Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When the going gets tough...

...the tough get going (to Laos)!

This week has been rough for both of us. Last Saturday, we woke up both feeling blah--I think it was the combination of coming down from the high of the engagement (the ring, talking with everyone, then getting the pictures, and then spending a while reviewing them, the whole time being so excited!) and then being forced to settle back into our somewhat boring daily routine. Also, we videochatted with a bunch of friends and family in NYC, and everyone looked so beautiful and happy (and they were eating PINKBERRY!) that it was hard not to get homesick. I mean, we're definitely not ready to go home...but are undoubtedly missing a few key things (besides friends and family): being able to buy Draino when you need it without hours of fruitless searching in Carrefour and finally recruiting a bilingual friend, being able to ask a complicated question and get a real answer instead of "yes, yes, san-q"(My latest trick for the less-English fluent is to type into googletranslate while I say something. A little embarrassing for both parties involved, but it gets the job done...and it's not like my Mandarin has gotten any better). We definitely expected these things to happen and these minor annoyances are nothing new...but having recently celebrated our 5 months anniversary of arriving in Beijing, they're wearing on us.

Before our mothers start getting worried, know that we ended up having a good weekend--we went to American-style brunch and a flower market on Saturday and then Sunday, we went with Esther and Ben to a DELICIOUS European-themed cafe, where I had a steak for the first time in months--so we both realized that we still have a lot going for us here and that we have to remain optimistic.

Here's what is bringing us down:
Alison: The kids are still adorable, but she's becoming increasingly frustrated with how lazy her co-teachers are and the sweaty, jam-packed, pushy commute.
Me: After the paper was rejected from JAMA, I realized that I basically in the same exact position I was 6 weeks ago: working endlessly on one paper that doesn't really make sense and sitting on two completed manuscripts that require approval to be submitted to different journals. Workwise, I'm definitely in a ground-hog's day scenario, but I can't complain because at least I have work to do.

Here's what we have to look forward to the next 3 weeks:
Jan 22: Kim, one of Alison's NYC roommates , is coming up from Guangzhao for the week!
Jan 25: Dr. Smith, our UNC mentor, arrives in Beijing. I think she's here for 4 days, which will likely be a whirlwind of productivity. Keep your fingers crossed that I can submit one of those papers I am sitting on.
Jan 30 - Feb 8: LAOS
Feb 12: My parents come!

Just get us to the weekend!!

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