At some point I’ll get over hipstamatic, but its not happening anytime soon. I still haven’t figured out my favorite lens/film/flash combinations yet. Until I do, expect lots of hipsta’.
Generally speaking, Chengdu’s perpetual winter cloud cover plus the Armageddon-esque pollution smog kind of sucks. It’s gloomy rather than cozy. Today though we caught a break. It was rainy and cold for the first time this fall. Rain means clean air. Cold means no more mosquitos. Rainy plus cold equals cozy in my book.
Nevertheless, Ashley of Ma La with a Fork fame, Will and I bravely ventured out to my tailor’s shop across town to see about a red qipao.
I love visiting my tailor’s shop even though I’m mostly there to introduce new people to her shop rather than to buy for myself. She’s not located in the main expat area of town so there aren’t as many foreigners who know her shop. I like visiting because her neighborhood has some great food, her dresses are so gorgeous to look at, she’s a fantastic seamstress, and, most importantly, that woman just loves to butter me up.
According to her, my Chinese is “very good,” I’m “so thin.” my insanely pale Chengdu skin is “beautiful,” my baby is “beautiful.”
People, with the exception of the bit about my baby, none of those things are true.
My Chinese is earnest but laughably poor, I’ve still got a good 5 pounds of baby weight left, and ghost-like would probably be a better description of my skin tone right now. But, it never hurts to hear otherwise. 🙂 Besides, she does give me the “old friend” discount so even if she lies to my face about some things, I know she likes me enough to charge me somewhat fairly.
Once she bought me lunch which was, while embarrassing, also very tasty. Her mother worries about my baby being too cold even when swaddled tightly across my chest in 7 layers of fabric. They are nice people.
We spent a few hours this morning in her damp, cold shop. We giddily talked qipaos, fabric colors, babies, and helped to translate for an Indian woman also getting some alterations done. As the Indian woman and I talked dupattas and kurtas, and I tried to explain to the tailor why she wanted everything less fitted, I mentioned that we would be leaving Chengdu for India in a few months. Strange when and how you meet people.
There is no larger point to this story except that, sometimes on a rainy cold day there is nothing more perfectly satisfying about living abroad than driving across town with a good friend, speaking Chinglish with an “old friend” and meeting a new friend all in a tiny little storefront, in a tiny little neighborhood, in a city of 14 million people. It makes a place feel homey and yet still full of newness all at the same time.
On another somewhat related note, after a cold rainy morning out on the town, there is also perhaps nothing more satisfying than coming home, putting a loaf of bread in the oven, putting on a pair of sweatpants, bundling the baby in a cozy blanket and snuggling up to read a book together and take a little nap. Insert happy sigh here.