Saturday, August 8 – How Sweet It Is

By Jorah Kai CHONGQING, CHINA

Day 201 of the pandemic that changed the world. I turn 41 tomorrow. This is a little one between the epic milestone of “turning 40” and the phenomenally profound Adamsian “42nd birthday.” I managed 40 well — after years of worrying how to segway out of the cartoonishly absurd Doctor Danish, happy Chaplin mustache, shoulder-length wild mane of dreadlocks and a wall of decorative trilby hats into a real person one day, and I managed to spend “40” in Florenze, on a 40-day walkabout through old-world Europe before everything changed. I don’t know how I knew, but I felt it in my bones, and I was just in time. For “42,” I suspect I will spend it either on top of the world in Tibet, or perhaps, if I’m lucky, squeeze that in on the way to see my family and friends again in Canada. For this one, I’m just hanging out at home.

Luckily, at home in Chongqing means we wear masks in public, but don’t really worry – there hasn’t been a single case in the city in four months, and everything is open. We’ve skipped a few big club parties, music festivals, and pool parties because mentally, I’m not really there yet, but they’ve come and gone and so far, we’re good. Instead I swim every morning at the gym, work out with some cardio and weights and then have a healthy lunch, go back home to the office, crank on the AC as it’s 40+ outdoors (and indoors otherwise), and work on some writing. Book II of my 2020 nonfiction diary, The Lighthouse, is getting pretty big, but I imagine we’ve got some surprises left in store. My new fantasy book about a young boy and an incredible journey is really fun to write, and I do want to get it out to people to enjoy before winter comes, so I’ll keep working hard at it.

Today, I woke up feeling beat from the gym. My leg day has me hobbling around like a baby deer, and the rest of me is also sore and recovering — so I took the morning off, made some strong coffee, and played a game of NHL hockey 2020 on PS4 with my pops. I won one, he won one, and then I let him go, and we headed to a family house luncheon. Montreal beat the odds and eliminated Crosby’s Penguins on his 33rd birthday. I hope Canada will beat the odds, too. Baby Ethan was thrilled to see me, we had a nice light lunch and then a nap, and then I took him to the mall to meet his hero, Ultraman. He was riveted. After he went off to baby school, and Shaolin and I bought Eden a new Huawei phone for her graduation present. She’ll be going to college in the fall. I’m really grateful that my family in Canada and China is healthy and well, and I can enjoy my days without worrying about them too much.

Speaking of phones, I guess we’ll wait to upgrade our iPhones. Trump’s ‘America First’ policy has done it again: his executive order to ban Tiktok and Wechat from Apple phones will essentially make them useless in China, gouging the American company and hugely boosting Chinese android Huawei, the company he is trying to destroy.
Did you get that? He’s hurting American companies and helping Chinese ones. The guy is just too much.
We’re now at 19.5 million cases globally of COVID; by the end of the weekend will be close to 20. Some say a vaccine might come soon, others that perhaps COVID-19 will never go away, and we will just learn to live with it. Who can say? We must keep our chin up and joy and hope in our hearts. Every day is a gift.
I managed to lifehack a pair of “blue light” transparent lenses into my Bose Frames smart glasses, so now I can rock them when I’m teaching or working indoors, and need a “mild dose of meditation music or Fela Kuti” to get through a difficult day. I think that’s fantastic.
After we bought the phone, we went to Light Burger, and I had a salad and a blue cheese Frenchie, Xiaolin, the classic American cheeseburger. It’s really the only place in Chongqing that has veggie burgers that are any good and really healthy “made in house” with fresh ingredients kind of burger. We took a walk, and I’m really glad my foot is getting better.

On the way home, it started to pour torrents of rain, so we hopped in one of those little motorcycle taxis, aka a tuk-tuk, or dien-san. That saved our ass. We relaxed a bit and then got to work on my birthday cake. Earlier, I’d ordered a KG of Anchor cream cheese and bought a big bag of carrots and other ingredients, and yes, I’m making my grandmother’s famous carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. About halfway through, as I poured eggs and flour into the mix and Xiaolin whipped it with the hand mixer, and it started to spray all over her PJs and the table, other ingredients, the wall, the chairs, I think she almost cried in momentary frustration. She likes things clean and making sense. I, on the other hand, howled in laughter. It was just the funniest moment, and so 2020. “Is it going to be ok?” She asked. “Yeah, it’s going to be great,” I said. And an hour later, I was frosting that puppy and I’m sure, really, you know, one way or another, it will be.

Tomorrow I’m going to go for a swim again, with fresh water and relax all day, and then make some tacos and fajitas for Shaolin, Jinn and Cici, watch a movie and be happy for the gift that is the present.