Monday always comes as a bit of a letdown. It's not just the fact that it's a work day (for several years Thursday was my favorite day of the week), and in fact, I should be relieved that it's not worse - I don't have that Sunday night panic that plagued me so severely in Korea and, to a lesser extent, in RAK - and that my life is such that there's never enough weekend for me, but the fact remains. Mondays suck.
This weekend started with a bang. The Roomie and I had a housewarming party Friday night, with all my favorite locals. There was music and conversation and things didn't wrap up til 2 in the morning. Fantastic. There was also the point where one of our company (who shall remain nameless due to the fact that I suspect she will murder me if I reveal her identity), went to pour a drink and ended up setting a bag on fire (I had a candle on the table, and someone had brought wine which came in one of those nice, tall, top heavy bags, and let me tell you, it went up like a torch). Luckily, whether she'd been drinking or not, Siobhan (the black girl with an Irish name who has been included in the group description as white twice in the last week - once by me...errrrr...so all Westerners are equal in my eyes. This is a step forward, right???) was quick thinking and miraculously got it to the sink and doused it before damage could be done. (Later, this same nameless friend got on top of a chair to determine the height of our ceiling in beer cans, and as the chair started to wobble, my memory hearkened back to a time when a drunken Bronte climbed up on top of someone's shoulders and then fell off, almost cracking her head open in front of the movie theater in Samsung Plaza. I heard her screeching, "Where the f*** were you? WHERE THE F*** were you, and came out of my revery in time to clutch Nameless' leg and stabilized the chair. Otherwise there could have been blood to go with our fire, which REALLY would have made for a kickin' party!)
So that was Friday night. Saturday morning the glass man was due to come at 7. Urgh. Luckily (if you want to look at it that way) I have been waking up early anyways, and so when he arrived - for the second time - at 6:50 I was already awake and skyping with Glamwhore. And was still skyping with her when I got an invite from a teacher I met from another school to go to Anting with her. I extended the invite to Shermeen, and 11 (an ungodly enough hour if you had company over til 2 a.m. the previous morning) saw us on the train to Anting. It was a bit of a trek, but well-worth it. Anting's old town is scenic and makes you feel like you really are in China after all (up to and including the the men's underwear hanging to dry in the historic woodwork...wish I'd taken a picture when I first saw it, but it was gone by the time I got back, so you'll just have to imagine). We went to a Chinese restaurant there after strolling up and down the street, and it was pretty delicious, even if you have a hard time ignoring the fact that the chicken's head is actually on the platter with it's delicious meat. Shermeen has been my saving grace when it comes to Chinese food - I have no idea what I'm ordering and I've been too chicken to walk into a restaurant and order on a wing and a prayer. If you knew me when I first went to Korea, it's pretty much the same as I was then...except now I have even fewer reasons to be adventurous, since my global palate has expanded dramatically since then and Hongqiao alone has more options than Bundang did back in those days. On the other hand, nearly everything I've eaten, I've liked, so I suppose there's hope for me yet.
That evening Shermeen, her colleague Janice, and I went back to the flower market. I was kneeling down making a decision about which goldfish to get when I finally figured out where the muscle pain I'd felt twinging at me all day had come from. One of the topics we got onto Friday night was belly dance, and the different styles, and I went into the difference between how the styles do floorwork, descending to the floor twice without warming up. I haven't actually danced in many many moons, and it made me realize exactly how out of shape I am. When I got home that night I sat down and opened up youtube to look at some of the combinations I wanted to incorporate into...well, I WAS going to do Kashmir, but....well, hell, why shouldn't I do Kashmir. I wanted to do it. I was going to do it. So I got out my veil poi and started working on it. It was therapeutic. It also resulted in the quite spectacular destruction of one of the cheap plastic cups the Roomie bought. It also got me to think seriously about what I was going to do here as far as dance lessons go, and I think I've got a plan: I'm going to get the 8-lesson, 880 kuai membership to SoulDance, use those lessons to decide which - if any - of their belly dance teachers I'd like to study privately with, and then get their 20 private lessons for 6,000 kuai (the more you sign up for, the cheaper they get, so the 20 lessons ought to last me five months and get fairly close to what I used to pay Azhaar, even if I can't imaging any teacher being as good as she is).
And then it was Sunday. I went to church, and actually stayed the whole 3 hours (I had plenty of sewing to keep me awake), and actually actually bore my testimony in Relief Society. I'm not the best Mormon in the world, I've even been called a hypocrite once, and I guess I can understand why. I do badmouth the members some. When the person responsible for getting you to church has basically become inactive because other Mormons expressed opinions over something that was NONE OF THEIR DAMN BUSINESS, when you have been called out over the pulpit in all but name for being happy and living your life rather than pining away on your hope chest waiting for Prince Charming to ride up and whisk you away, I would think it's a little bit understandable. They say "Love the sinner, hate the sin;" I would add, "Love the church, hate the culture." The gospel has made me who I am today (at least, in all the good ways...I'll take most of the responsibility for the negative aspects, although my Dark Lord and Master did play his part, bless his blackened little heart), and I do love it, even when it's hard. And that's why I got up and bore my testimony...in spite of everything, I DO still have one.
So yeah. Good weekend. And now it's Monday night and my ass is officially kicked by my busiest day of the week, but it was a good one, and I like the kids, and I have every reason to believe all the wrinkles will work themselves out. Plus, I'm (excuse the phrase, but I have to use it, it's a time-honored tradition) popping some jjimjjilbang cherries on Thursday night...ahssah-byo!