Monkeying Around in the Year of the Monkey

 

Though I think New Year’s resolutions are more of a Western tradition, I decided to make one for Chinese New Year: Don’t worry about anything. I haven’t always been great about it, but I’ve been doing my best to remind myself of this mantra on the daily.

Back in December, I worked as a secretary at a consulting firm in Washington DC. I’d gotten the job through a temp agency during Christmas week. The previous secretary had received a promotion and trained me carefully for three weeks. When I began the job, she told me that they were looking for someone who could stay on for at least six months. Then, one unlucky Thursday in mid-January, the company abruptly laid me off. Ten minutes later, I got a WeChat message from one of my good friends in China. She said she wanted to build the hostel we talked about last summer. She’d found an investor. Realizing that I had nothing to lose and that this clearly meant I was destined to return to China, I immediately grabbed my passport and Fedexed it to a visa agency in New York. Two weeks later, I had a ten year visa to China.

Around this time, I’d begun dating a man in his mid-thirties. We had our first date at a Korean BBQ in Northern Virginia. As we stuffed our faces with pork and rice, he revealed to me that he’s Chinese. I took it as another sign. I told him I wanted to return to China to build a business. He quickly became my mentor. He helped me practice Chinese, paid my rent, took me out places, and even helped me find weed. Damn, if he wasn’t the best boyfriend I ever had. Too bad he belonged to someone else. We parted ways at the airport in early March.

I hate Tampa. Growing up in that part of Florida as a mixed race child from the North was nothing short of awful. Unfortunately, my mom has stage four kidney disease and I felt obligated to visit her because she can’t travel. My dad works day and night to care for her.

Police in the Tampa Bay Area are notoriously corrupt. They look for the tiniest of excuses to harass minorities. I made the mistake of driving a nice car through a bad part of Tampa late at night. Long story short: now my parents have a huge legal mess to deal with. Though, slowly, our attorney is taking care of it.

A day before my flight, my dear friend Chloe, informed me that she had returned to Shanghai because she had a falling out with our investor in Nanchang. I was honestly a bit relieved, since I had no desire to go to a small city like Nanchang. My flight from Tampa couldn’t come soon enough. I really wanted to get out of there. At the check-in desk at 5AM, the clerk already started testing my patience.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

“China.” I replied.

Without even opening my passport, she smugly questioned “You don’t have a visa?”

Rolling my eyes at the never-ending stupidity of Floridians, I told her that you actually have to look inside the passport because that’s where visas are stored. Dumbass.

At my six hour layover in Boston, I met a girl from New York who happened to be on my flight to Shanghai. She was starting a new job with an educational company. We made a ton of jokes, took three benadryl each, then passed out. After a 16-hour flight, your legs tend to feel like jello. Standing after that flight was more difficult than that time my ex-boyfriend and I screwed for almost an entire day.

I spent almost two weeks in Shanghai. During that time, I had a lot of bathroom hookups, made 12k RMB, partied almost every night with a girl from Brazil, and ate a lot of fried rice. But the air pollution in Shanghai is awful and the rent is too damn expensive. So, I decided to drop anchor in Chengdu.

Yesterday, I held a monkey and somebody bought me a blue rose. The monkey stole it but he’s super cute so it doesn’t matter. Play around and enjoy life. This is the year to give zero fucks.

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