I feel exhausted after getting to sleep after 2am 3 nights in a row. I’m really getting old. All of us.

Don’t get me wrong, we had unbelievable fun over the weekend. The original plan was that we go see museums and have dinner in Mahattan on Saturday, go to Tanglewood on Sunday, relax and make dumpling on Monday. Things didn’t go perfectly as planned, but all is well in the end.

We went shopping as planned on Friday night, but due to forecast for Ernesto we doubted if we’d go to Tanglewood, so we didn’t buy as much food as planned. And Jay was really stressed out that the Chinese store didn’t have picnic shoulder. The weather caused late after-midnight arrival of the D.C. and Philadephia couples, so they all stayed at ours.

Ernesto did make Saturday miserable, so the girls went shopping while the boys stayed home. We went swimming, watched a stupid Aeon Flux DVD, and made a lavish dinner. After dinner we all played poker, which is always a total waste of time yet always fun, even though I was the first out.

Sunday morning the weather was perfect post storm autumn: sunshine, blue sky, chilly breeze. We decided to go and Jay almost panicked for not enough food. We went to Costco to buy salmon and bread and other edible, while they went to Walmart to buy lawn chairs. The drive to Tanglewood was fun, and we’re delighted to find only slightly overcast sky and be 3rd in line at the gate.

The concert wasn’t too good, but I didn’t expect much from Dave Brubek anyway, even before I learned he’s already 86. The focus wasn’t on the concert–it’s the food, stupid! Nothing beats having great food and drink with your best friends on the great lawn of Tanglewood.

But next time we should go for the Shed: the concert sounded too much like a recording, with dominating amplified sound (can’t expect 86-year-old to play the piano loud enough), excessive reverb due to the boxy Ozawa hall with the rectangle opening, and very damp air. The saxophonist broke quite a few high notes, though he plays the flute much better. The only pleasant surprise is the drummer. He didn’t play any solo throughout most of the concert, leaving me wondering if he’s capable or too tired due to old age as well since he has bright white hair and beard as all other members of the quartet. Then out of the blue he started a roaring solo that lasted at least 5 minutes, leaving me wondering if his white hair is dyed.

On Monday everyone seemed spent except Jay and HH, who went to play 18-hole golf. We watched the recorded last match of Agassi, and what a moving moment it was when he played the last points and made the last on court speech, crying. We then went to see Jinhua’s new born, and joined Lei/Tina couple after their crazy grocery shopping for an afternoon “snack” at a Shanghai restaurant. Went grocery shopping ourselves, and Jay/HH joined us at the parking lot. The NJ4 went home and made dumplings, as planned.

The best part of the weekend is getting to know Lei. He’s very typical Shanghainese, all in its good ways: smart, shrewd, meticulous, and a connoisseur for everything about fine living–food, drink, clothes, music, movie, gossip, … BTW I just realized that precisely half of us are from Beijing and the other half from Shanghai, and that’s NOT a coincidence.

I hope I didn’t talk too much about music to make him somehow feel that I was “showing off”, when in fact I was just so happy to find someone with deep and wide knowledge and experiences in music to talk to, who also learned to play the piano as a kid. It’d be so much fun to go to some concerts in NYC or Philadelphia with him.


Spending a long weekend that has mostly good weather, great food and drink, great concert environment with your best friends–life doens’t get any happier than this, does it? With Cindy pregnant and other couples following suite possibly soon, our lives will be changed dramatically and fundamentally, but we could always stick together as long as we want to, or as a matter of fact as long as we don’t do anything–just keep on living our blissful ignorant middle class lives. HH will have his own client base, Jay will be a great manager, I don’t have any future in my current job but I can probably get a better one if I really want to. Two couples are already applying for US citizenship. We still have the green card as an excuse to resort to, but what else after that?

It’d be heaven on earth to watch our kids grow up together, and we ourselves go together to a lavish golf resort once in a while, if happiness is all that matters in life. It’s all that our selfish genes ask for anyway.

But why is it that I still feel uneasy or even guilty after this heavenly pleasure? There’s a piece in 冰点故事 saying that “it’s a crime living in Beijing”, and if that’s true, shouldn’t we all just shoot ourselves?


UPDATE: I typed this when IMing with HH: “seeing Jinhua’s newborn was nice, but it’s quite something (i don’t know how to describe it) listening to 4 girls talking about pregnancy and child bearing. at some point it’s almost as if they’re talking in encrypted Chinese, where i understand every word but can’t make sense of anything they’re saying”.

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