Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A can-do attitude, please?

I was really annoyed today at lunch when I tried to get a side order of multi-grain rice from this organic veggie food stall at the food court. The worker told me sorry, but they only sold full meals. I wasn't interested in a meal; and they lost a sale. That's the problem with service in Taiwan: people haven't quite grasped the concept that the customer is why they are there, and they just don't have a can-do attitude when it comes to service.

Anways, I took my nephew Jason (who is in Taipei for the summer studying Chinese) and his friend Jeff out for dinner Sunday night, then treated them to mango shaved ice, and then took them rock climbing. When it was time to leave, they were running late to make their curfew and so asked me for cab fare...my gosh, am I just a sugar mama to them?!?

These kids - all they had in their pockets was their school ID and CD player - no wallet. Sheesh, such change from the (relatively) older men I usually hang out with (who are able to pay for themselves, and sometimes even generously treat me, not the other way around). And the statement to top it all off, "gosh, thanks, [rock climbing] was really awesome. I had no idea you were so...crazy." (Great, obviously they thought I was a boring old fart before.) I haven't seen Jason in ~3 years -- I can still remember when he was a baby and I changed his diapers!

Honestly, I really did enjoy taking them out, however much it reminds me that I am getting older. As the employed, responsible adult, now is my turn to treat the young nieces and nephews. I already had my turn (and plenty of them, too) to be treated when I was kid.

Of course I would never take money from these kids. I'm just highly amused by the whole incident, as I realize how much my perspective has changed. Just knowing that these youngsters find me "cool" is worth it all. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

sleepy haze

Fighting through a fog of sleepiness to get through the day. I actually went to bed relatively early last night, but it was not enough to make up for the previous two nights. Hopefully tonight will be better.

At least my room is getting settled in. Yesterday I was able to turn on my floor lamp for the first time, now that I have the correct light bulb. The warmer light of a compact flourescent bulb is so much better than the harsh glare of an ordinary flourescent one. Did a lot more moving this past weekend; I am mostly unpacked. Also put in a good 8+ hours total at work over the weekend; I haven't been as productive this week so far so hopefully I'll make more progress today. Saturday caught up with Joaquin (who was in town for the week), and George, Maria, and Max. Babies grow up so quickly and now Max is feeling bashful - he shied away when I tried to give him a peck on his cheek.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

U.S. INS officials terrorize foreign journalists

I'm sure many of you have heard of this already, but clearly some officials need to stop being bullies. Of course, the responsibility lies not with just the officials on the ground who "greet" these visitors, but also the Bush administration for not clarifying policies, and the American public for allowing these outrages to occur. Sometimes I am just amazed by how insular Americans make themselves; a fact which is obvious when one travels abroad. If you do happen to be an American citizen, remember to vote in the November election.

Friday, July 09, 2004

in a snow globe

So apparently Wednesday was the hottest day in Taipei for the year so far, at 36.4 degrees Celsius (97.5 degrees Farenheit), the 5th highest ever. This was news to me...lately I seem to be ensconced in my own little world, the snow globe that is the air conditioned environment of my work.

A quick re-cap of this past week's events: Friday caught up with Jen (hadn't seen her in nearly a month); Saturday caught up with Mike and enjoyed my birthday present of a pedicure from the Regent's spa, and then later enjoyed a quiet moment by the Xindian riverside with Eve, Jonathan, and company; on Sunday I hosted a brunch.

On the menu was field greens with walnut-encrusted goat cheese and cranberries, scrambled eggs with fresh veggies and ham, a bread basket (with Ellie's red bean toast!), freshly squeezed orange juice, seasonal fresh fruit, and tiramisu for dessert. My favorite cafe did an excellent job preparing and serving the brunch. This year's brunch was a lot easier than last year's, as I've gotten smarter by making only one dish (the salad) and outsourcing the rest.

Afterwards, Eve and I went for a much-needed workout at the gym. My goodness, there was a whole slew of women lined up for some instructor's aerobics class. He's supposed to be cute, but I actually find him rather strange-looking. To each his own, I guess, but waiting for over half an hour to use the shower was not so fun.

Let's see...Monday was climbing, Tuesday was Eve's birthday dinner at Gan Bei, Wednesday I got to see Harry Potter 3 with Jen, courtesy of my credit card company. Hermione is my favorite character: she may not be as gifted as Harry, but she is smart as hell and has her basics down pat. And she's mellowing into quite a cool chick and not as uptight as she was her first year. Perhaps I see a little of myself in her?

Anyways, tomorrow is moving day! I am so looking forward to moving in with Angela; my current situation has been quite untenable. 'twill be nice to have a place I can finally call my own.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

clever commentary

You gotta love the Economist: erudite, and witty as can be. Take for example their article on business education. Writes the Economist, "even if [Harvard Business School] taught students nothing, they would still be buying the finest job marketing imaginable." And on the swing state of Minnesota, "the evangelical influence is still much fainter than in, say, Texas; Minnesota Christians, with their Lutheran cast, devote their energy to social justice in the third world rather than dreaming up new ways to punish the wicket at home.

Monday, July 05, 2004

let's give it up to Google!

First Yahoo, and now Hotmail. You gotta love Google for always pushing the envelope and forcing others to change their ways to keep up. Thank goodness I'll soon be able to send emails to Jen without having half of them bounceback because her inbox is always full.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

out and about

I made up for lost time spent indoors studying by going to Baishawan beach near Tamshui last Saturday to participate in Canada D'eh. I haven't had a grilled hamburger in awhile, so that was quite nice, and nibbled on way too much Costco cake. Spent the following day canyoning in Yangmingshan. Being out in nature away from the city is so restorative. Everything was so lush and green, although not at all pristine. Scrambled about the rocks, did a little bit of swimming, climbed up some rocks, and got many lovely bruises in the process.

This weekend will be a little bit more mellow. I really need to make some headway on packing in preparation for my move next weekend.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

a rainbow!

There's a rainbow right out my window, stretching from the behind the World Trade Center to the Shinkong tower. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one in my office excited to see the rainbow. Is this a cultural thing, or is everyone else too distracted by work to notice the beauty beside them?