So much has changed.
It has been a long time since my last post. The last time you guys read anything from me I was about to board a plane to China. My life has completely changed since my last post. 180 degrees. I arrive in China around 9PM because the flight was delayed by 2 hours. Additionally the pilot landed in the wrong zone and we had to wait around for another hour. I felt a bit bad because of how long Xiangru, my penpal, had to wait for me. The first couple days of my trip were exhausting because I had a 14 hour plane ride to Beijing, a 12 hour train ride to Dunhua, and an additional 2 hour taxi ride to arrive in the small town of Erdaobaihezhen. I have been to China a couple times in the past to Xi’an, Nanning, and Chengdu, but I had totally forgotten how crazy the rides in the taxis were. We were either driving against traffic or speeding through the mountains. The driver would spam flicker his high beams to let trucks know that he is passing. I never felt safe sitting in the backseat because in every Taxi there are no seat belts. 10 kilometers out of Erdaobaihezhen we hit a pothole in the road and the tire pops and it is getting dark and it is starting to rain. We patch up in the rain and get into the town and get me set up in a hotel. We get dinner at a Korean restaurant.
So this town is at the north foot of Changbaishan which borders North Korea from the north and west. On the second day I travel 3 hours with Xiangru to the west foot to accompany her to get the landlords to sign their land to her so she could begin constructing an airbnb. We spend the day travelling and taking photos of the buildings that Xiangru needed to renovate. The places were abandoned and a mess. To be honest I really don’t think those buildings could have been remodeled in time for the snow to come in. At night we go to another Korean restaurant to celebrate Xiangru’s birthday. There is a large Korean population in this city because how close we are. Apparently Kim Jong Un’s bloodline comes from this city.
The next day we got coffee and cake in the morning. In Asian countries they always romanticize western bakeries. Like Paris Baguette for example. But the coffee shop we went to I wish there were things like that here in the states. The building was very modern and a bit claustrophobic. But it felt very homey. I spent the day with her extended family. Her aunt and uncle and their parents. We get lunch at a hot pot restaurant where each person had their own individual pot to cook with. We were escorted to a sauce bar to make our own sauces to eat with our food. It was delicious. Instead of riding back with her Aunt we walk back. Everything is in walking distance in this small town. It probably takes about an hour and a half to walk across town. The town is out in the country side which was nice because I was able to see the sky unlike in Shanghai or Beijing. The area was also nice because there were large parks between everything. Later at night we go to a bar to unwind and finish watching Fantastic Mr. Fox. I brought a bunch of movies with me to give to Xiangru. We had a gift exchange last Christmas, but my gift got lost in the mail.
On the fourth day we have to head back to the west foot to meet with her friend Wang Chao, who is an architect. We get lunch at a restaurant near by and they have this blue berry wine. Changbai is known for their blue berries. We check out the land again and they bounce ideas back and forth. And head back north. We get some more Korean food then go out looking for a bar. Xiangru brings us to this place called Coco Banana which she thinks is a regular bar. But immediately when we get in I know that this place is a titty bar with stripper poles and dirty old men in private booths. She was completely oblivious. She was talking to the server who said if we stay longer there would be a show and Xiangru still had no idea. So I told her what it was and we ended up leaving and buying some Vodka from the store and going karaoke.
Xiangru sends me some soup in the morning, but I could barely eat. I was pretty hung over from the night before. She shows up to my hotel in some fancy clothe. Apparently we were having lunch with her family and Wang Chao and if I had known that I wouldn’t have drank so much the night before. I was in no shape to function until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. We spent the day together at this hotel called the Branch. It was the craziest hotel I have ever seen. There were llamas and peacocks. Wooden swings and a small park next to a river. We spent the day talking about us. A couple days later after thinking it over we made it official.
The rest is history. I was there for another week and I spent a lot of time helping her plan her BnB to survive the winter. But unfortunately the landlords decided to back out and so even though they had sign contracts. They decided to end it early. Which in my opinion was better because there was no way that was going to be ready by November.
I fly home to California and spend as much time as I can with Justin, Belinda, Brian, and Emmy. I get my car fixed and on October 18th I drove 12 hours from Sacramento to Seattle. I spent a couple weeks getting settled in. I just got a job and my first day is on Tuesday. I will try to find a place to move out to soon. And that is pretty much it. Why I have been missing for the past two months. I finally have some time to sit down and write. I will continue to write some Dota related articles as soon as I can, but there are many other things that I need to commit my time to. Until next time.