Although a little delayed, I finally got to try 汤圆 or 元宵 (yuanxiao or tangyuan) which is eaten to celebrate 元宵节 or Lantern Festival. They are delicious, glutinous rice balls filled with black sesame paste, and sometimes other fillings.

As I missed out on buying fresh yuanxiao on Lantern Festival, one of my colleagues took me to the supermarket to buy a pack. I thought they were a little expensive at first – 28元 for a packet of like 20 or 25 – however, after trying them, I have a feeling they will last me quite a while!

I love black sesame and go just a little bit crazy for it until – after having gorged myself on it – I realise just how incredibly rich it is. So rich that I think I will have to leave the rest in my freezer for another time. That night, I had decided to cook eight and ended up forcing the last few down. I think four would have been more than sufficient.

My week at work passed quite quickly compared to the week before which seemed to drag – probably mostly due to a dreadful sore throat which made it hard to speak in class. This week, I felt much better. My classes ran more smoothly, despite the bizarre lesson plans I had to work with.

Most evenings after work, I ended up eating something simple at home. I have been making congee quite a lot, as it is cheap, tasty, filling and fairly healthy. I’m trying my best to save money this month. My next payday falls on a Sunday and I am still not quite sure whether my company will pay me in advance or on the Monday. If they end up processing the payment on the Monday, I will be unable to pay my rent on time.

If I could go back in time, I would have saved up much more money prior to my departure for China. Set up costs have been much more than I had expected and unfortunately this has somewhat tainted my first few months in China. For my apartment, I had to pay one month rent plus three months deposit.

I really don’t know how I survived in January. I had hoped that this month would have been a little more financially sound compared to January, but the housing allowance I received in February was not as much as what was written in my contract. Perhaps this is because it was my first month and next month will be the correct amount. Yes. I hope that is how it will be. Then, I will be able to relax and breathe a little easier!

Despite my attempts to save, it is hard. I had breakfast today with a new friend I had made a few weeks back, and ended up spending a rather hefty sum on a very nice but small serving of muesli and yoghurt.

breakfast

I also ordered a coffee which was one of the more unusual coffees I have ever consumed. The coffee itself was nice and, to my surprise, quite strong.  Sitting on top of the coffee was a thick layer of creamy milk foam, the same as the milk foam that comes with a milk tea from Gong Cha, except that this milk foam was prepared with a generous sprinkle of sea salt.

If I had the chance, I would be able to eat the milk foam from Gong Cha by the bucket-load, but this milk foam was too salty. I stirred it in to my coffee and ended up with a most peculiar cup of salty coffee. I somehow don’t think I will be ordering it again in the future.

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