A rollicking good time with my grandparents and great-aunt (my grandmother’s older sister). From left, g-pa, g-aunt, me, g-ma.

I turned 22 on the 20th, and supposedly began a new chapter in my so-called adulthood. Angela Chase probably never had to worry about turning 22. In the words of a dear friend, “it’s all downhill from here.” Nevertheless, the beginning of my downfall was spent splendidly in the company of the very sweet and very geriatric. My grandfather cooked fish and my grandmother fussed over me. My great-aunt and her family gave me a gift of two very large wooden masks of Peking Opera characters. Yes, they are conversation pieces. No, I have no earthly idea how to pack them. My great-uncle (grandmother’s younger brother) came a bit later in the day and also sat for a bit before leaving to beat rush hour traffic. Later in the evening, I went out to dinner with two friends, Jim and Matt, who have known each other since preschool in Rhode Island. Matt is working for Lenovo and Jim is visiting for the summer before starting a job in New York in the fall. They live in a beautiful apartment in what is probably the best location in all of Beijing. I’ll refrain from gushing about it further, but let’s put it this way: I’d stay in China if I could live where they live. Oh yeah, they’re pretty awesome people too, but the apartment… Just kidding. Humans are better than real estate 99.8% of the time. Anyways, they took me out for a nice dinner at a great little place near their apartment, where I had dumplings filled with shrimp and Japanese tofu (日本豆腐). For those of you who don’t know, Japanese tofu is not really tofu at all, but a really light egg-soufflé-like product with a similar texture to real tofu. It is usually cooked into casseroles, and this was the first time I had it as dumpling filling. Needless to say, they, along with everything else we ate there, were delicious. I capped off the night with a beer and the first season finale of Mad Men at their (gorgeous) apartment and I went back home. Even without any of my close friends here, I had new friends and family with me to celebrate, and I’m very grateful for all of them.

About the flowers; two dozen roses to be precise — they were sent by my lovely boyfriend. Intriguingly, the flower company said they were sent anonymously when I asked them, but apparently it was because he didn’t fill out the “sender” field when ordering them. It was nice to have a little bit of known mystery in my life for a few hours, though. The roses are gorgeous and still standing guard in the living room.

Right now, work at the gallery is really picking up; we have a big new show opening on 31 July. It’s a multi-artist exhibition built around the changing physical and imaginary landscape of the Yangtze River Valley region from its mouth at Shanghai to source in Chongqing. Once the show opens, I’ll post a detailed review, but I can tell you right now that it’s been incredibly fun planning it in all aspects, from picking images for the catalogue to planning the opening gala, where we’ll be playing period and/or theme-appropriate music and serving Chinese-southern-style finger food.

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