Saturday, August 31, 2002

I went to the gym last night, the local YMCA which I have been a member of since I was a wee one, and where I learned to swim. The Y recently underwent an expantion and renovation, and now boasts amenities like a climbing wall and a additional pool dedicated to lap swimming. The locker rooms haven't changed, but I was struck by how high the ceilings are--especialy compared to my gym back in Taipei, which is squeezed into four floors of a building complex. The towels are bigger and fluffier at my Taipei gym, though. And I prefer the climbing gym in Taipei. But for a place that has it all--I'm happy.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Today, I arrived in the U.S. for a 10-day vacation. During my stopover at SFO, I managed a quick trip to Sephora, got myself a Jamba Juice Peach Pleasure smoothie with an Immunity Boost, and a Noah's Super Onion bagel with a lox schmear (reduced fat, of course--it's California!). Yum.

I no longer feel like a behemoth among wispy Taiwanese girls. I feel regular-sized, perhaps even on the smaller end of regular! At immigration and customs, I was happy to see people of all shapes, sizes, and colors standing in line with me at the "Citizens and Permanent Residents" section. I really do miss being surrounded by a variety of people.

Monday, August 26, 2002

The very nice tequilla I drank at Ambassador Wong's was Cazadores Reposado, 100% agave tequilla, for those that want to make a note of it. Also highly recommended by Joaquin are Don Julio Reposado and Herradura Reposado.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

It's just been one of those 24-hour periods: a lot of things that need to get done at work, two friends leaving Taiwan for the States this week, one friend whose birthday is tomorrow, various responsibilities that need to get taken care of, and balancing all the things I ought to do and want to do before I myself leave on vacation to the States next week. Jen reminded me that I do tend to over-extend myself; so...while I prioritize and simplify, this site might not get updated as often as I'd like. I do have many stories I'd like to share, so just sit tight and be patient!

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The company policy of prohibiting the use of a company computer for activities other than company business is now official. Yesterday we had all had to participate in a meeting where the new policies were explained. Since it was conducted in Chinese, I understood only about ten to twenty percent of it (my colleagues filled out the blank spots for me later). Thus, I spent an hour and a half zoning out. *sigh* My Chinese has improved greatly since moving here--I have the daily life Chinese down--but I am yet again reminded of how far I have to go.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

My short commute to work is always more pleasant when the older regulars are on the bus. An elderly man or woman giving a near soliloquy (occasionally punctuated by grunts from the bus driver) in Taiwanese adds a touch of earthiness to the trip.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Noticed on the streets of Taipei:
Your skirt is too short if we can see your buns while you're walking.

The corollary to that is:
Your pants are too low-cut if we can see half of your butt crack.

Some good taste would be verrry appreciated, girls!

Monday, August 12, 2002

The Nicaraguan ambassador to Taiwan, Luis Wong, and his wife threw a farewell party for Eugenio Saturday night at the clubhouse on the fourth floor of their apartment complex in Tienmu. We had lovely Mongolian bbq (the caterer set it up buffet style, and had a grill out on the patio) and very fine Mexican tequila. Then we started dancing...Mrs. Wong is quite the social director! She made sure all of us were not simply dancing, but all over the dance floor, and after awhile, I wondered why I had even bothered to go the gym earlier that day!

I danced the merengue for the first time, and I can now concur with Linda that Eugenio is a very good lead. Dancing is easier when I'm surrounded by good friends--I'm comfortable in their affection for me and don't have to worry about being embarassed by missed steps. The clubhouse closed down at 10 p.m., and the party moved upstairs to the Ambassador's residence. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see their home, so even though I wanted to take leave go to Vicky's birthday and going away party, I went up to take a look--beautiful home! Very tasteful and elegant, yet comfortable. Eventually, I was able to excuse myself from their warm Latin affection to rush (quite late) to see the glowing birthday girl at Chillhouse.

