Too busy and too lazy lately, even though I’ve thought of a lot of things to say! So, here’s the short, bulleted version, in chronological order:

  • A modern Chinese wedding. Boyfriend and I went down to Shanghai during the National Day holiday to attend one of his college friend’s wedding. It was interesting, to say the least. More details later, but I have to say, weddings aren’t any more awkward as the only foreign guest than as a non-foreign guest.
  • National Day holiday. Fun! We spent three short days in Shanghai — one at the wedding and two on Chongming Island. It’s the third-largest island in China! (You may feel smart if you know the first two. What are the largest islands in the U.S.?) Then we came home and did boring stuff, but at least we didn’t have to work.
  • Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee gave the contentious (in more ways than one) prize to a jailed Chinese dissident. More on the nuances later, but for now: He lived in the same apartment complex I lived in last summer when I was interning in Beijing. His wife still lives there, just down the small road from my office. Moral of this story: It pays to know who your neighbors are before a big event happens. And, I lived in the same apartment complex as a Nobel Peace Prize winner!
  • China Open. Two short days at work after National Day, including on a Saturday, and then we spent all day Sunday at the National Tennis Center for the finals matches. I saw the Bryan brothers beat some Polish duo pretty handily, though they were interrupted briefly by a rain delay. Then Djokovic and Ferrer began their men’s singles final match. They played a few games before another rain delay. Then after a few more games, Djokovic complained that the lines were still a little damp, so they stopped play to dry them — during which it started to rain again. And then it never stopped. Of course, we still stayed until close to 10 p.m., when the organizers finally decided to suspend play until the next day. So then I had to take Monday off work, but at least I got to see an unexciting men’s final and a very exciting women’s final between Wozniacki and Zvonereva.
  • Pollution. The sky looked like this on Sunday during the rain-laden finals day:
    This is probably the color of my lungs now.

    Beijing was the most polluted city out of the 47 cities monitored by the National Environmental Monitoring Center, receiving a “poor” rating. Two parts of the city in the suburban districts were “hazardous.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy’s monitors in Chaoyang also had a “hazardous” rating. And I spent a whole day in it.

  • CSL Beijing v. Tianjin. Chinese football, for international fans who are more used to watching European and South American leagues, is a sad, sad thing. This match was no exception, except that it was between two of the biggest rivals in China. Besides, going to sporting events is fun, especially when the crowd is huge and into it. In that respect, this match was awesome. A legion of riot police and a gajillion security guards were around to keep any shenanigans at bay, but the crowd was well-behaved, loud and upbeat. Even after this really sad penalty:
  • It’s cold. And Beijing won’t turn the heat on until Nov. 15.

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