I still don't know the name of that security guard. There is a convenience store near my home, and he is the only security guard that always keeps a big smile on his face even when the store is busy.
He always says hello to everyone. When he's busy, he shows his greeting by smiling. After Covid, I can tell people's facial expressions even they wear a face covering. In recent months my housemate and I have always appeared in the store for discounted sandwiches in the evening, and I guess he must be familiar with us, one always in PJ pants, and another always wears the same waterproof jacket.
We gradually developed a kind of “tacit understanding”. One day, I was pouring Jelly beans into my mouth as I walked into the store. I bought this packet from another store, and suddenly realised that this store has the same product. Then I stopped and began to titter with embarrassment. Just as he reached his hand over, I held the packet out. I poured a few candies into his palm. He said with a laugh, “I don't always eat food from customers, but you two are special!”
The last time I saw him was in September. We asked him when the shop assistants started to put the yellow stickers on sandwiches, he said 7 pm. He also said if he can help save a few for us, but he would go to another store two days later because he rotates through the different branches. When I meet him again, I will show him this blog.
I was not that miserable during high school compared with other Chinese students. I did not always go to the refectory. Of course I was not a good student, so I had enough time to explore the shops nearby during my lunch break and the dinner break. One day I found Maggi instant mashed potato in a shop. It met all my needs: cheap, instant, tasty, can provide enough carbs for the upcoming classes, and warm, which is important in winter.
Yesterday I saw instant soup in a supermarket. It immediately reminded me of my old love. Since there wasn’t a Maggi one, I grabbed another brand that I never heard of. Turned on the tap, switched on the kettle, tore the sachet, poured the powder and hot water, mixed. A taste of nostalgia. Sadly I've got used to the familiar industrialised taste, and not able to enjoy fresh-made mash. It accompanied me once for a long time, and now it’s back to my life again.
Last month my housemate Yahui and I went to a park nearby to view the annular solar eclipse. Before set off, I made a simple eclipse viewer, and had a bottle of ink with me.
It was cloudy when we arrived at the park. Some people were taking group photos, more people were jogging, it seemed that no one had heard about the news of solar eclipse. We had to sit on a bench and wait. Soon the sun appeared under the cover of thin clouds. I took my viewer and stood with my back to the sun, looking for a suitable angle. Then I saw a spot on the screen that looked like a torch. It was trembling slightly because of my heartbeats.
We then walked towards the lawn. There we met Kim, a woman in her 50s or 60s. She leaned on her bike with the bike lying on the ground, viewing the eclipse in a very relaxed position. She said we are the only two she met viewing the eclipse at that day. She said 20 years ago, when we were not born yet, there was a solar eclipse that everyone came out, waited and viewed, but now no one even care about this. No matter what happened on the Earth, the cosmos always follows it's own way and will never be changed.
Kim asked our names and their meanings. Yahui, the light but not that dazzling, exactly echoed with the theme of that day.
I can't find a proper word in English to refer to 饼 (Bing), which can be tortilla, flatbread, naan, or pancake. Having grown up in Northern China, Bing is always my breakfast since I was in kindergarten. It's easy to cook, can be served as breakfast, dinner or a snack. I improved(localised?) the recipe so that all the ingredients can be found in a Western supermarket.
1 Tortilla wrap
1 Spring onion/green onion
Chilli Sauce (Optional)
Chopped coriander (optional)
Step 1: Chop the spring onion. Mix an egg with 2 pinches of salt and the chopped spring onion in a bowl.
Step 2: Add 1 tsp oil to the pan. Turn on the medium heat, and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Cover the tortilla over the egg mixture.
* Please pour in the egg mixture before the pan is hot. In this way, the egg mixture and the tortilla wrap can be stuck together.
Step 3: When the egg mixture becomes golden, flip the Bing and heat the other side for several seconds till it's warm.
Step 4: Spread some Chilli sauce on the Bing. Laoganma, Gochujang, Sriracha or Thai sweet chilli sauce all work well! Add some chopped coriander to garnish. Put two leaves of lettuce on the Bing, fold in two edges, and it's now ready to serve.
* Which kind of lettuce? Romaine, iceberg, butter lettuce, or any crunchy lettuce you like!