Sunday, May 8, 2011

What women want

So what do I get down to these days? In no particular order… (and for those who want to bore themselves as to what a woman can get up to…):

Manicures/Pedicures: Once even had it done by a male manicurist, who wasn’t very good – nails were slanted and some dead skin was not removed. Another time, I went to a salon that had the term ‘sell sandals’ listed on their services poster – I thought it was another bad case of Chinglish and asked my manicurist. She replied: ‘脉脱线' – wah! Sounds serious! Maybe they offer TCM services too? And upon clarification, she said clearly ‘卖拖鞋' – they really sell sandals to those who do not want to sit and wait for their nail polish to dry. Haha! And the same manicurist later ‘flirted’ with the guy who was giving me a foot massage… Translated transcript as follows – Lady: Come to our hostel today – I will give you a *BIG* surprise (accentuation hers). Guy: What big surprise? Lady: Come and you will know. Am sure you will be very satisfied. How do you plan to thank me? Guy: How do you want me to thank you? What needs do you have? (end of transcript). And that’s how it ended. They stopped short and probably left the bedroom talk for later when I wasn’t around. Doing my nails can be quite fun.

Facials: I even did a herbal soak once to expel wind from my body and almost fainted – it was so hot and too much for my blood circulation… but I wanted to do it as our estate stopped hot water for a week and I was sick of boiling water to bathe…

Brow fixes: I got my first-ever waxing done on my eyebrows at Benefit brow bar at Shin Kong Place! Wasn’t as painful as I thought – have a very clean look now and balanced brows – no more facial salon-quality brows, yaay!

Hair time: I permed my hair for the very first time, ever! First, I chopped it to shoulder length, then permed waves (nothing major), then highlighted reds, then had a blue-black base colour. In total, I sat there for 4.5 hours, had 5 washes of hair and spent close to RMB4,000 (SG800). See? (There was a sandstorm brewing as I was leaving the house and I immediately regretted my choice of wearing a skirt – luckily it cleared when I was done with my hair, or I would cry having the dirty winds ruffle up my new 'do…)
But I did not waste my time there – I spent 3 hours on the Internet (quite hooked on Weibo now – you can see updates on my sidebar on the right – though I wasn’t on a Web package before and was paying RMB10.24 per 1MB of info – gasp!!!), and even bought a bicycle for our girl on Taobao – clap clap! However, she doesn’t really know how to ride yet, so it’s tiring times for me as I pull her along… well, one day…
On the topic of hair, when I was on my way to fetch Rosabelle, a guy stopped me outside the train station, imploring me to give him some time to introduce his new hair salon’s services since they were located at the basement of the office tower. With time to waste before I picked her up, I went with him and he sat me down as the ‘stylist’ came over – a rather plump guy with a blown-up ‘do and overly-tight printed shirt (he looked in need of a make-over himself). And so he sat down, and started saying the following, which I rebutted, one by one by one by one… “Your hair is too long… have you considered chopping it to shoulder length?’ Erm, yes. My last haircut was 3 months ago, and that was at shoulder-length. “You should cut it even shorter, have short hair.” Erm, yes. I had a short ‘do a few years back and didn’t like it as it was too high-maintenance. “You should leave a fringe.” Erm, yes. I had a fringe awhile back and did not like the look as well. The last straw, for him, came when he said “Your dye job is too out-dated. Nobody dyes like that anymore.” Oh, really?! The whole idea is to NOT accentuate the top because… (this was where I tied my hair up in a ponytail)… the focus is on the underside, where there is a whole flap of red, and when I put my hair down to the sides, you can see the effect. He nodded his head and went ‘不错'. I had to stop myself from grinning too smugly as he suggested that I can come and use their services if I had the time. Erm, ya, maybe for the hair on my toes (if they ever grow out).

Shopping: But of course, right?! I got myself a pretty costly pair of Alain Mikli specs (Enough to pay for Lasik on one eye in Singapore! But as I am still nursing, I need to wait for another 6 months after I stop top go for surgery…). On the low-end side, I am doing quite a lot of grocery shopping at Carrefour just next to Rosabelle’s kindy (and having to crowd with the old grannies and grandpas who are queuing at the entrance from 8am to grab the best deals – sidetrack: Carrefour has Milo! I am so excited! No more lugging bags of Milo back everytime I go back to Singapore!).

Errands: I got a huge batch of photos developed (I now know to buy my albums from Taobao, it’s about a third of the price I get in stores!). Getting my diamond ring cleaned and luckily they fixed the diamond as it was coming loose…

Spring cleaning: Cleaning out drawers and and packing mine and Rosabelle’s wardrobes and shoes for summer

Eating around: Meeting friends, ex-colleagues and prospective employers (finally went to Village Café at The Opposite House for lunch – not as good as I thought!), getting bubble tea fixes, and I get to enjoy leisurely breakfasts (ordering in McDonald’s, or getting youtiao from the neighbourhood shop…). There were days I just had some ‘me’ time, eating out alone, like when I had a craving for Let’s Burger, but had to be detour to Panino Teca instead as 柳絮 was floating all over the former, to the point that it was all the food and people couldn’t eat! Or when I finally got my fix at Colibri, a cupcake place at Village North I’ve been wanting to try, and found it overpriced and over-rated – even the vanilla latte isn’t as good as Starbucks.

And most importantly, nailing my job(!): Other than discussing with my previous company, I went to two other companies, one of which wasted my time and said they have no position for someone at my high level, and the other company - I went three times on three different days to meet three different sets of people – luckily I landed the job! I went today for a meeting with my boss, so that I can get up to speed for meetings/events next week. Phew! Exciting times ahead! I went for the required work visa health checks this morning at some faraway place that cost me RMB100 (33km!) to get to – I was starving by the time I met my ex-colleagues for lunch since I had to fast the night before.

Since Wayne is at work, most times, when I am not rushing for time, I even take the MRT here – the last time I took was before I got pregnant – in early 2008! So I was quite excited to take the train again, but it’s still all very crowded, and even though I purchased a stored value card, I’m hesitant about having to squeeze with the early morning crowd. My new office is just right on top of the station, 5 stations away, so it’s all very convenient… if only I can squeeze…

Amazingly, since I came back, the only ‘together’ time I’ve had with Wayne was when he managed to sneak in a rest day on a Thursday as he was out of town the weekend before (he had so many events in April that he was OT-ing a lot). After fetching our girl to school, we went for a big breakfast at a coffee place Jamaica Blue, and then headed to the Zoo Market – yaaay! It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Tianle Market to do shopping but we were there for 4.5 hours, stopping in between for lunch, and for Wayne to help me unload some stuff in the car before I continued shopping (we each went our separate ways to speed up time). Hoho! Wayne only got some tees, socks and a leather cuff bracelet. Me? I bought 4 jackets, 5 tops (I saw exact tops for RMB40 that I got for RMB128 at another shop in town, sigh…), 2 skirts, 2 pants, 4 dresses, 1 ring, 1 leather doc holder, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 pairs of stockings… and for only RMB1,600 (about SGD350. Since Rosabelle has a lot of summer clothing courtesy of Marianne, I only bought her two pairs of shoes. After lunch, we went back and realized in the past few (at least 10?) times we have been there, we did not know they went beyond the 6th floor – they have 18 levels of shopping! And this is just ONE shopping centre – they have so many others in the area! Faint, faint, breathe, breathe… We had so many bags that as I was packing through my loot whilst waiting to fetch Rosabelle, some old ladies walked past, thinking I was selling things from the back of our car.

So yes, that’s about me, for you, for the past month or so since I got back to Beijing! And I wonder where all the time went to….

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