Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I found the streetscape of Tainan to be more personal and human than Taipei's streetscape. At first, I wondered if perhaps the streets were wider than the ones back in Taipei. I was assured by many that this was not the case. I think perhaps the shorter buildings scale everything down a bit. And Chikan Tower has lovely landscaping.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Lesson learned: never, ever edit your Blogger template using Mozilla. I love using Mozilla, but it's just not going to work. The links always get messed up. *sigh* All fixed now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

As I stood in the open-air market outside Tainan's Fort Zeelandia Sunday afternoon, I watched the parade of locals going by. There was the classic older Taiwanese man attired in a white undershirt, dress pants, and flip flops striding by; a Taiwanese woman (of a certain age), hair permed and teased out, her figure snugly encased in a brightly-colored dress and heels, her face carefully painted on. There was also the young Taiwanese couple, the male in jeans and a fitted t-shirt, his girlfriend in the tight, faded jeans that is all the rage now here, and with her bleached, very-layered hair. I'm beginning to realize that the Taiwanese are not at all a subtle people. They like things bright, loud, and brassy, whereas I prefer to be understated. Sometimes, a lot of the culture shock I experience are from differences in style.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I have been meaning to post all week, but haven't had time (or the organization) at work to do so. In any case, I met up with TC for dinner last night, where we both lamented our lack of postings to our blogs. TC introduced me to the sooner-that-you'll-expect Taipei-renowed Caramelly Caramel ice cream, available for purchase at the Breeze Center. I expect I'll be back soon.

Last Saturday I went to Luodong City in Ilan County. Ilan really is very scenic, and Luodong features a lovely park with all sorts of recreation facilities, including not just a baseball diamond and soccer field, but also a croquet playing field. The gardens are beautifully landscaped, in a very Japanese garden-like way. At each point on the paths, you can reflect upon a new vista. If I lived in Luodong, I would go running (or at least taking my morning constitutional) every day.

Sunday morning I trekked my way up a very tall hill in Tienmu for volunteer orientation at an orphanage. The babies range in age from 0 to 2 years, and with a staff ratio of about one nurse to seven babies, they obviously need volunteers to play, hold, and interact with the infants. I realized during the orientation how lucky my little cousins and I are: we have parents and a multitude of relatives and friends to ooh and ahh over us as children. I think this will be a really rewarding volunteer experience.

Tomorrow, I will be off early in the morning on a weekend trip to Tainan!

Friday, October 11, 2002

I met TC, Jen, Anthony, Vanessa, and the legendary Graham for brunch at United Mix yesterday. I quite enjoyed having the National Day Holiday. Afterwards, I strolled around the corner to Le Petit Sherwood for afternoon tea courtesy of my lovely cousin Pei-Pei. Jen went to the chiropractor. Later, we were talking about tranditional Chinese medicine. I realized that most of my life, I have been quite skeptical of some of my mother's medical views because they didn't seem to be verified by "science." Yet, I believe in and am quite inclined to do many alternative, environmentally-concious, non-mainstream American activities, preferring to consume organic foods and preferring to incorporate natural and holistic concepts into my health care. Ironically, a lot of this stuff comes from traditional Chinese medicine.
My Mandarin has finally improved to the point where I can actually understand my various voice mail options. I once had Benson translate the basic options, and all I remembered was that selecting "2" meant "delete." Today while listening to my voice mail, I pushed the wrong number by accident. By listening very carefully, I figured out how to change my menu to English. Upon doing that, I figured out how to leave a greeting! So now, if you call me, you'll actually hear me greeting you instead of silence.

This breakthrough comes after nearly nine months of mobile phone ownership.

Yup, the adventures in Taiwan never end.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

I went to a farewell party for Christine this past weekend. A large proportion of Taiwan's community is transient: since I arrived in Taiwan a year ago (has it already been a year?!?), I've bid farewell to Andy, Paul, Josh, Linda and Eugenio, Annie, Jean, Margaret, John, Vicky, David, and now, Christine. Flora, James, and Mei will be leaving soon. As soon as you meet friends, they set off upon adventures elsewhere around the world.

Tomorrow is the National Day Holiday. I intend to enjoy every moment by completely relaxing and (hopefully!) not packing my schedule too tightly. We'll see...

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

As is my usual pattern, I went climbing yesterday after I returned to Taipei from a meeting in Hsinchu. Barbara was giving me advice on how to balance: hanging from one straightened arm while being supported by the opposite leg. My brain grasped the concept, but my butt sometimes refused to move down so that I could hang in such a seemingly precarious position.