Saturday, June 30, 2012

I may have serious dislike for China Customs, but I have serious love for my friends

Earlier this week I woke up laughing from a dream. This one takes the stupidity cake. Arianna Huffington was telling me a knock knock joke.

Arianna: Knock knock, daahhhling.
Me: Who's there?
Arianna: Tony Danza, ahhhbviously.
Me: That doesn't make any sense. Why should that be so obvious?
Arianna: ::blank stare::
Me: You should have asked me, "Knock knock, who's the boss?"

I messed up my regular-ish sleep schedule this week by taking afternoon naps, staying up really late and still getting up really early. Maybe that's the reason for so many weird dreams this week.

On Tuesday, my birthday, my coworker took me to the local police station to get registered. Apparently you have to register with the police station each time you exit the country and reenter, and no one told me I needed to do this until now. So I've been living here somewhat illegally since I returned from Hong Kong back in February. Oops.

I was a little nervous wondering how big of a deal the police were going to make of this. But luckily my coworker has lived here several years and is fluent in Chinese, and was able to speak with them about it. And by the tones and smiles, I think he was sweet-talking them.

By this time, I had forgotten it was my birthday and was just focused on smiling and looking very sweet and innocent until everything was sorted out. I didn't tell anyone I know here in China about my birthday because I never really celebrate it anyway. The police woman then handed me back my passport, smiled, and wished me a happy birthday in Chinese. It sort of stunned me back to reality and I thanked her. And then my coworker gasped and said, "I didn't know it was your birthday! Why didn't you tell me?!" Because I like my birthdays to just sort of roll on by, that's why. But people think you're weird when you admit to things like that.

Anyway, everything turned out swell. I was really not wanting to go to Chinese jail on my birthday.

My good friend Jen mailed me a birthday package earlier this month, and it was FANTASTIC! It was full of all of the awesome American junk food I love... Sun Chips, Mac-n-Cheese, Reese's Pieces, and.....BEEF JERKY!!! (along with a bunch of other yummy goodies)

The beef jerky was extra special, because Jen calls it my "dog food" because she hates it so much, so I know it was an extra big deal for her to include it in the birthday package. Thanks, Jen! I ate the junk food all month long, but saved a beef jerky for my actual birthday dessert...

and it was fabulous.

By the way, I don't think I have enough mean things to say about China Customs. They opened my birthday package and went through all of the contents and harassed me with numerous phone calls and emails wanting me to give details about each and every item in the package. HELLO, it's a birthday present, I have no idea what it is! But that did not satisfy them. So I had to bother poor Jen to tell me what my birthday presents were, how much they weighed, and how much each item cost.

I was so sad to have to ask her to do this. It wasn't that I cared about the surprise being ruined for my own sake…it was the fact that she put so much thought and effort into sending me a package, not to mention the expense, AND she loves to give presents and surprises so much, it was heart-breaking. It made me sick to my stomach.

They also opened the wrapped birthday present and did not bother to put it back in the wrapping or even the envelope to cover it back up again. Thanks, China Customs. You're a real sweetheart.

All that aside, the package was the best thing ever. Besides all of the amazing junk food, she got me a first edition book…Pablo Neruda "Memoirs" … a first edition! From my birth year, 1977! It's in pristine condition and I can't wait to read it. Since China Customs opened the present for me, I told her I would at least wait until after my actual birthday to start reading it. That probably makes no sense at all to normal people, but it made good sense to us.

You want to see another awesome birthday present I got from one of my best friends? J posted this picture on my Facebook page as a happy bday…

Seriously, I love my friends. I'm a very lucky kid.

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