99 Adventures in Chengdu on the Calendar (sung to the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall)

As I was riding home in the cab today, after I got over my slight fuming at the jerk who tried to steal the cab I had hailed (That’s a whole different story involving some angry Tarzan-like Chinese and some much more elaborate, but not eloquent, English, resulting in me sitting in the cab, while jerk-dude and his girlfriend were left in my pollution-filled dust.), I realized that we are well under four months left in Chengdu, which then got me thinking about that kindergarten stand-by where they celebrate the 100th day of the school year, which led me to pondering exactly how many days we did have left in Chengdu. (I know, it was a bit of mental rattling around, especially considering I never even went to kindergarten, but that’s what happens to many folks on a Friday afternoon of a very busy week and to those of us with blonde hair a little more often than that.)

With my curiosity now peaked to the point of cat-killing, I hurriedly changed out of my dress (I opted for a cute red and blue dress covered in hearts, thinking it would be appropriate for the 14th, which it was, but I quickly realized what it was not appropriate for was February! Let’s just say that dress won’t be making an appearance again until summer rolls around!) and pulled up a 2014 calendar. Fourteen days left in February, thirty one in March, thirty in April and then twenty-four in May. 14+31+30+24=99. I missed the epic 100 day countdown by less than twenty-four hours!

Now knowing that I have broken into the double digits of Chengdu days, I already feel a little homesick for this quirky southwest China city. I have only ninety-nine days to perfect my nearly Olympic-level loogie pirouette, where my foot slips in an unknown highly-viscous substance, I flail slightly and grimace greatly, but stay upright and continue along my way, pushing down my gag reflex and trying to convince myself that it was just water, or possibly dog urine, which is a much better alternative than the probable reality. I have only ninety-nine days left to risk my life, skittering across roads without crosswalks or understandable traffic patterns, but with uncovered manholes and scooters headed in all directions. And, I have only ninety-nine days left to join vacation photos in TianFu Square, People’s Park and JinLi Lu, becoming the random pasty girl in the family photo that I still am not sure how they explain to their friends back home. (Do they claim I am a new friend or do they admit that they just took a picture with a totally random stranger because she was tall, with blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin? Oh, to be a fly on the wall…)

Ninety-nine days!

It is going to fly by. Soon, we’ll have to cull the winter weather herd, sending boot and heavy coats to storage, granting a pardon only to a few hoodies and layers for future travels. Then, it will be series of lasts: last hotpot dinner, last trip to the ridiculous IKEA, last CLO outing and last days at work.

I can’t believe we’re down to ninety-nine days, but I am excited to have ninety-nine more days to explore the city and enjoy all the strange and quirky bits that make Chengdu such a great place to live. Rather than countdown (I thought about making a paper chain like we did in elementary school for the weeks leading up to Christmas- red, green, red, green, red, green), since it seems so negative, as if I am dying to get out of here, I am going to count up. I’ve got ninety-nine days of adventure ahead of me, kicking off tomorrow afternoon with #1- ice skating at the world’s largest building- the Global Center.

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