Sunday, December 28, 2008

The National Palace Museum

This was the welcoming committee for the museum.

This me in front of the Museum, and then the brand spanking new camera's (which rocks, thank you mom and dad!) memory card filled up.

Which was ok because we couldn't take pictures of the art anyway, so here is my rendition of some of the most interesting pieces.

In my opinion, the aboriginal museum across the street was far better lit and organized. It was much more interesting and pleasant to view than the National Palace Museum. Not being able to read Chinese definitely put us at a disadvantage when viewing all the ancient texts. The translations seemed to be lacking helpful or interesting information about any of the pieces. The collection and how it got to China is an interesting story, or at least it seems to be. I haven't been able to find any sources on the Internet to substantiate the claims that American planes were used to transport a good portion of the goods to Taiwan to prevent it from being destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. In fairness to the Internet, I haven't looked very hard yet.

For more information about the NPM, although not much, go here :

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Lovely Nuances of Language

Found, December 26th, 2008 in the classified ad section of The Taipei Times.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Confucius Parade (I think)

Before we headed down to check out the Confucius temple, we were pleasantly surprised by what I believe to be a Confucius parade in front of the Danshui MRT. Now, if I had to guess if Confucius was a guy into parades, I would say no, but then again, he and I are not that close.

My favorite part of the parade had to be the kids wearing the Confucius heads. They brought up the tail end of the parade, and the local car and taxi drivers seemed little concerned with the safety of the Confucius heads or the real possibility that the parade of people might serve as a potential road block. Due to this, the variety of Confuci had to dart in and out of traffic in order to avoid becoming Confucius pinatas. This was no easy feat as, I imagine, their range of motion and sight was severely limited. It was still very amusing to watch.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Vow of Silence

I have been forbidden by my doctor to speak for at least 24 hours or risk permanent damage to my vocal chords.

But really, once my doctor tells me not to talk, of course, I instantly really, really want to talk. I have spent my time thinking about all the people I need to call, and how I should really, really catch up on my communication. And suddenly, I have the burning urge to use my Chinese instead of jumping around like an idiot and pointing at things and pictures. But the hardest part so far (it's been 2.5 hours, and no one is home yet) is that I talk to myself all the damn time. I have to stop myself from talking to myself. A lot.

This vow of silence should be an interesting little journey for me...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun, fun, fun

While my roommates went to Osaka and the Manila respectively, I got laryngitis. I know, I know, I have the good life. And while I have been looking every bit as peaked as I felt pretty much all week, I actually went into teach on Saturday. I learned something through my work experience. When teaching a language, it helps if you can talk. *gasp* And when teaching small, affluent, gender-biased children, regularly verbally abused in their schooling system, it helps even more if you can yell (and use fascist principles), but we can save how I am ruining children and creating culture-bound conformers producing productive contributors to Asian society another day. *

I'm sick is the point of this discussion.

And my Mac has been consistently overheating, so when I stop being sick, I am going to see if the authorized Mac store is indeed an authorized Mac store. (Ok, that wasn't the point at all, but it is a reason this post is ending)

* Do not read this book and then teach in Asia. It will hold you accountable for all your wrong doings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sign from god?

Ann Coulter has had her jaw wired shut. I shouldn't laugh, but HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Work and play

I do to much of it. So, the obvious remedy: Vacation! Not a big one. A little one. A three day one. I'm on it right now, so ta-da! Blog.

The vacation is in my town because my planning skills are lacking. This week I went to my favorite Taiwanese Irish Coffee Shop (Pub with good food). I ran into a ridiculously loud, drunk German woman and her equally drunk although not so loud Finnish boyfriend. It was one of those nights where I feel extremely blessed to speak English, so I can have barely understandable conversations about politics with people from all over the world.

Phil is in the Philippines visiting family and doing a visa run, so I have a couple days to myself.

Day .25: Loud, drunken political discussions and slobbery kisses from large German woman and Finnish husband. (done)
Day 1: Eat pizza and coffee for breakfast. Finally make it down to the apartment movie theater and find out they are showing a little mermaid movie in Chinese. Sign up to workout with the staffed personal trainer at the apartment gym instead. His personal training will turn out to be showing me how to turn the treadmill on. The treadmill was in English. (done) Write a blog. Read Phil's novel draft.
Day 2: Get my ARC card fixed. Change my bike tire. Go as far as my legs will willingly take me. Start studying Chinese officially again.
Day 3: Go on a hike in Yangmingshan. Go for a soak in the hot springs there.

