I know I’m a bit behind, but I don’t feel like writing about the last few weeks just yet.
We have strawberry plants growing in what we thought was a barren planter. The strawberry seeds that we’d planted at the end of summer hadn’t been able to stand up to the 70-80 degree days we were still having and died. And then the cold barreled through like a train, stripping my Four O’Clocks to the bulb and ravaging our basil. Sherman survived but underwent a few changes of his own, changing from a green to a light pink through fall and now decidedly a deep red.
But two little strawberry sprouts turned into two little plants and a third little sprout. Unfortunately for the strawberry plants, signs point to our long winter coming to a close. The squirrels are back in the park; baby birds are hatching in the trees; I’m carrying my rain coat more often than wearing it.
I read a few articles about gardening in your apartment and I’m all re-energized to plant some more seeds. Even with the view of the river park and our two strawberry plants, Sherman, Bucky 2.0, and Klettus (the bamboo), it often feels pretty gray in our neck of the woods. We’ve talked about moving to another area further away from the center of the city, specifically to an area at the edge of the MRT map and at the base of the Mao Kong hills. We’ll see.
Living in Yonghe can be pretty… exhausting. On my way to work in the mornings, I find myself trying to breathe out more than I breathe in. Scooters brush past me in the narrow alleys I walk to avoid the idling cars and buses on the roads.
I have grown quite fond of the stalls in Yonghe that I occasionally stop at for breakfast on the go—米漿 (warm peanut, rice, and soy drink) from the shop that appears to have three generations of women working, 蔥油餅加蛋 (basil and egg scrambled together and folded into a spring-onion pancake) from the cheerful man in the ball cap.
I’m trying to adjust my pace of life. I haven’t really succeeded so far; I’ve just shown up a little late to work too many days in a row. I’ve gotten really sick of rushing everywhere, and I know rushing through meals isn’t healthy, and I should probably even do my homework slower. I’m going to make an effort to go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier, and leave sooner. In my head, that means I’ll be able to slow down the rest of the day. And I think that would be nice.
Right now I’m reading Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s an already-old copy that flew to Thailand to sit in the sand and has grown more and more tattered shoved into my school bag for reading on the MRT.