Thursday marks my first full day on my own in China. By that, I mean my parents and other relatives have left or live back in their own houses, and I am here by myself at the apartment at Wukesong, my grandparents’ old place on the West Fourth Ring Road in Beijing. Before Thursday, I would have lived either at my grandparents’ new apartment in the suburbs, or lived in this apartment with my mom and/or uncle. But she left for the states on Monday, and he flies back to his place in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, tomorrow afternoon. Tonight, I cooked dinner for myself for the first time. Sauteed egg with tomato (西红柿炒鸡蛋), cucumber salad with garlic and Chinese vinegar, and six small baozi from the kiosk downstairs. I was planning on making porridge (稀饭) as well, but a mishap with the pressure cooker meant that was no longer possible. I honestly don’t know what it’s going to be like on my own here. It is going to be a completely new experience. Even the other times I’ve lived by myself, it’s either been with roommates, or for limited amounts of time. Cooking, sleeping, and coming back to an empty apartment most nights is something that I will have to get used to, definitely.

Hope that everyone else, at least, can see the new photos up on Flickr. China blocks most of the images, so I can’t caption them using the Flickr interface, but I will be better about labeling and tagging them in Flickr Uploadr before posting. There are some new photos of the apartment up, and the slightly older photos of the Fragrant Hills Hotel, my mom and grandparents, etc. all up. I know the title, “Italy in Small Bites” is way out of date, but work with me here. Plus I kind of like it. I actually think about my time in Florence a lot. It’s one of the few places I think I really managed to appreciate while I was there, and not simply after I had come back. I haven’t been sleeping well recently; a combination of the heat and the relentless mosquitos, but lying awake at night, I let my thoughts ramble towards my host mother and brother in Florence, and whether they remember me (or my roommate that fall) at all.

Well, that’s all for now. My bedtime is pretty early on the days I have work. And if you want, shoot me an email and I can give you my mailing address. I just bought Chinese letter writing paper, aka recycled newsprints pads, and kraft-paper envelopes.

Stay cool, my friends.