I am so very desperately trying not to worry about what happens after the vacation. The catch up. The silliness that has me stressed out and sleep deprived on a regular basis. In time, I will find a balance between work and life again. In time.

I have pictures, although not many because I lost my camera on a bike ride a couple weeks ago. I will try to get those up on day 2, but it is not on my official agenda, so who knows.

Monday, October 27, 2008


This is a 5 asterisk system.

(*)*Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus - Charles Mingus : Giving this book a star is a formality. I know it ain't easy being a pimp and all, but do you have to spell shit, schitt? If you are really interested in how many bitches Charles Mingus has stuck his joint up, this is your book. Now granted the time, Phil was reading Immortality by Milan Kundara, so exchanging bits of wisdom by respective authors was pretty damn hilarious. Phil told numerous times to just leave the book alone, but I read on. I had about 100 pages left before I had to put the book down for my own health and sanity.

*It really isn't fair to review a book I never finished reading. I just wanted you to know how much I hated this book.

(**) Slam - Nick Hornby: "Meh" is my general feeling about this book. I like Hornby, but this book is subpar in every way. The story is traditional Hornby boy dealing with "maturing", although this time it is a teenager). The whole magic Tony Hawk poster is awkard and unnecessary. The ending is hack writing and screams "I am sick of writing this story!!" It is only mildy funny at times. You won't be mad you spent time reading it like Beneath the Underdog and that is about all I can give this book as far as recommendation.

(****)The Curious Incident of the Dog and the Night-time - Mark Haddon: This book was a delightful read. It is heartbreaking and also tries your patience. Haddon does an excellent job of showing the perspective a 15-year-old autistic boy as he sets out to find the killer of his neighbor's dog. This book made me realize that many of my friends probably have undiagnosed autism. I kid, I kid.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is it wrong to love bagels and cream cheese this much?

While the amount of Western influence here makes me sad, I really could have kissed my co-worker who went to Costco - yes, they have Costco here - and brought me back raviolis, bagels, cream cheese and a hunk of mozzarella cheese. I feel like such a American whore when I do things like that - eat at McDonald's, PizzaHut, Dominoes, Starbucks, and now we can add, 3rd person shopping at Costco. I have eaten at all of these places, and the comfort of eating there is frightening. The food isn't great, of course, but it's easy and familiar and no one has exchange looks of "I have no clue as to what you are referring to" and I can safely answer yes to all of the questions. But back to the bagels - wonderful, gloriousness.
Taipei is clearly far too big and far too international to force me to have any sort of cultural experience here. I will have to seek it out, and who knows what that really looks like or means. The next generation of Taiwanese seems to enjoy hanging out at McDonald's (McCafe's, and open 24-hours. It's a much more pleasant environment when late night employees don't have to deal with drunk assholes or the fear of armed robbery) *Gasp*

Enough about that...

Feeding the Love. This is a more entertaining idea (says me) started (though probably not invented) by heels - the Ron Paul huggin', cunt of woman she is. She did a lovely post where she said tear-jerkingly nice things about people I love and people she loves as well, so I would like to jump on the wagon. I'm a big fan of love notes. As a person with an obtuse sense of humor and an often malfunctioning brain to mouth filter, I find it's really, really, really, really important to remind people that I truly love and adore them because the ones closest to me often catch the brunt of my wrath. I can't sit down and list everyone I love at one time. It's too overwhelming and exhausting and I start gushing tears. It ain't pretty, so instead of feeding the love as requested, I'm rationing the love. One per post. Requests are welcome. And, well, where to start seems pretty easy...

Dani - I have known you for a really long time. I really love how I can look back and see what twits we were at different times. I think I beat you on length of twit stage, but you are right, you did start out as my best friend's older sister, and then my older brother's friend. I think I can pin point the beginning of my awe and appreciation of the tenacity of how your beliefs and humor mix and mingle when my brother and I went to visit John, You, Emmy, and Spence down at the house near the high school. I think I nearly peed my pants looking at the Mormon brochure you defiled and left on your door as repellent for boys in bicycle helmets, white button-up shirts, and ties. You are hilarious, smart, witty, nurturing, loyal, and still as fierce as ever. These will always be qualities that will be as often adored as misunderstood. You are a gorgeous, rare human being. I am thankful that I know you and your family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How do you spell that again?

