Book worm, street rat, and other comforts of home.

So I definitely picked up a little bug in Hainan (ah, the vacation that keeps on giving) and my body’s been slow to react.  That meant this weekend was pretty low-key, trying to stay hydrated and rested.  School starts soon- the first foreign teachers’ meeting is on Thursday- and I really want to be 100% better  by the time I meet my colleagues and students.  I decided to indulge in the things from home that make me feel better when I’m sick or feeling down to expedite the healing process.
First on the list?  The book store.  I went to 2 yesterday and seriously geeked out.  
Book Store #1:
This behemoth is across the street from my apartment, attached to the Cultural Plaza Hotel.  It has 3 floors that I could see, with signs for a 4th and 5th floor, and a small foreign books section.  It also has (bless you, Western influence) a coffee shop that sells real American coffee.
Book Store #2:
This is called (according to my map) Foreign Book Shop.  It’s a bit of a hike from my place, but as I found, well worth the trip.  I almost missed it at first, but because it was adjacent to the very same coffee shop as the Cultural Plaza book store, I just caught it.
The ironic part is that because I have a Kindle, I didn’t actually buy anything at either of these stores.  But it was so soothing to be around books, books written in English, that I can’t overstate the benefits of this home-remedy.  A big part of it is that lots of the books I saw reminded me of people from home, so let me share a few shout-outs:  
Books of piano music.  Among the many, many wonderful things about cohabitation with Matthew is his piano talent.  At home, I am treated so often to his music, and I miss it very much here.  I also found it really comforting that the notes and accents and staffs look just the same in a Chinese book as they do in an English one.
Oh!  I nearly fell over when I found this shelf.  I didn’t bring my HPs with me (too heavy, too big) and unfortunately, no Kindle editions exist.  But if I get really homesick for Hogwarts, I know where to find the cure.  (Yes, I really said that.)  I smiled at these books, thinking about my sister Becca listening to HP on her iPod.  Also, Nelson Family: we need to plan our HP7 viewing experience for when B and I get home from China.
This is my favorite book from way back, when my mom used to read it to me (which, readers of this book will know, is quite a feat considering all the Yorkshire dialect).  I had actually started reading this one before bed when I first got sick (free download on Kindle!) to help me sleep.  It makes me really happy to think about a Chinese mother somewhere maybe reading this to her daughter.
Oh!  My favorite book.  Rather than helping me sleep, this one kept me up late when I first read it.  Might be one to reread here.
An entire shelf of Sophie Kinsella!  Alisa, I didn’t see any books about nursing, but you would have plenty of reading material here.
Ha!  This one was a recommendation from my dad several years ago.  You might not know this, but I didn’t always handle change or setbacks with such aplomb.  Okay actually, I just wanted to use the word “aplomb” here, but this one really did stick with me.  Thanks, Dad.
I still haven’t read this one (and it is fat, holy moly!), but it reminded me that Matt’s dad recommends it highly, and then I thought of his mom (who sent me here with a thermometer that I am so grateful to have- no fever, thankfully!) and sister and brother and brother’s fiancee too, and I felt warm all over (not from fever, as I said).  
And Lo, you’ll be happy to know (as I was) that Chinese girls read Twilight too!
I have nerdy, smart, wonderful archy and graphic designer friends back at home who talk a lot about PhotoShop.  I think fondly of you nerds often. 
I actually have no idea what AutoCAD really does, but it sure looks impressive.
I wonder if it’s the same in Chinese as it is in English!
I almost died when I saw this one because I’d totally forgotten that I’d read it and then hated the movie.  But to my good friends Anna, Melissa, and Leah, I dedicate this picture.  And this wasn’t the only title I saw by Phillipa Gregory.  I think she’s got a little following over here!
And speaking of book clubs…check it out!  This one made me think of Kat.  I hope she’s still loving Austin.
Oh, St. Paul.  I miss you too.
And what kind of English teacher would I be if I didn’t find texts from each grade level back at MHS? 

9th grade.
10th grade.

11th grade.
A Doll’s House!  12th grade.  
(I tried to find Hamlet for you people, or maybe Les Mis, but no dice.)
So thank you, book stores, for providing the much-needed comfort.  I felt so calm as I walked home that the rat I saw running straight into a restaurant didn’t even really phase me.  I mention this only because for some reason, I’ve been waiting to see a rat ever since I got here.  I mean, this city has 8 million people and even though it’s really clean, they have to be somewhere, right?  (Just please please please never in my apartment.)  I am really terrified and grossed out by rodents, and I think I needed to see one to show myself I wouldn’t freak out.  And with the lasting effects of book-store balm, I didn’t scream but only thought, “Hmm.  Never eat at that place.”  And I was fine.  Ah, the power of aisles and aisles of text.
And today, I had to make a short sojourn to school, and I took an unfamiliar bus back home.  It ended up dropping me off literally right in front of this place I’ve wanted to try for a while, the Myth Cafe.  I’ve heard it’s popular with foreigners and to be honest, I needed some familiar food.  So I walked in, and can you even believe what I found on the menu?
Tomato soup and grilled…CHEESE!
It was like my parents made it for me and then shipped it to China so I’d have a little lunch from home.  (You’re the best, Mom and Dad.)
So all of this combined with the antibiotic I started today should hopefully take care of my sickness.  If not, I might have to try acupuncture and just needle the hell out of that parasite.  I’ll keep you posted.

One comment

  1. Jenne-I just caught up on your blog posts! You've been one busy girl. I have to say my favorite pictures by far are the crazy English interpretations. How you figure out what anything says is beyond me 🙂
    As for your current post – remember going to The Other Boleyn girl with Anna and me? We just kept looking at each other like, “WTH is happening??” That movie is second only to My Sister's Keeper in terms of its horrible interpretation of the text.
    Here's an intercontinental hug for you!


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