Friday, October 15, 2010
Anniversary in Taiwan
Today marks 2.5 years since I arrived in Taiwan. What did I do to celebrate? Nothing, just mundane errands.
I skipped my Chinese class this morning because I didn't go to bed until 3:30am. Long story short, it took me that long to locate, download, and watch the latest episode of Survivor that I could access in Taiwan.
I filled out my absentee voting ballot and mailed it. I'm very curious if Proposition 19--legalizing marijuana in California--will pass.
I went to the store to buy some toothpaste (Black Man brand).
I picked up a biandang for lunch.
Pretty boring, I know.
OK, here's a story from Tuesday. I went to a nearby clinic to get my yearly flu shot. As I was filling out paperwork at the reception counter, a middle-aged Taiwanese woman, who was also at the counter, got a wide-eyed look on her face when I presented my National Health Insurance card. She then proceeded to make remarks to the receptionist about how surprising it was that I would have an insurance card.
I got a bit upset because she had an arrogant tone, and apparently she figured I couldn't understand her Chinese. I turned to her and, a bit rashly, blurted out, "我住台灣, 所以我有健保卡." (I live in Taiwan, so I have an insurance card) I felt bad for getting a bit testy, but that feeling vanished when she haughtily looked me over and asked (in English), "Oh, are you Taiwanese?"
I shot back, "不是, 我是美國人, 可是我在台灣工作." (No, I'm American, but I work in Taiwan.) I so wanted to add, "and I pay taxes" but I don't know how to say 'taxes' in Chinese, and at that point I refused to speak English.
I mention this story for two reasons. First, to show that Taiwan does have its negative sides, no matter how much I may wax poetic about it. (Although the vast majority of Taiwanese I've met are friendly). And second, now having been the victim of "it's OK to talk about him in front of his face because he doesn't understand"--of which I've been guilty--I'm determined not to do this to anyone else.
I think tonight after work I'll celebrate my 2.5 years here by eating yuyuan douhua (bean curd with sweet potato and taro) and watching mahjong on TV.
So Taiwanese :-)