I have a Chinese name. I've had this name for a while. My friend, Wen, actually named me way before I left for Taiwan. My Chinese name is now officially being used by the university I work for. In order to get paid, I needed a Chinese name. Done and done. Happy as a clam, I took my check issued to 安以仁 to my bank. Yes, that's me. I'm the pretty pictures. (It still hasn't quite sunk in that Chinese characters are anything other than art, even though I can now recognize the Chinese character for scissors)

Then horror of all horrors, the teller asked me to endorse the check in Chinese. After flipping the check back and forth several times, I made my best effort to write my name. The teller looked, laughed, and said, "I go ask. Wait." I heard my Chinese name thrown between her and her supervisor, and then she came back. "She say ok you to cross out, write again." So I crossed my name out, and stood there sweating and embarrassed because I had(have) no clue as to how to write my name. She said, "Thank you, no worry. I write." And she wrote it for me in Chinese. While having someone else endorse my checks is a bit scary, I can't explain how relieved I was.

"What's your name little girl?"
"I have no f-ing clue."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh, anonymity. Why?

I received an e-mail this morning from someone who is not a fan of my friend's blog. And not a fan, as in made an e-mail address and blog titled (name)is.ugly and (name)sucks respectively. This person posted pictures of her and called my friend, in essence, a big meanie head with, like, her, own opinions and shit, and how dare she share these opinions on her (her) blog. What a bitch.

My fatal flaw in this lifetime is expecting people to have some sense. If you don't like her blog, don't read her blog. Or even better, explain why you disagree her opinions without using words such as beatch, cunt, or spelling "can" with a k. Everyone walks away happy.

I think Penny Arcade summed up this dilemma, which happens on the Internets more often than it should, quite nicely.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Attack of the Giant Grasshopper and Happy 10/10

This picture doesn't reveal just how big this grasshopper actually is. This sucker is about 4 inches long and 2 inches tall and damn frightening when it randomly jumps into your path.

Can you spot the grasshopper? (Click the pictures for super spy glasses close-up)

We have today off. It is 10/10. Sort of like Taiwanese Independence Day. More like the Republic of China got kicked out of China by the commies (People's Republic of China) and relocated to Taiwan. You can read more, but not much, about it here

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Another typhoon. The eastern version of a hurricane. I'll be honest, up until 2 weeks ago I thought a typhoon was just a baby hurricane. It's not. I also had warped the meaning of the word mercenary. My mental image was putting a little too much faith in the "mercy" sounding quality of the word. I was thinking more like Bono than Blackwater. Phil got a pretty good laugh out of that one. But mercy gaffe aside, it is amazing how quickly I have become desensitized to 90 mph winds. But I suppose, it's not like I am trying to forge my way through the madness outside. Nope, I'm inside, on the 7th floor of a new building, making egg sandwiches with my boyfriend, obsessively watching Heroes, season 1. (Done, le pout. Can't wait for season 2. Yes, I've been informed it sucks, but the addiction needs to be fed, people. The addiction needs to be fed)

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Happy, Happy Birthday to Wen, Daniel, Cousin Jenny, Cousin Jeff, Josiah, Susie, Lyndsey, AJ, and Amy and anyone else who is a late summer early fall baby.

I was talking with my co-worker about the novelty of going back to the states and being able to talk to children. I do miss that. The kids in my classes are lovely, for the most part. We operate off a mutual understanding that we probably like each other. We both seem nice enough. Their English is a collection of stunted questions and answers. My Chinese is the one stunted question of what is your name. Which they think is hilarious.

Tea-chA! You know name, hahahaha.

Having a conversation with someone other than Phil that is fluid and not a frustrating wrestling match for understandable words and phrases will also be a novelty. I miss the possibility of this and mimosas and frou-frou scrambles and hollandaise sauce. Oh and my friends, and my family, and live music, and superhero dress up parties.

Teaching at the university has gone swimmingly. It’s still early in the semester, but week 2 was as promising as week 1. I’m excited about the poetry class because my students are excited and scared, but not frustrated. Yet. I hope they remain that way. I showed them Taylor Mali’s “What Teacher’s Make, or Objection Overruled, or If things don't work out, you can always go to law school”

One of my students voiced his displeasure and disbelief that this was poetry. “This is poetry. So scary. Teacher, I am Chinese. This is too loud.” I told him there are many different kinds of poetry. We have everything from Taylor Mali to Shakespeare. To which he replied in horror, “They read Shakespeare like this?!?!”

My students have a romantic idea about poetry and what it should be. This should be an interesting journey for both of us. Ok, off to the beach with me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cliff notes of a long lost post

No, you aren't losing it. The previous post was deleted mostly on purpose, so here are the cliff notes.

