Thursday, October 21, 2004

Today we had to "dress to impress" because we were meeting the manager and ceo of the company that is sponsoring us to go down to Yuli. We drove across town (and did see the world's tallest building). And went up to the 6th floor of a huge office building. Everything was very formal, especially meeting the people, it was kind of scary! I was worried that I would do something impolite! Anyways, after introductions we got down to our "fancy" lunch of KFC and Pizza Hut! It was not quite what I had been expecting!! Anyways, they do taste more or less the same, except that the one pizza was seafood pizza! I'm talking scallops and sole, chewy pieces of white fishy material on the pizza... haha it wasn't as bad as it sounds! Anyways, I'm pretty sure it went well, even though I really didn't understand the majority of it!
Tonight we went to Costco, which is almost exactly the same as a costco in canada, except bigger than the ones I've been to, it was two floors! We bought sleeping bags, raid, hangers and a mag light, all the necessities? Well hopefully the raid will work on the giant cockroaches we've been warned about! I had to kill a baby one yesterday, it was, well I wouldn't say an ordeal, but well... yeah, anyways, It is so crazy to be here, not just here in Asia, not just here in Taiwan, but in Taipei, one of the largest cities in the world! Things are always noisy and busy here, with people, cars and scooters everywhere! Walking down the street you can see hundreds of scooters parked along the sidewalks, everywhere! It seems like I have been comparing everything to Brazil, but I suppose that is normal, since that is so far my standard for cross-cultural experience. the next place i go, i expect, i will be comparing to here. anyways, i find the traffic here isn't as crazy as it was in Brazil, close though! it is still scary to cross the street! There is less obvious poverty here in Taipei, but i think that will be different when i get out into the countryside. The landscape is really quite lovely, there are mountains on the horizon on the one side of the city, and there is greenery everywhere! It is true that the pollution is pretty bad though, it always seems kind of hazy and when the sun sets, it is a bright orange colour - the same colour the sky turns at home when there are a lot of forest fires around. Anyways, the language is going ok, actually, in some ways, probably faster than Portuguese since my learning is more structured, but in other ways, i think i picked up basic conversational proficiency more quickly in the portuguese.
We have been learning a phonetic chart (lovingly called bo-po-mo-fo) which is definitely reminiscent of learning the IPA in linguistics, well except that there are sounds you have never actually made before with your mouth!! The linguistics background is helping me, especially since i can see the difference in something that is voiced or not etc, and the chart is sort of divided in order of bilabials, fricatives etc, although it doesn't say that.
I got my chinese name today which is Oh Tsai Lin which sort of sounds like my name (last name first here) and means "vibrant" I like it
There are only three more days until we are on our way to Yuli where we will be spending the first while just making contacts and slowly building relationships. Honestly, I think this first part is going to be the hardest, and it is the part I am the most scared of! It is like the first month in the dorm except it's a whole city, and minus the week of welcome and name tags on the doors! I am a little intimidated, but I know this will be a really big test and growing experience! God has been confirming in so many ways that this Is where he wants me, and I have been reading in Genesis this week, and I have seen that God loves to repeat his promises in many ways, and continually confirm his plans, but in return, he expects absolute obedience. This is something he has really challenged me with! Anyways, as crazy as it sounds, i am getting really sleepy! It is only 9:15, and here I am winding down for the night! I guess that's what happens when you get up at 6... everything is so much more exhausting in a foreign country!!

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