This morning I went to yoga and intended to meet up with friends and roommates to work out afterward, but there was about an hour of gap time. I ate a banana and wandered the park in the drizzle, meeting up with an older guy who wanted to chat — in Chinese, astonishingly enough! I understood a fair amount, and he translated some words as he spoke (“Economics, economics!”), but toward the end, he asked if I had a boyfriend and the alarm bells began to ring faintly in the background. Then he mentioned his wife, and said he was just joking around with me… I think. At the next garbage can, I chucked my banana peel and politely begged off since I knew where he was headed and just said I had to go the other way. Definitely an amusing encounter, to say the least.
After I had exhausted the park’s thrilling offerings of batty old men and rain-soaked grass and concrete, I thought I might explore some of the streets by the park, since they tangle quite spectacularly in that area. Since I was getting a little hungry, I thought I’d get a breakfast sandwich, but discovered I was on the only street in Taiwan without breakfast shops!
As I was about to turn around, I spotted a sign and, since it was near 11:30, asked if they still had food. There were two ladies and a small kid, and as the older lady began my food, the baby started to cry. The woman who I assumed was the mom was a little confused by this, but I guessed it was me (whether because of the foreign factor or just someone coming in and disturbing his cracker-eating). She calmed him with a word, and he climbed down to look at me closer. I said good morning to him, and he blinked, took a large bite of his cracker, and we all laughed at his new-found cool. Then, he broke off a minuscule crumb (due mainly to his lack of fine motor control and not to bad manners or stinginess) and offered it to me. Of course, I had to accept and then compliment him on his cool Mickey Mouse hat.
It was a charming experience and I hope it buoys me through the rest of this day, dealing with my 2nd graders and 6th graders.