Monday, September 27, 2004

If the rain won't go away, get out of the rain

I woke up yesterday morning absolutely certain that I wanted to leave Taipei, weather notwithstanding. So we all met up at New York New York and made our way to the northeast coast. A good thing, too, because it wasn't raining there! Like proper Taiwanese residents, we arrived at Fulong beach and got out of caravan to determine that we were hungry, and promptly got back into our cars to go to Aodi for a seafood lunch. Then we returned to Fulong. Unfortunately, the typhoons have swept a lot of debris onto the beach, and the sea was none to clean, either. So we just stood ankle deep in the water for a bit, and then headed off to Jin Gua Shi, this old mining town that is being restored as a historical tourist spot. Here are Abi's photos to keep you all entertained until I upload my own.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Life at in general

This post is actually a draft that I started in May. Since then, I no longer deal with brilliant people who are unreliable, but must instead deal with personalities who are always at the center of their attentions.

But the real reason I decided to blog today was an article in today's Asian Wall Street Journal about how junior officers are the ones taking charge in Iraq. The subject of the article, Captain Ayers, says about how to best prepare young solders for the experiences he's had:

"I guess I'd drop soldiers in a foriegn high school and give them two days to figure out all the cliques. Who are the cool kids? Who are the geeks? ...there would also have to be people in the high school trying to kill the soldiers."

Life is all about learning how to deal with the situation at hand. Someone wrote in iVillage the hardest part about having adult responsibilities in your 20s is that you don't have the experience to evaluate decisions. They advised cultivating a longer-term perspective, and asking one's self, "in 5, 10, 20 years, will this decision bring me closer to the life I want, or farther from it?"

Sunday, September 19, 2004

strength and form

I've been back in Taiwan for less than a week, but already my trip to the States seems so long ago. I spent four days in Boston and four days in L.A. My brother is the best: he flew up to Boston one weekend to be with me, and to L.A. the following weekend (he's currently on a short-term assignment in Buffalo). Even more impressive is when three of my girlfriends and I picked him up at the airport in Rhode Island and then promptly went outlet shopping for 8 hours straight. A lot of my trip was spent shopping, not just for myself but also for the items that friends and co-workers in Taiwan requested (I was so proud of myself when I was able to get Eve's now-discontinued Bath & Bodyworks Country Apple scent lotion, as well as Angie's dried white sage to burn for home fragrance--the latter obtained in an alternative-Tibetan-bookstore in Santa Monica). My cousin, Evelyn, laughed as she saw me pack--I looked like I was going to Africa, not Taiwan, she said. But there are things you cannot get here, or the markup is incredibly expensive, so I brought back steel-cut oats, dried blueberries, almond butter, an acceptable substitute for my favorite Great Harvest Bread Company honey whole-wheat bread, and organic linens.

I had a list of restaurants that I wanted to eat at while in the States, but after two days I felt so full. Still, I got my $3 falafel from the food trucks outside of MIT, Indian food, and great Korean BBQ. I marveled at all the changes on campus, how young the students seemed to be, the comforting familiarity of administrators and professors--good friends--that were still there. Zofia was a fantastic host, and so good to see her after two and a half years. The amazing thing was, with email and instant messaging, we really only needed to catch up on two days worth of going-ons.

I was really struck by fashions in the States this time around. American woman have a casual, earthy sexiness. I noticed a change in footwear--flip flops were almost ubiquitous. Tank tops, jeans. Very casual. American women are bigger (larger portion sizes play a part, I'm sure), but also strong. They work out. They walk with pride. In contrast, young Taiwanese women are in general thin flaccidness encased in fashions that are not flattering: a mish-mash of ruffles and clashing patterns, in flats with pointy, witch-like upturned toes. And the shuffle across the street. Completely unattractive. Last night at Mint, I met a beautiful Taiwanese girl. Absolutely lovely face, but below the neck, I just didn't get her outfit.

Of course, there are Taiwanese women who do dress very well. And certainly some very strong women as well. Today I saw the incomparable Cloudgate dance company perform. My favorite piece was "The Road To The Mountain," which was very Taiwanese in its themes, referring to village life in Taiwan and its history. As usual, their athleticism was so powerful. I'm especially impressed because after an hour of Angie's dance class last Friday, I could only muster up enough energy to flail to the music, never mind the turns.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

back in Taiwan

Arrived in Taiwan at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning and was in the office by 7:22 a.m. Managed to pull a +13-hour workday that day, and another 12-hour one yesterday. But feeling pretty good today after going to bed last night at 8:30 and sleeping until 6 a.m. this morning - no coffee! Will write more...soon.

Friday, September 03, 2004

missed my flight

Sometimes you need a vaction just from preparing for a vacation. Oh well. At least I got to sleep in today and take a Body Balance class; the idea being to be centered and calm by the time I board my (re-scheduled) flight. Which means that I should stop blogging and get final things tied up so I don't lose my centeredness.