First, I want to thank all of you for following my blog. I smile knowing you all read it and that it amuses you, drives you to extreme hunger (Ran) and brightens your life (am I starting to sound like an Asian stationery writer?!~~). I like sharing with you all and will continue to...
TODAY it has been ONE MONTH since I've arrived and I couldn't be more glad I made this decision. Of course, there are moments of unease, like any period in one's life, but all have been bearable.
Example, I am sitting here typing with at least 10 mosquito bites covering my legs and arm (my left arm has been spared). Three of these 10 bites are infected, swollen and are massive red welts - totally unattractive and really painful. I have applied three different medicines/itch relievers, have bandaged them and am proud to report that I have not once scratched any of these bites in the past two days since they have appeared, which to me is a Big A deal. A lesson I've taken from this almost constant state of body-numbing itchiness is to re-apply insect repellent in the p.m. and to wear LONG pants while cycling through lush Taiwan neighborhoods. So yes, temporarily miserable, but bearing it and feeling GOOD overall.
Here are some other learnings and observations:
- T9 is sometimes very wrong. as a temporary traveler through asia, i'm using a basic feature phone and paying as I go. for text messages, i learned to use T9 for the first time. My classmate taught me a week ago and boy is it a time saver! though sometimes wrong. Like, in what situation is "Wmtjd" ever more widely used than the word "Would"?
- Young, hip Taiwanese folks like to wear eye glasses with no glass, just straight up frame (photo attached, took me a few Google searches, but finally "cool taipei glasses" brought me to it)
- A few amusing Chinese sayings that are all for some reason tied to food:
- "Eat vinegar" means to be jealous
- "Eat Tofu" means to verbally or physically sexual harrass (typically man -> woman)
- "Fried Rice" means to have sex; so when you say you love "fried rice" you are saying you love to make love, which is fine if that's what you mean to say, but if you're talking food, you have to say instead that you love to EAT fried rice.
- The t-shirts people wear here make me chuckle. Lately, I've seen these: "Kiss the Earth," "Respectable Citizen," "Indestructable Alien Plants." What? If this is a lucrative business, inventing absurd English phrases for Taiwanese people to wear, please tell me more. I could do it.
- Speaking of things I could do...I can find Taiwanese men attractive. Maybe this is just a case of "desperate times call for..." but there have been at least three or so guys in the past month, I've thought "Not bad..." though there are far more attractive women than there are attractive men, which explains the low birth rate, anxious and single Taiwanese men, and maybe even the relatively large number of butch-looking women I have spotted across town, walking arm in arm with their much girlier, probably girlfriends.
- Now for serious, spending time with my grandparents has made me think a good amount about death, old age and the circle of life, the wheel of fortune. yes, the thinking part of it sucks, but it's been worth it just to see my grandma smile up at me and say she's happy I'm sitting next to her. I hold her hand. I feed her cake. I ask her to sing me Taiwanese or Japanese songs, and she does not hesitate, right away begins to sing. she continues to critique my outfits everyday, pointing out when a shirt is too low cut. I have a spare t-shirt I keep around my aunt's house, where my grandma lives, to put on when she disapproves.
- This doesn't even scratch the surface. I learn something new everyday, multiple times a day, and really feel a great sense of pride and appreciation for chinese and taiwanese culture and history. I am particularly impressed with the written Chinese language. It's beautiful, complex and just GD impressive. All the stories behind each character and all those brush strokes! "The oldest modern language" as they call it. Now that classes are over, I plan to continue my studies by using the book from my class (five lessons left) and making flashcards and studying on the go. Maybe I'll even write a post in Chinese next time for yall. ;)
OK, this is getting long and disorderly. I'll save more for next time...a wrap-up post for all my fellow chinese school classmates - including the video of our performance of "I Want it That Way" (in Chinese, and a gift to our teacher). ;)
Signing off with a nice, relevant quote, courtesy of Melinda Jenkins.
"Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." - Goethe