Vacation and Such

Vacation has come and gone. A welcome respite from the all consuming occasionally tedious flow of the work week. I took the opportunity to rest, read, and strike out on the occasional run (more like a trot, or slow speed walk without the funny hip swivel). My theory was that considering that most people had to get back to the grind on Thursday I would wait and then visit the museum and another historic garden. I’m still confident this would have been a good plan if any of the information I had gathered concerning the holiday was accurate. But it wasn’t, and on Thursday the entirety of China was still packing the streets of Suzhou. So instead myself and a couple of fun loving friends braved the crowded streets and walked aimlessly. The following day they invited me to a BBQ in suburbia: America. It was really nice for a change. I talked to people that not only understood my words, but also the thinking and motivation behind them. Thats the recap of vacation. Oh, I also visited this quaint park with a wonderful waterfall. Luckily I came before 3 o’clock when it’s turned off for the day. . .There’s also a pic of an eco-friendly roof and a sign for water dabbers.

If you haven’t read all the Fire and Ice books (Game of Thrones) skip the next paragraph.

So yeah, I just wrote a big paragraph on reviews and expectations and blah blah blah. . . .and then deleted it. Basically, what I want to say is: I loved the new book. It didn’t really venture forward, but so much happened I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t stammer through long food descriptions or grow bored at any part. I enjoyed the journey and will appreciate the end when it comes. I am disappointed that it will have to be so long before the next installment, but whatever. I have also concluded I would be well satisfied with an ending that included Varrys dying while Daenerys takes the Iron Throne. BUT his last sight is her burning all the Usurpers and children, thus end his life of plotting to restore the throne to another Mad King. Yup, thats what I’m waiting for, and it fits perfectly, no? I think so. Although, I still doubt they will ever be finished.

Before I forget: the day following my rat encounter I had the privilege of watching a snake slither its way back and fourth across a power-line down the street. My only consolation is that I don’t think it will be bothering me considering it soon after jumped 20-30 ft to an assuming death. I can’t however, confirm the results of this jump. So who knows, maybe I’ll have another visitor in the future.

One advantage of the vacation was that I came back to a three day work week. Thank goodness. It turns out that the following weekend was actually more productive than vacation. I ran every day. Would you believe me if i said I ran a 5:28 mile? Me neither. BUT, I did run four 400’s adding up to 5:28, after 3 miles and a 400 inbetween each one. Results: feeling good for a day, then massive shin splints. The true magic of this weekend came on Wednesday. While running on the track it was hard not to notice the hundreds of people playing volleyball and soccer on artificial fields next to the track. On Wednesday I set out with one goal in mind: Play Soccer. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hoped to accomplish this by walking to where everyone was waiting for the next game and then sit myself quietly in the middle of it. For an hour. Without any interaction. I might have had the knowledge to maybe get in a game, but I guess I was lacking confidence that day. Anyhow a new game started after FOREVER and BAM, I was in. Literally 30 second into the game there was a cross on the ground within 5ft of the goal. I was undefended. This was perfect. Everyone would love me. My place would be secure for future playing. I’m happy! Is what would have happened if I wasn’t overcome by the pressure of not playing for months, tripping over my feet and falling on my face. Wonderful. Not the start I anticipated. However, 15 minutes later we had a corner kick: redemption. . .like the Raid (great movie). Well I ran into the box setting my sight on that driven ball right before it was deflected heading straight for my face. I did what anyone not willing to get hit in the face does (close my eyes and turn my head). As it turns out, this was precisely the move i was hoping for. With my cowardly skill i gracefully shouldered the ball of the post into the goal. (And by should I really mean lower enough arm to be called a hand ball). Well, it must have happened to fast for anyone to see cause they thought I was awesome, and who was I to say otherwise.

I tried to ask in Chinese if they play everyday and if they’d be there next week. After several attempts one guy just said, “wait, what are you saying, speak english” in perfect English. I complied. I now have my weekends booked from 2-6 both days!! I wish I could get in on that volleyball, but it’s more of a league so I don’t think its possible. This is what I’ve been looking for, and I’m super optimistic about meeting people there. The one guy that talked to me was extremely welcoming and pleasant with good english. I figure I might be able to practice my Chinese and people will probably know enough English to help if need be. Until next week. . . .I’ll be nursing my shins and then Game On!


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