Resting on the school's couch, I looked up from my lesson planning.
All three of my Chinese colleagues were staring at me.
"Uh ... hi, ladies."
"Sorry," they explained. "You're just so white."
They quickly explained — "It's so beautiful!" they insisted. Here, my pasty-white complexion was something to be admired. The whiter the skin, the better. Not to me, of course, but what did I know, silly foreigner that I am?
I'll tell you what I know: Getting at least a little darker is one of a few things I want to do on my soon-approaching trip to America.
No. 1: Get some sun.
I'm not talking about the scorched red, soon-to-be-peeling sort of complexion I'm known for. But a hint more color would make me feel a whole lot better.
No. 2: Buy some new clothes.
Washing machines in China are notoriously rough on clothes. All it takes is a few cycles before little holes appear.
As temperatures rocketed up to ball-melting levels, I attempted to don my cute summer attire. I say attempted, because few items made it past my thighs, thundering so loudly nothing dared pass.
So needless to say (and yet I have, in detail), I need some new clothes. Soon.
No. 3: Enjoy some home cookin'.
Yes, I know I just complained my clothes don't fit — like, I literally can't zip them up — and then proceeded to say I wanted to eat more. That's why that second bit there should have said, "Buy bigger clothes."
But folks, it's really difficult to find vegetarian food over here. Asia is a meat-lovin' continent, and attempting to decode foreign menus often results in me picking chicken bits out of what I thought was an all-veggie noodle dish.
Add to the equation my mother's incredible home-cooked meals, and I'd be surprised if you didn't just hear my stomach rumble from across the Pacific.
No. 4 (and most importantly): Share this adventure with my partner.
That's right. Manfriend is making the trip with me this year.
He's never been to America. And while we won't be in a single place he'd recognize from the movies, it's time he experienced the places I hold most dear. Especially my beautiful Colorado.
Truth be told, my anxieties have peaked recently. The state of the U.S. has me panicked. I'm sleeping less and less, worried some asshat will shoot his mouth and I'll be forced to pop him one.
But when I think of my handsome man atop a mountain (probably wheezing from altitude), I smile. It's going to be a perfect time, surrounded by friends and family and blessedly blue, smog-free skies.
See you soon, folks.