A Sort of Christmas List

The days haven’t been as cold as last week.

I shudder to recall last week of the arctic blasts, me struggling against the wind to reach Tuanjiehu station, stopped in my tracks and bent sideways against the gale.  I held my hat on my head and struggled grimly on.  That day was bright and clear–the smog was blown away, to where I don’t know.  Plastic bags soared through the air like careless birds.  The nights were bitter–so cold you couldn’t think about anything but getting out of it, getting warm.

This week is cold, but bearable.  My new coat makes it more so.  I spent too much money on it, but it’s warm.  I look like a camel-colored Jet-Puff marshmallow in it.  A marshmallow with a fur hood.

This post has been a long time in coming.  I’ve been having trouble writing, which isn’t exactly breaking news.  Getting myself into a writerly position, let alone producing anything cohesive, has always been a bit of a struggle (too far to say “the bane of my existence?”  I would say my lethargy and procrastination are the joint thorns in my side.)

I think it’s because I’ve had a queue of assignments ever since Brett and I got back from  Cambodia and Thailand at the beginning of December.  It was Brett’s job to edit the photos, but I’ve been planning to write the accompanying text so we could post a blog about it.  Still haven’t done it.  He’s finished with the photos.

There’s a short story contest, too, and the deadline is Christmas day.  I have a few vague sketches scribbled in a notebook, and an opened Pages document with exactly one paragraph and one sentence of a second paragraph.  I would say nbd, because the story has a 1000 word limit, so I’m already almost 1/10 finished.  I know myself, though, and I know this stage is usually where I just sort of evade writing…I flip through cooking blogs, I browse the Beijinger’s website, reading restaurant reviews.  And then it will be Christmas, and no story.

But dammit, I say no!  I will write this story.  Just like I’m writing this blog post, which also has been in the queue for weeks.  We don’t have a VPN anymore, though, so it makes it more difficult to scale the great firewall.  We’re getting one soon.

Since writing has been a bit of a feat of late, and because here I am, finally doing it, I’m not going to ask too much of myself for this post (forgive me, readers) and relegate the rest to the bare-bones format of a list.

(The truth is, I love lists, and look for any excuse to make them.  So my stubborn avoidance of forming well-crafted paragraphs will serve tonight.)

Here you are.  Merry Christmas.


A Brief List of What’s Comprised My Life of Late

  1. A nine-day streak of working with no days off, which was a bit hellish.
  2. This culminated in last Friday and Saturday off, which I spent being luxuriantly lazy, and baking: scones, and banana bread with chocolate chips.
  3. I worked Sunday, then I was off again yesterday and today, like normal.  The days have not been too frigid so I’ve taken strolls at night, and even went for a run yesterday!  Shocking.
  4. Downloading absurd amounts of music: Sufjan Christmas, Girls, Phoenix, Mumford and Sons, and many more.
  5. Buying flowers for myself–white lilies, red Gerber daisies, white roses and some little dainty filler flowers.  They’re fading now but they still look elegant and festive in their Christmas tones.
  6. Eating at Terra (on Thursday night) and Mosto (today at lunch.)  Both are South and Central American influenced, and both were completely delicious.  Brett and I agreed that the food at Terra was a bit superior, and I actually need to sign off soon because we’re going back tonight for a passion fruit mojito that was one of the loveliest and tastiest cocktails I’ve ever tried.
  7. Movies, and sweatpants: Toy Story 3 (so sweet!  so moving!), Serendipity, While You Were Sleeping, Parent Trap (what can I say, I’m nostalgic for home, and those last three are some of my favorites to watch at Christmas, with family), and most recently a documentary about the migrant workers of China called “The Last Train Home.”  Really interesting; I recommend.
  8. Listening to Girls’ new album over and over, as well as their old.  Brett declared them “one of the best rock ‘n roll bands of this decade,” and I wholeheartedly agree.

OK.  There it is, my life reduced to a list.  I must sign off.  The vacation blog is going up soon (promise!) and I’ll post a link to it on here.

Merry Christmas, almost!



About dumplingdaze

I moved to Beijing from Paris a year and a half ago. I'm originally from the green hills of Tennessee, and although I miss bluegrass and good biscuits like I miss croissants and a good piece of St. Felicien, I'm enjoying my new home in the Far East. Chinese food is delicious! Dumplings, or jiaozi, are some of my favorite things on earth to eat. As you might have surmised, I love food. I also love words, and this blog is a space for me to ramble about food and life and experiences in Asia and beyond.
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