Friday, March 30, 2007

can you speak Chinese?

I'm picking up the extra battery for my new computer at the electronics store from a very nervous clerk. She asks me (in English) "Can you speak Chinese?" to which I answer "yes" and she smiles and says "oh good" looking obviously relieved. Then say to me (in English) "Please sign here." That was the only other verbal communication in our transaction.
Sometimes i don't get people.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More Trip Highlights

We spent a few more days in Yuli meeting people and enjoying the beautiful and peaceful countryside. Then it was time to take the train back up to Yilan, when one of the most exciting stories of the trip occurred. Stay tuned for my next post, "My mom, the action hero."








Next came another flurry of visits in Yilan, which concluded with a very relaxing visit to a hot spring co-owned by one of my Dr. students. Unfortunately we don't have any pictures of that.






Back in Taipei, we checked into our hotel: the Grand Hotel, one of the oldest and most renowned hotels in Taiwan! Actually a one night's stay there was cheaper than a typical 5-star hotel, especially when we fond out on arrival that we had been upgraded to a SUITE! Our hotel suite was bigger than my apartment! It had living room, bar, 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It was amazing! We spent a lot of time looking around the hotel and taking pictures there, then went out to finish our tour with the National Palace Museum and the giant ferris wheel.
The next morning was our last day in Taiwan. We were due to fly out at 11:55pm. We slept in a little and stored our luggage at the hotel's front desk. Then we went to the Martyr's Shrine where we enjoyed the architecture and another changing of the guard ceremony, as well as getting a history lesson. Had lunch nearby the famous Shi-Lin night market (we hadn't gone at night because I was still on crutches, and not feeling too confident about pushing through the hordes of people). But my parents were once again amazed at how cheap it can be to eat in Taiwan. The four of us ate for less than the price of one beverage at TGI Friday's, where we'd eaten the night before.
We picked up our luggage and took the shuttle to the airport, where we again had to try and store our stuff (unfortunately discovering that the airline wouldn't let us check in so early), then headed out to one last stop: the old street in Yingge, the ceramics and pottery capital of Taiwan. My parents did more shopping and Zak got to make his own pottery! Actually the stuff he made turned out really amazing! We had an awesome dinner at a restaurant using all handmade pottery dishes. We took some pictures, then noticed the picture on the door of a camera with a line through it.... fortunately the serving staff didn't mind (actually they were laughing at us). Then it was back to the airport one last time to meet up with my friend Michelle and head to colder skies.






Dad and Zak went on a hike in Yuli.














Jeff and Sherly's twin boys along with some other church friends.













With Peggy near Yuli













The tea ceremony near Yuli. We also took a couple of boxes of tea home!














Hanging out in the Grand Hotel and trying out the complimentary robes.




At the National Palace Museum.

Our Dinner in Yingge.

Friday, March 23, 2007

busy, busy, dreadfully busy

A combination of factors have prevented me from posting about the end of our trip and my day to day goings on...
One of those factors is my computer which is on the verge of obsolete. See it crashes every time I insert a disc into the cd drive (preventing me from uploading pictures, since they're all on cd). It also has no internal battery to speak of and weighs as much as a small child. Did I mention that it's a laptop? haha So anyways, today I finally bit the bullet and bought a NEW computer!
Pictures and reveling to come soon.

Other than that, I've been traveling all over the place (Taipei last weekend, Hualian on Thursday) and starting lots of classes. Some co-workers were here doing school rallies on Tues and Wed, and it was nice to participate a little.

My leg is doing better, though still sore if I walk too much, but a couple of times this week I've left the house and forgotten to take my umbrella/walking stick with me! That shows that I'm not relying on it as much anymore.

Finally, the strangest thing that happened to me this week was that I found out at the video store that I won a draw! I don't remember ever entering one, but my grand prize was.... a bottle of pills. I have no idea what they're supposed to do.
Uhhhh...thanks?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Things that make me happy right NOW

1. Chai tea that I brought back from Canada
2. Good music that I forgot I had
3. My purple umbrella/walking stick
4. The red and yellow chrysanthemums I received last week
5. My cool and hilarious students, especially the ones I get to see tomorrow

What makes you happy today?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Down South

We had a 3-day excursion to Taiwan's southern part, with my friend Vivian from Yuli. She's originally from Pingtung county, and took a lot of pleasure in showing us around the area.

We also got a taste of aboriginal culture. Vivian is from the Paiwan tribe. Near her village is a cultural and educational area opened by the government.

There we saw a museum, shops and some performances.

We even had an English-speaking tour guide! She was a university student on winter vacation who was volunteering at the center.


Later we stopped to see some fresh mangoes growing. Can't eat them quite yet!


The next day we headed to Kenting National Park, and spent the morning at the aquarium there.

Just before seeing this sculpture of a giant squid, we were entertained by an ice cream vendor. He did tricks with the ice cream as he was scooping it and giving it to customers.

After a delicious lunch and some shopping, it was time to hit the beach! Actually I didn't go down b/c I wasn't feeling too confident about trying to walk on sand.


But Dad and Zak had a great time playing in the water.


And Mom even got a little wet (though not intentionally) when a wave came up and hit their feet just before this picture was taken!

It was starting to get overcast and cool, and we had a 4.5 hour trip ahead of us, so we headed back to Yuli shortly after that, all feeling like we could have spent an extra day there.

After reaching the southern tip of Taiwan just past the halfway point in our trip, it was time to make our way back.... more in a couple of days!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

hmmm

If you had to guess, what would you say the "Neuro Fuzzy" setting on my washing machine does?
It's about the only English on the thing and as far as I can tell it's on the opposite end of "delicate."
It will forever remain a mystery to me.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dr.'s advice


After pronouncing my leg to be "beautiful", my doctor gave me the ok to swim and ride a bike. BUT I can only ride a bike on the condition that I add two extra wheels onto the back (aka training wheels) because if I fall I risk serious re-injury. The bone isn't 100% healed yet. He said if I don't want to add training wheels I have to wait 2 more months to ride.
What do do? Having no transportation REALLY sucks!