Spring means many things to me here. The beautiful weather is at the top of the list!
Something I really enjoy about the spring is the light. The fact that it is light when I get up at 6:20 goes a long way to waking me up. And I can’t get enough of the way the light comes into my kitchen in the morning. It faces north, so it doesn’t get any direct sunlight half the year. Seeing the beautiful light trickle in where the window wraps around just a bit on the east in the early part of the spring mornings makes me very happy! So happy that, Sunday morning, I took a quick video tour of my kitchen, to show off the light… and to show off the fact that everything was in its place. (I do have a place for everything, it’s just rare that everything gets there at the same time.)
My cats also enjoyed the sunlight… or maybe it was the birds they were watching so intently!
My neighbor put his birds out on the porch bars across from my kitchen window today. The green one seemed to be having a blast socializing a couple of with the local sparrows.
Then they flew away. “Where’d you go?”
Another aspect of spring that I enjoy is the constant art displays in my classroom building. Of course, there’s no posted schedule, and displays change from day to day (sometimes even from morning to afternoon), so I don’t usually get photos of the ones I like best – I only remember to bring my camera the next day! But I try to enjoy seeing them in the moment and not worry too much that I can’t share pictures with everyone else. (But last year I was pretty bummed that I didn’t get a shot of one dress design, pinned up on a dummy, that I thought would have looked great on yours truly but didn’t trust myself to draw or explain without a photo.) My favorite so far this year has been a photography display. The students really had a ball using color, lighting, and some great post-work (most of which looked like it could have been done in the darkroom, whether or not it actually was. Photoshop’s awesome, but I’m always more impressed by actual physical manipulation of light and exposure!)
And since buying my electric bike last fall, I’ve found another reason to enjoy spring – I can start riding it long distances again! The weather was so nice Saturday evening that when I went out to put away my fully recharged bike and get a couple items at the store, I did it in that order – I enjoyed the walk! – but on Sunday it’s great to go to meeting on the bike, and on Wednesday I jetted over to Wei San Lu to grab some butter for a spur-of-the-moment batch of Swedish Coffee Bread while it was having its first rise. (You put in the butter between the first and second rise, don’t you know?) I’m getting better at surviving low batteries, too – in other words, speeding up more gradually, and looking ahead so as to coast to a stop rather than waste juice going full speed before a fast stop. Take a wild guess how I’ve learned to do this!
Here are the results of three quick shopping stops on Sunday. Can you guess which price totals were highest/lowest?
First just inside the Southey’s gate on my way in the morning, at one of the many little tent-and-table shops that pop up to sell polo shirts in the spring, I got three “Large” shirts that fit me quite snuggly. OK for under other things or days off, but I guess I’d better go for “XL” next time if I want to wear them to work. Rats, and I know I wear a “Medium” shirt in the US!
Then I got these items at a new Carrefour, which has a very large foreign import section full of things that are ridiculously expensive and most of which I don’t know why they bother importing. Summary: bottled/canned drinks, breakfast cereal, candy, olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, coffee, tea, and pasta. That’s about 80% of what they had, in multiple brands and places of origin, filling up four medium-length aisles! The only thing that tempted me that I didn’t buy was a 55 rmb sack of bread flour. But I will probably go back for that if I start making tons of bread again now that it’s getting warm enough to rise. Everything else they sell either seems pointless to me (well, I do drink a lot of water, so I don’t buy many drinks aside from big bottles of juice and milk even in the US) or redundant (you can get popped rice for cereal and plain spiral pasta here for a good deal less than the imported stuff costs). The grassy coop, as you might say, was the vanilla powder! (At least, I think that’s what it is. I haven’t baked with it yet.) It’s the first known appearance of vanilla in ZZ, and I’m quite thrilled to find it as I’m on the last drops of a second-hand bottle, my own having run out a couple months ago after I failed to visit the US to replenish it. Hooray!!!!!!
And, after a quick stop at the ATM to replenish the pocketbook, a visit to the baking shop yielded pretty much everything I asked them for. As nice as the pleasant surprise of new discoveries is the satisfaction of knowing where to get what you want, and having it be there when you go!
Did you guess? I dropped plenty of hints. The most expensive purchase was at the second shop, where the total came to 110.10. The shirts were only 25 each, and the baking shop totaled 91. <- (highlight the text to read it.)
Finally, it’s fun to dress for warmer weather…
(a long story gripe about that second dress can be read in a note on Facebook… let’s just say it didn’t come out as I’d requested from the tailor, but happily I managed to accessorize away all but one of the major flaws.)
So, welcome spring!