Christmas is not a holiday in China. There are Christmas trees in public squares and coffee shops serve seasonal drinks, but everyone goes to work as per normal.
My day starts just after 6:30am.
I do not want to get up.
It's not snowing like my phone background. The temperature is fine, but the sky is still overcast from yesterday's rain.
After a shower and pulling on clothes, I head out the door, chuck some beer bottles in the recycling and then spot a share bike which i can ride to the subway.
On the way i pass an elementary and a middle school. Chinese schools always blast music and yell instructions over the PA to try get the kids excited and keep everyone hustling inside in an orderly fashion. It's never orderly. Today's music is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
My new job is about a half hour away on the subway, so i use that time to practice my flash cards.
I sneak a quick POV photo for you guys.
The subway turns into an el train out in the suburb where i work. All those high-rises are brand new - nobody has moved in yet.
Normally for breakfast i just grab a quick bao or sponge cake from the steamed bun guy, but i have a bit of extra time today so i duck into a sit-down joint.
I order one of my favorite Cantonese dishes called 肠粉 (cháng fěn). It is a rice noodle roll stuffed with whatever. The default comes with egg and lettuce. I try to eat vegan so i order no meat, no egg. The sauce is garlic mushroom and this place also adds pickle on the side. I always spoon on some chili (not shown).
After breakfast i head into the office. Due to lighting, awkwardness and confidentiality i can't get any good photos, so let's fast-forward to lunch. One of my favorite things about my new workplace is that there is a pond right outside.
I head to my current fave lunch spot, which is a hole in the wall that serves 重庆小面 (chóng qìng xiǎo miàn). This is flour noodles in bone (?) stock with a ton of chili, cilantro and Sichuan pepper. They usually chuck some bok choy, spring onions and peanuts as well.
Back to work. It's work. When i leave it's dark outside. I am exhausted and shuffle home like a zombie.
Still, no matter how tired, there is always time to cook. Here's a simple mise en place - napa cabbage, tofu, peanuts, cumin, fennel, garlic and some diced 山楂 (shān zhā), which is a sweet'n'sour hawthorn fruit.
I fry up the tofu, nuts and savories with cooking wine and mushroom soy, then the cabbage and sweets in a bit of vinegar and Lao Gan Ma black bean sauce. I'm lazy, so i just spread rice crackers with peanut butter and dump it all on top. Time to crawl back in bed and watch a show.
I close my eyes around 11:30pm.
It was a long day.