May First is Chinese Labor Day, celebrated in America on the first Monday in September. In China, people generally revel at parks and lakes, paying homage both to all the hard work they do all year and the coming of clement weather. However, this year's Labor Day brought rain in Wuhan, at least for the first 2 days. Sunday's weather was gorgeous and all the people who had suffered from the downpours turned out en masse to enjoy the last day of the holiday.
For my part, I can honestly attest to having labored in the kitchen, preparing all of the food. The cleanup still awaited me. Waking up at 5:45AM on Sunday, I was not looking forward to spending the better part of the morning cleaning, nor was I eyeing my laundry pile with any joy or desire. So, when my friend Sam texted: 'What is your plan today?' I got a hint that I might be able to shirk my household duties once again. True enough: he and his family invited me to the lake.
To tell be honest, I didn't want any more socializing. I was exhausted and had a heap of stuff to do, even though I was not looking forward to doing it. I actually flipped a coin to decide whether I would accept or decline their invitation. The coin said 'no', so I texted: “That sounds great! What should I bring?”
You have to understand. I've only been off campus a handful of times since February, and then only by necessity: doctors or grocery shopping. I was hungry to go play and see something other than the inside of a hospital or grocery store. True, I had a lot of things to do here, but surely they could wait one more day?
Make that 2 more days. I had a full classload on Monday.
Sam suggested I bring some food. GASP! How to prepare food with my kitchen the state it was in? Quickly I scrubbed my wok and fried some chicken wings, and then boiled some eggs. There was fruit leftover from yesterday; that went in the picnic bag too, along with some snacks. And then to quickly get myself ready. I was tying my shoes by the time Sam, Penny and their daughter Erica arrived.
Originally our destination was East Lake, but then the news reported that every other Wuhanite was headed there, too. To avoid traffic, we opted for a lake only 10 km from our school, that I had biked to often. It was lovely and deserted, but the construction going on next to it made it a less than desirable outing. We waited there for the family of one of Erica's classmates. From there we decided to head to Caidian, a lovely, less populated district of Wuhan I'd been to only once before.
It was lunchtime by the time we got there. Immediately we broke out the food and ate. And then we headed to the restaurant inside the park for our lunch. I'll never understand why the Chinese picnic on food they brought, and then go eat in a restaurant. Afterwards, everyone hiked up the mountain (hill). I chose to sit it out. It was hard to navigate on crutches and I didn't want to slow anyone down. My ankle was badly swollen and hurting. Fortunately I had brought my Kindle, so I sat by the lake.
We met up again at 5PM. Penny showed me pictures of all of them on the golf driving range. The little ones enjoyed an ice cream before we all got in the cars and headed back. We weren't on the road 5 minutes before little Erica fell asleep. I got home just after 7 and decided to ignore my kitchen mess for one more day, making do with the leftover fried chicken and some chips for my dinner. I was in bed by 9:30 and slept clean through till the alarm went off, which I promptly snoozed.
Monday's classes went with a Hitch, namely that I was showing the movie Hitch to complete a lesson series on body language and non-verbal communication. Even though I didn't have to work to teach, I was wrung by work day's end. Bearing in mind my unusable kitchen, I chose to dine at a small restaurant on campus, close to my home.
While eating I determined to fuel up for the ordeal of finally tackling that dreaded chore. After getting home, I took a few minutes to boot up the computer and check email, something I'd not done all day. Julia had sent a document to translate, needed by the next day. Instead of plunging elbow-deep into warm suds and cleaning up, I stayed at the computer until after 10PM, working my French language skills.
We're now going on 4 days of my kitchen taunting me with its filth, mocking my laziness. Tuesday is when I finally put paid to all of my Labor Day fun, washing every single utensil and dish, and scrubbing the surfaces and walls to boot.
If every Labor Day is this labor intensive, I might have to take a vacation to recover from it!