Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

No work Monday

Couldn't do anything outside today, so I cleaned my apartment, including icky things like the a/c filters.

Tonight for dinner I sautéed some bacon and garlic, then threw in chicken breasts and later simmered it all in four-cheese marinara sauce. It was delicious, but not quite the perfect Italian meal I was hoping for. I was out of pasta, but I did have a package of what I thought was green, spinach pasta. I cooked it, but upon tasting discovered they were actually chinese noodles. Dinner was still pretty good, but Chinese noodles definitely have a different consistency than Italian pasta.

The cartoon caracter getting blown away is named 灣² (Wan Wan). I just love her.

A rose by any other name would still be drenched

It's 11:00 am Sunday, and the rain continues to fall outside. I'm crossing my fingers that we get a typhoon day off on Monday for super typhoon Jangmi (Korean for 'rose').

I'm going back to bed. Yeah, it's 11:00am, blah blah. Late last night I discovered MySpace's cool new music play list thingy, resulting in my staying up until 4:30 this morning.

I'm up now only because someone phoned me and woke me. Don't know who it was; I was half-asleep when I answered the phone. The guy sounded businesslike, but he was speaking Chinese and I wasn't comprehending. I kept hearing the word 工作 ('work') and in my disorientd fog I thought it might be someone from my job. I asked 不好意思,你是誰? ("Excuse me, who is this?"), at which he continued to ramble, sounding a bit like a telemarketer. I finally got it through my sleepy skull that this guy didn't realize that I wasn't comprehending him, so I told him 我是美國人.聽不懂 ("I'm an American. I don't understand.") I guess my mistake was saying it in Chinese, because he continued (his sales pitch?). I finally said, in English, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." He finally paused, said a couple of more sentences (no, not "Sorry for disturbing you" or acknowledging that he might have the wrong number), and then hung up. I still don't know what happened there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not a good day

Had an emotional meltdown today. Missing my kids, feeling older, terrified of dying, lack of confidence in my job, mom and sister shunning me, what-is-the-meaning-of-life questions, etc. Yeah, real mid-life crisis, complete with sobbing and not wanting to get out of bed.

I finally got up and poured out my thoughts on video. I considered sending it to those I love, just to let them know what's up. Fortunately, I thought better of that and decided to wait at least one day. After I watched the video, I felt a little better, I think because I was able to view myself from the "outside." I went to work this evening (thank God I had only one class today), and now, 10:00pm, I'm feeling better, but still depressed. At least I'm venting a bit here on my blog.

I really thought I was going crazy earlier today. Time does have a way of healing wounds. Well, that and a Smirnoff Ice. After class I had a nice chat with a fellow teacher, and he assured me that this is a normal culture shock experience, and that it would pass. In my mind I already knew that, but it was nice to get the positive feedback that I wasn't crazy.

Hopefully my feeling won't be so overwhelming in the morning. I'll see if there's any truth to Scarlett O'Hara's thoughts about 'tomorrow.'

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays

It's the Friday before a holiday weekend (that means a rare Saturday and Sunday off for me), and this is the Yahoo weather report:

I can't get a break.

So, look me up on Skype 'cuz I'll probably be at home playing on the computer.

-------UPDATE @ 7:30PM-------

Got to go home early (6:00pm) today because the government cancelled evening school due to Typhoon Sinlaku.

Juno finally came out on video here, so I'm going to watch that tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


image borrowed from Baracktoberfest...is that ok?In the past week I've received two different emails rallying American Democrats in Taiwan. This indicates to me that people everywhere are fed up with this Administration. One of the event organizers even states, "With your help, I might one day be able to remove that Canadian Maple Leaf Patch I secretly sewed on my backpack for when I go traveling."

On September 27th there will be an Obama fundraising dinner in Taipei, at El Gallo Restaurant. The minimum ticket price is $2,500 NT ($80 US), which is a little rich for my blood, but I wish them much success.

Then, next month, the southern city of Kaohsiung will be hosting "Baracktoberfest." Its MasterCard-inspired tagline reads:

Cover: NT$250
Beer: NT$50
Getting your '08 Absentee Ballot in on time: Priceless
We'll do the paperwork while you drink the beer!

Now, this sounds like my kind of venue. Unfortunately, Kaohsiung is about 5-6 hours away (or 2.5 hours by high speed rail). If I didn't have to work that day, and if I wanted to spend the night there, I would go. But by the time I add in the cost of all that, I could probably just attend the Taipei fundraiser. Oh well, at least I'm going to vote.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Don't hate me 'cuz I'm feasting

I'll admit it; a disproportionate number of my blog entries are about food. This one is no exception.

This afternoon I was craving Duck Noodles (鴨肉麵 yā ròu miàn), so I walked the 4 blocks to my favorite shop, only to discover that they were closed and wouldn't reopen for another half hour. This place must put cocaine in their yā ròu miàn, because I'm addicted. Normally I would have waited to get my fix, but at the time I was very hungry and starting to get headachey. I decided to head back and try a food stand right next to my building. Despite its convenient location, I had never bought anything there.

Like many of the food stands here, the customer chooses from a variety of meats, veggies, and noodles that are on display. These are then fried or boiled, added to noodles, and/or made into a soup. When I first arrived a few months ago, eating at these kinds of places was a bit intimidating. I could recognize the vegetables and noodles, but couldn't identify most of the meat portions offered. I'd end up crossing my fingers and pointing. Fortunately, my Chinese has improved enough so that now I can at least ask what the mystery meat is, and (most times) understand the response.

Today I chose noodles, broccoli, and some type of greens (chard?), then added a variety of protein: tofu, sausage, and chicken hearts. Having missed out on my yā ròu miàn, I considered throwing in a duck head. In the end, though, I chickened out [poultry joke]. The shop added green onions (蔥 cōng, which I learned today), broth, and spices. I'm eating it as I write this, and it's quite delicious. There's enough for two meals, and it cost only $50NT ($1.50 US).

Is it any wonder that I'm always talking about food?!

Monday, September 1, 2008

I now walk with my nose a little bit higher

This isn't a real post. I just wanted to note something for posterity.

For the past 4 months I've been living in an apartment building that has a name, but I never knew what it was. The name is prominently displayed on the outside of the buidling in beautiful gold Chinese characters, but it's written in a cursive style which is difficult to read; therefore, I haven't been able to look up their meanings. Yesterday, a student enlightened me.

My building is called 羅浮宮廷 (Luó Fú Gōng Tíng).

It means "Le Louvre Palace Courtyard."