  • Phil has an ear infection
  • Taiwan hospitals don't feel like death
  • I started work at St. John's University in Taiwan
  • Eric locked himself on the roof, and you should read about it and see the cool picture he took of the approaching typhoon here

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Life has become boring and entertaining all at once, but that probably is too long for a title for a blog


That's right, I'm talking to you. Where you been, eh? You don't write. You don't call (except Mom. Mom I need to call you back).

Phil has arrived and we've proceeded to being incredibly boring. You know, having conversations and generally enjoying each other's company. It's nice to have someone to point with and spend too much time ordering and looking for food.

and there was something here to wrap this blog up, but I deleted it. And there was an apology for deleting the nice blog wrap up, but I deleted that too.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I like to juggle

Today is the second day back at work. It was a long day, but I feel better. I still sound like a frog, but I've got my wits about me and my head no longer feels like it's in a bubble.

Today made me laugh. It was a series of things that tested my maturity and of course, I failed miserably.

The sentence pattern for my K10 class was:

What does the blank know how to do?
The blank knows how to blah, blah, blah.

What can the blank do?
The blank can blah, blah, blah.

All was well and good until we came to the clown.

Teacher: What does the clown know how to do?
Students: The clown knows how to juggle balls.
Teacher: *giggles* No, no the clown knows how to juggle.
Teacher: What can the clown do?
Students: The clown can juggle balls.
Teacher: *giggles* The clown can juggle. No balls *giggles again*
Students: TEAcher, WHATa?!
Teacher: What does the clown know how to do?

Etc, etc until the whole class understands that the clown does not juggle balls. Even though he does, but you can't tell 10-year-olds that balls are slang for testicles because I don't know how to say testicles in Mandarin. And while I am willing to attempt to draw lopsided pictures of a lot of vocabulary in the course of an EFL class, drawing testicles for 10-year-olds will not be one of those things

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So I am sick. It has finally happened. I've been infected with Asian fever. No, I am not talking about being madly in love with Phil. And besides, technically, I think he is Pacific Islander. He is coming out next Tuesday by the way. Did I mention how excited I am? Actually, I don't think I have, but anyway I digress

I have a slight fever, headache, what feels like two suction cups clamped onto my ears, runny nose, and a sore throat. I called in sick today. I feel no inclination to be a good worker bee today. I literally did nothing. I got of bed to go to the bathroom and to refill my water glass. Exciting. I'm writing now only because I dumped a packet of emergen C into my water, and it has made me a little antsy.

What I am worried about is really quite lame. In Taiwan, when you are sick it is considered courteous to wear a medical mask (they have all sorts of stylish varieties). This is for 2 reasons*. The first reason is, duh, not to spread germs when you sneeze and snot and do all sorts of lovely things. The second is to let other people know that you are sick and they shouldn't lick your face or the bus handrails you used. And while I know this is courteous and probably a good idea, I really, really, really don't want to do it. The idea of wearing a mask all day in the sweltering Taiwan heat sounds completely unappealing. I mean, I've done it for costume parties, why can't I just suck it up here as well?

I'm really dreading this. I don't have any at the house, but at school, they're probably going to ask me to put one on because it's a school and it's super easy to infect a bajillion people.

Yuck, yuck, indeed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Teaching messes with my self-esteem

Sometimes teaching is a lousy job. You have to be one solid individual to be an excellent teacher. You also have to have an infinite supply of creativity, energy, patience, and respect. And, according to Harold, the ability to yell at children and not have it ruin your day.

I am definitely, definitely not there yet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Danshui: Tour guide of sorts

It occurred to me that my blog could also be a useful resource for other people. There isn't a lot of practical information about the area of Danshui, so here is my first tid bit. It isn't helpful for soaking in the local culture, but I was damn excited about it.

MEXICAN FOOD!! and decent Mexican food at that. They have homemade tortillas and everything. No joke. The waiter was half Dominican, half Taiwanese, so I won't vouch for the authenticity of this Mexican food, but the burrito I had was tasty.

Getting to Eddy's Cantina by foot from Danshui MRT:

Walk toward McDonald's. Take a left on to Zhong Shan (zheng) Rd. Keep walking until you reach a fork in the road. You should see Eddy's Cantina at the corner of Zhong Shan Rd. N. and Zhong Zheng Rd. If you stay to the right you will walk past Danshui Elementary school, and if this happens, you've gone too far.

Professor Teacher

I am Professor Teacher again, as my students at College of Alameda so fondly called me - mostly because they couldn't say my name.

