Before I get into what I've been doing with D'Arcy, I thought I would share some good news. I had an open class Wednesday morning. The only person that watched was the head of my department, Jane. Afterwards she said some really nice things. She seemed impressed that I had come up with the concept for the class myself (having the students split into roles of judges and applicants to be on a reality show). She also said that the students seemed confident to speak in my class. It was really nice to hear.
D'Arcy and her friend Erica arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday late afternoon. I picked them up at the airport, which was actually kind of fun. We took the Maglev back and stopped at my apartment to drop off stuff, then headed right out for some quick shopping and a lunch of shengqianbao (fried meat buns). Then I left them on their own for a few hours while I finished up the work day.
Wednesday night we decided to take it easy. We went and got massages. We got hour long full body Chinese style messages and half hour herbal foot messages. Cost about $14 total. Oh yeah. We were all in the same room and had fun talking to the masseurs and each other and laughing A LOT. We were very ridiculous.
After that they said they wanted Chinese food for dinner. On June's suggestion we went to the Chinese restaurant on the corner that I pass pretty much every day but have never been to. It was delicious. We got lots of vegetables, pepper steak beef, bull frog, shanghai style noodles, some AMAZING sweet and sour pork...it was all very good. After that we went back to my apartment and hung out. We talked about different plans of what to do while they were here and D'Arcy and I also made our plans for the next day.
Thursday Erica went off to Nanjing. D'Arcy and I went to work. I thought it would be a fun idea to have her guest teach my classes for the day so I had switched classes with a co-worker to make sure I saw all four classes. D'Arcy had prepared a power point about herself and working in Japan and showed my students. Then they asked her some questions (one of which was "Can you tell us some gossip about Stephanie?" She ended up telling them about how I played an old lady for Revels one year and how silly I looked) and she taught them to play shiritori, a japanese game she plays with her students that involved writing a word on the board and then having the next person write a word that starts with the last letter of the word before it. (ex: ORANGE-ELEPHANT-TANGO-OCTOBER) D'Arcy seemed to have a lot of fun talking to my students, saying she was jealous of how good their English level was. My students in turn really seemed to like her. One student asked if she would be teaching another class before she left.
Here is a picture we took with D'Arcy's webcam in the school library in between classes.
Yesteday D'Arcy decided that she would really like some more international food (since she lives in a very rural area in Japan and hardly ever gets the chance there). For lunch we went to the Indian Kitchen. The tandoori chicken was SO TASTY. D'Arcy, who has actually been to India, said it tasted like genuine Indian food and was very happy about that. For dinner we went to Big Bamboo for burgers. She said it was the first real burger since she had moved to Japan (in August). It's strange to think that she came to visit me in China and that gave her the chance to have a burger.
After dinner we got some DVDs at my lady and then went to the underground mall beneath the Science and Technology museum (kejiguan). I was impressed with D'Arcy's mad negotiating skills. I think the highlight of the evening was when she bargained down some knock off designer sunglasses from 150RMB EACH to 50RMB ($7) for two pairs. Well done, Miss Sarnelle. She also got some t-shirts and jewelry and shoes and such. A productive evening. My only purchase last night was a good one. Something I've wanted for a while and had never seen on sale before. Chinese fortune telling sticks. They are basically numbered sticks in a round container (the one i got is very pretty). You make a wish and you shake it until one stick falls out, then check the book that comes with it. The number gives you a fortune and says if your wish will come true or not. Here is a picture of them in use (from wiki)
I had asked around where I could buy some but everyone always told me that you couldn't buy them, they were only at temples. I was very excited to see them in kejiguan. The shopkeeper for that particular store was quite a character. She kept saying that if she sold us stuff for the prices we were asking for, her boss would kill her. Which led me to ask what the lowest price was that she could give us where she WOULDN'T be murdered, and offering to protect her from her boss if she gave us a really good price. Another woman in another shop also quipped that D'Arcy needed to realize she was trying to buy shirts, not socks. These guys and gals are good at what they do. They have a lot of practice joking and laughing and winning over customers for a good price. They were no match for D'Arcy and I, though. We had secret looks and hand signs and often played the part of the impatient/stubborn/cheap friend.
After all that, we left the mall with our bounty and I brought her to Enoteca for a bottle of Van Loverns. We sat at the bar and chatted about our successful day. We headed back to my apartment with plans to keep hanging out (possibly with more wine) but we were so tired we just went to sleep.
I let D'Arcy sleep in this morning while I went to work. My one class today (since I had switched my other class to yesterday) went fine. I am slowly slowly slowly going through grading these tests. Bah. I wish I wasn't so easily distracted. D'Arcy is off wandering by herself today and I am going to meet up with her later. Tonight her, me, Erica (who should be back from Nanjing soon), Isabelle and Lucy are all going to this Arabic style restuarant that supposedly makes great lamb and also has belly dancers. I'm really looking forward to it.
Tomorrow we are planning on doing some more sight seeing, hopefully to the yuyuan garden for xiaolongbao and soup dumplings. Sunday we already have tickets for me, D'Arcy, Erica and Isa to go to Suzhou. I'm really excited to go back. I hope the weather is nice.
That's all for now. I'm really really happy to see D'Arcy. It's great to have a friend from home right now, especially one like her. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. It's going to be really hard to see her go on Monday. My apartment will seem really empty again. Hopefully I will be able to visit her in Japan soon. My fortune sticks did say I would get my wish and that I would "benefit from a journey" when I wished to visit her in Fukui.