Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Something Like a Latte

When I'm here in my apartment, I have a hard time watching new movies. That is, movies that I haven't seen before. I think it's because I'm always multi-tasking. Hell, I'm writing this as a movie is on TV. However, it's one I've seen dozens of times: The Big Sleep.

"You're not very tall, are you?"
"Well, uh, I try to be."

It's also a bit of a comfort, going back to familiar ground, be it Goodfellas, Hard Boiled, Groundhog Day, The Maltese Falcon, etc. At least one of those is for the podcast when it resumes. Frankly, it hasn't stopped. After I got home from work on Friday I started editing podcasts and haven't stopped for long other than to eat and to go to the movies.

Today I checked out Murder on the Orient Express. Like I mentioned yesterday, I was thrilled to find a 2D version of the film showing at my local theater. Fortunately, it'd been years since I saw the 1974 version so I'd forgotten how it played out. That version had Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot though frankly I associate that role more with Peter Ustinov, especially his turn in Evil Under the Sun. I think that must have been in heavy rotation on cable when I was young.

Some of Kenneth Branagh's Murder felt a little over-directed, especially the computer-generated helicopter shots of the train cutting through the countryside. Otherwise, I found it enjoyable. And, of course, it was nice to lose myself in the English though I will admit that I keep looking at the Chinese characters to see if I can relate them to what's being said. Pattern matching. At the moment I know three Chinese characters -- person, woman, and big. (Thank you Chineasy). I notice some patterns on occasion and a few other characters stand out but the rest of it eludes me.

Tomorrow I'm back at it. Pushing hard until I go.

Every week I send my boss, Jason, an email (usually overly verbose) of how things are going at the Shanghai office, what I've been working on, my accomplishments and challenges. I made as formal of a request as I could to say that I want to come back and that we should work on some kind of rotation -- six months on/six months out or three/three/three/three. Or, nine months here and three months back. Or 50 weeks here and 2 weeks back. Can you tell that I like it here?

If I came back, I don't imagine work would put me up at this place but that's fine. I'd actually be okay with something a little less posh -- not that I'm living high on the hog but I imagine I could live a little cheaper in a less Western area.

Regardless if I come back or not, I'm going to keep up with the Mandarin. I am trying to buckle down a bit more and listen to my Pimsleur lessons every morning and every night. What I'm studying right now -- words for children, sons, and daughters -- isn't entirely relevant to me right now but the adjectives and placements of the words around them are. Words for big/older, small/younger, and placement. Those will come in handy. I already use "da" when I'm asking for a large coffee.

Those darn baristas, however, are getting too good. They see me coming and know my order before I place it. This is going to force my hand. I'll have to learn how to order other things. I dunno. Like a latte or something.

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