It seems kind of early to take a vacation – after all, I’ve only been on the job four weeks – but this week is a national holiday in China so the school has given us the entire week off. Technically we were supposed to work Monday and Tuesday, but rather than giving us the weekend off and then making us teach for two days before giving us another three days off, the school made us teach over the weekend. It wasn’t bad. I don’t have Monday classes, so I didn’t have to teach Saturday. But I taught all day Sunday. It didn’t even feel like a Sunday; it felt like a Tuesday.

Which brings me to the subject of this post: days of the week. Jessica has some really nice posts on how we all get into these patterns in our life and we have rituals we associate with days of the week. When we were living together, Jess and I would cook for each other on Sunday nights. We’d take turns cooking – I gravitated toward spicy, Asian inspired dishes with lots of Five Spice – and then we’d run into our salt-box blue living room and make fun of Andy Rooney and cheer for our favorite Amazing Race teams.

My Sundays are much different now. I sleep late. I bum around the apartment doing laundry and other various household things. Sometimes I’ll read a book or spend time writing. In the late afternoon, I’ll wander outside and down near campus where the street vendors will be in full force dishing out food to the hungry college students milling around. If he isn’t busy, I’ll stop at the vendor making spinach pancakes right beside the north gate. That’s usually my dinner. I usually wander past campus and down the main street, where techno music is blaring from the half-dozen different hair salons. I’ll eventually cross the street without being run down by a three-wheeled taxi or the dozens of bicyclists, and I’ll wander by the cage full of pigeons outside one of the restaurants. One night, when I was with other teachers, we stopped at the outdoor tables of one of the small Chinese restaurants and watched this twentysomething Chinese guy butcher a couple pigeons right on the street and then slide the gray meat onto skewers before grilling them over hot coals. I have yet to get up the courage to try pigeon, but I probably will before I leave.

After the pigeons, I usually turn into the night market and just mosey down the alley, admiring the books, second-hand clothes, meat butchers, and fruit vendors. I almost always stop at the outdoor bakery case to look at the sweets, but I rarely buy anything (I’m trying to cut back these days!). When I do buy something, it’s usually home-made potato chips on a stick or candy-glazed fruit on a skewer (Those are my new favorite! It’s usually grapes, small apples, and a tomato on a skewer, all coated with a light candy glaze. And they’re only 1 yuan!). Then I’ll sit and watch the three wheeled taxis of various bright colors lined up near the Frigga Shopping Mart. Some nights I’ll play the carnival games (Ten rings for 1 yuan!) and other nights I’ll stop by my favorite coffee house: Movaci’s. Sunday nights are never dull in Shenyang, but when I tire of the people I wander back home, stopping to watch the group of men playing mahjongg on a make-shift table on the side walk.

It’s not the same as by Sundays before China, but I kind of like it.

Well, I’m off to Beijing tomorrow. I’ll post when I get back.

-B

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