Today I had a great day at 七九八 (798) or the 大山子 (Dashanzi) area, which is Beijing's major art space. Saw a few decent shows, particularly interesting photography, met and had tea with one of Masa's gallery owner friends, witnessed the throngs of imported 外国人 (foreigners) entering via tremendous buses, heard incredibly terrible Chinese from a group of Italians that helped improve my self-esteem, bought little gifties, etc. etc...
Small victory story: I went with Saul to eat dumplings in a tiny place near the Beijing language school amidst flower-printed aluminum mugs and extension cords and I struck up a conversation with an older Korean lady. She told me her husband works in Beijing University in some computer field, she's lived here for the same amount of time that I have, she had a giant birthday and an equally giant cake the week before with lots of her friends, (of which come from all over), and she talked a bit about Korea and her family. The small victory part is that she didn't speak English at all, so we used our Chinese, which is poor on both ends, but we managed to actually communicate and somehow I knew nearly everything she told me and somehow she knew nearly everything I told her.
Sometimes it feels just so impossible that I'm here.