Jean also stopped by Chillhouse. She returned from touring China and was in Taiwan for less than 24 hours, on her way to joining Linda at Columbia Law, and I was so pleased to be able to see her, however briefly. Vicky is going to be in Taipei for a few more weeks, so we'll be able to spend some more time together before she heads off for business and graduate school at BU.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Last night I belayed by myself for the first time. Two new climbers, my colleague Johnny and his friend, joined the relatively veteran climbers of James (who is more experienced than me) and myself at the gym. My colleague Carol has teased that I am slowly converting the whole office into climbers: first Richard from IT and Ite from Investor Relations, and now Johnny, our designer in my department.

I learned how to thread the rope through my ATC, and after James served as a back-up belay while I belayed Johnny and his friend, he then let me belay him! Thankfully, I passed the Benson test: James dropped off the wall on purpose when I was not expecting and I managed to keep him from crashing into the floor. I'm very excited, I'm beginning to get the movements down. Unfortunately, my climbing was less than stellar. I just couldn't see the paths last night. Oh well.

Now I must be off to the gym. Tonight and tomorrow night are the going-away festivities for Eugenio. Also going on tomorrow night is Vicky's birthday and going-away party. So many dear friends are leaving at once...

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Last night, for the first time in a long time, I slept with only a fan on. Perhaps the typhoons in the region have brought cooler air along with the intermittent showers. I have yet to buy an umbrella in frustration at a convenience store (my preferred method of purchasing umbrellas) after my first two were broken and the last taken. I've managed to run between the raindrops so far...although my colleagues have warned me that one should always protect themselves from the acid rain in Taiwan, no matter how light the rain may be.

Actually, I think I have adjusted well to the climate; I have even worn jeans on casual Fridays! Nevertheless, I have developed a penchant for short skirts and short-sleeved cotton shirts. How ironic that I hate being hot, sticky, and sweaty, and here I am living in Taiwan.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

This morning I picked up breakfast from one of the vendors that set up stands on the street. Some situate themselves on street corners, others are tucked in under the covered walkway in front of a closed storefront. The one that I like offers fresh kiwi and mango juices, soy milk, and various sandwiches. For some reason, Taiwanese people seem to prefer heavy, greasy sandwiches filled with meat and eggs in the morning. I just like to have my mango juice to go with my bread or oatmeal.

Although now that I think about it, quite a few Americans like their Egg McMuffins and Croissan'wiches. And I admit, I do appreciate pancakes, waffles, omlets, eggs over easy, homefries, maple sausage, and crisp bacon...but those are for lazy Sunday mornings.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Saturday night I had ma la huoguo, spicy hot pot, for the first time. I actually didn't find it that spicy, but then, I like spicy food. A two chambered pot is placed upon a heat sources set in the table. On one side is a spicy broth, on the other side is a plain broth. You select the foods you want to eat (tofu, sliced beef and pork, various animal guts, fish balls, diced vegetables, etc.) out of a refrigerated case and boil it in your broth of choice. Afterwards, you can dip your food in a selection of dipping sauces. Quite yummy. The last half hour I was there, I just sat in amazement. I was stuffed, but these Taiwanese people sure know how to eat. And the girls are so thin!

Saturday, August 03, 2002

While walking through Tonghua Night Market Wednesday night, a little boy about three years old decide to drop his ice cream cup, splashing chocolate ice cream all over me (and my light tan-colored shorts). He was not the least bit remorseful, and when his mother came out and tried to get him to apologize, he merely just looked at me. "Excuse me," his mother muttered to me, and went back to shopping.

I was so mad. I really wanted to pick the kid up and make him apologize. Even more distressing was his mother's reaction. No apology to me, no attempt to get tissue to help wipe the mess up from my arm. Alex, my boss, said I should have said, "...and I thought children in U.S. were misbehaved." Just because people are capable of having kids doesn't mean they should be parents. Woman, I feel sorry for you, because as a mother, you are just bringing on years of pain and bad behavior.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Word up: according to international trend-setter TC Lin, quitting your comfortable job and working part time for less money is the latest thing. Oh, and everyone is moving into downtown slums these days, too.

I actually have lots of material to write about, but my two colleagues are waiting for me to finish work so we can all go climbing together. I've been talking about climbing so much that they are interested in checking it out. Benson says he think I can try belaying for the first time tonight...I'll have my colleagues' lives in my hands!