eaten, you get a FREE beer. Yup, you know what I was thinking right? For those of you who do not know about Canadians and beer let me clarify. For one example, in this past summer, I dropped a Molson Canadian beer bottle into the lake (yes just one). It dropped about 6 or 7 feet down - no great feat! So the next morning I have my goggles, a poking stick and great determination to get that beer for 15 minutes - it was murky. I got it and it tasted great! So to carry on this Moon Cake tale let me mention that neither Jane nor Scott (a Chinese coworker) like Moon Cakes. So sitting at the bar, not wanting to be the only one enjoying, I ate their Moon Cakes as well. Yup, four Moon Cakes if you count the one at the staff dinner. And thanks to the bonus at work (which was 2 boxes of Moon Cakes) all drinks that night were free for me (money wise). To be honest I didn't think they were that bad and in fact it made the beer taste that much better! The guy at the bar laughed when he found out what I was up to. I think I ate the most moon cakes that night. Maybe. Maybe not.
Now, I know what you are thinking, 'but Caley - you mentioned Moon Cakes and IPODs. What does an IPOD got to do with it?' Well in fact...nothing. But in regards to timeline...everything. The other day - two days after Moon Cake festival - I was sent to another center to cover for a teacher. It was a hectic day (with kids to boot...to clarify my center doesn't have kids). Many things went wrong, including a branch falling on the taxi I was in on the way to the school - should have been a sign. Well getting off early that day I headed back via bus. As I was crossing the street (no this isn't the uh oh) I could sense someone close to me. I started picking up my pace (this is the uh oh). Well when he got closer I whirled around on him and with a shocked look on his face he turned and left. Yup I thwarted that thief - or I thought. Now, just to clarify, I want you to imagine a carrier bag with my had on it and an IPOD in that hand. At this moment I am just shocked, shocked, that I was a target for thievery - hasn't happened before...that I know of. Anyways, so I got upstairs and told the secretary what had happened and showing her my stuff I noticed something was missing. You guessed it...my IPOD. Yup, the dude was able to snatch it from the holder that I was holding without me realizing it - smooth eh! OK, I was shaken up a bit - I mean I had something stolen whilst I was hanging onto it. That is a scary moment. But I have come to that stage in feelings that I am giving the guy credit and that I am in awe of him - don't do it again Mr. Thief but I congratulate you on your swift hand. Heading to the basement to get my bike that night I prayed - "Please let the bike be there!!!" I must admit later that day I treated myself to a McD's McFlurry and a beer (for those of you at home, a McFlurry here is worth 5 beer). It didn't help that as I was unlocking my bike (which has two locks) a lady told me to be careful about the bike - and she was seriously warning me that my bike would be stolen. LOL. Just what I needed to hear.
So, since I can't live without music I have gone out an bought another IPOD. Yup. Apparently the classic that I had is now more expensive than the touch - due to the fact they stopped the manufacturing of it - so if you own a Classic - keep a lock on it! So now I have a touch, that I am afraid of breaking, and it only has 8GB - sad moment. My old one had 30GB. Let's just say now I am learning to choose things. I was lucky because one of the girls at the school knew a guy at the electronic shop and a student agreed to take me there and help me out - he is an awesome tech dude! So for the first adventure we learned a lot but kept the money in my pocket. On the second I finally made a decision - the Touch. Awe. Well the student and I made a joke that during his free VIP ESL lessons with me "How to navigate a Tech Store" he achieved above expectations! LOL.
So with my new IPOD in hand (old holder still in my purse), and Moon Cakes in the belly with that beer I am feeling like I have experienced some of what most Expats experience. Hey, I even have a rain poncho for my bike now - that is reaching into the local level! I am becoming more a part of the society every day! :)