I had an interview at St. John's University today. It went well. They offered me the position on the spot. The part-time gig, as per usual, was through nepotism. The lovely George swoops in with all sorts of awesome again. Many thanks to that man. Pretty soon I will actually be qualified for these positions. I kid, I kid, kinda.

I'm pretty excited. It starts in fall. I will be teaching a basic conversation class, writing and rhetoric course, and a poetry class. There is also ample opportunity for research, which is helpful for me, as I only have a MA. (Does that read as snobby as it sounded in my head?)


DO send any and all poems and short stories you love. Also, please DO send any and all poetry lesson plans you have kicking around in your teacher files. If you're not a teacher, take a minute to reflect on any kick ass poetry projects you did whilst a student all those years ago.

Please and xie xie.

The Lovely Keelung

For the full album, you can go here

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So not true *snort*

I really, really have to thank Heels for sending me a card from someecards (though it wasn't this one, it was this one when I left for Taiwan). It has changed my life.

Danshui (foreigners included)

Our local night market

Steve fit right in

Yep, everyone was hitting their head on the roof of the bus.

View of the rail and Fisherman's Wharf in the background

Walking bridge to F.W.

Yes, you're still a tourist

I had my first official visitor yesterday. My friend Steve bopped up from Taichung to say hey and check out Danshui. His work takes him Asia pretty regularly. It was a disconnect seeing someone from the states in Taiwan. I feel like I stepped into an alternate universe and having the lines cross is a bit odd, but it is a delightful odd.

I'm not a good hostess. I've done a terrible job of exploring Danshui, so everything is still in the "sure, let's give it a go and hope we find something cool" stage. Basically, Steve came, we tried some new food at the night market, headed to Fisherman's Wharf and then headed home. In between all of this was not knowing how to get there or back or knowing where or what to eat. For me, this is fun, but not everybody is super excited for ordering things called Buddha Jump Wall and poking your chopsticks into soup and eating the random, unidentifiable things - even after you put them in your mouth - that come out.

That being said, it was great to see Steve. His appearance really inspired me to get to know my area a little better.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hi Teacher!

Now I know what the word teacher is in Chinese. I also know how to say hello. But, I haven't really registered words in a sequence.

If someone says in English, "How do you say teacher?" I would say, "Lou shi." However, when my students speak to me in Chinese. This is what I hear: blaaah, blaAAAh, blah, blah (This is my impression of Chinese tones).

Recently, my student said (in Chinese), "Hey teacher." And I understood and responded in English. I realize it's the base form of communication, but good god I was excited. I've been here 2 months people. I don't think I'm a natural when it comes to Chinese. I'm what we in the language education world lovingly call a slow student.

Fun story. The end.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Stories to Tell

1. Had an awesome day with my former student, Winnie. (Thank you Winnie. You Rock!) She drove my roommate and I around Keelung and stuffed us full of food. We also went to see the Golden Waterfall *snort*

2. Bought a bike!! Super cheap - Bike and all the accessories cost less than my previous bike. Now, it is a piece of shit (plastic pedals and weighs a ton), but there is an beautiful bike path that winds down the river by my house. And people ride their bikes at 11 pm with no fear of being mugged. What a novelty!

3. The Taiwanese are, in general, fucking awesome. Helpful, kind, patient, and have really gone out of their way to help me even when I don't ask (Not that I could ask, haha) . It's silly and small, but still an incredibly moving experience, but I'm too sleepy to tell you about it.

Good Brother, I have one

How to tell if you have a good brother....

He sends you cheese half way around the world. Yipee! Thanks O!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Welcome to Our Home
The dining table.
The Kitchen
The Living Room
The View from the Living Room
Your Bedroom

Main Bathroom (AKA Eric's Bathroom) The shower is one of those spiffy, car wash-esque showers where you have a regular shower head, a rain shower head, and water nozzles spraying you from the side. My Room. This is where I sweat. My AC doesn't work yet. It will be fixed tomorrow (cross your fingers)

Notice the well placed light switch. (There is also one by the door)

A crappy picture of my bathroom...
I'm very excited about my toilet. Apparently, these toilets are super common in Japan. But anyway, it has a remote control. I can also heat the seat, change the water intensity and temperature for the bidet and torture my unsuspecting guests. This toilet is awesome.
The Apartment Facilities

1. Basketball Court

2. The Swimming Pool

3. Steam Room / Sauna4. KTV Room - Karaoke

5. Gym6. Cafe

7. View from the Top

Oh yeah, there is also a movie theater. So, there it is. Not too shabby, eh? Next order of business, um, when are you coming to visit?

Side note: Some of these were stolen from a professional.