Archive for December, 2011


As the year draws to a close, I’m sitting in my parents’ living room waiting for my father to mix me up a Collins, whatever that is!  Things could definitely be worse.  I think reverse culture shock will be gentle, although the recycling and public transportation are things I’ll miss until I return to Taiwan.

I left Taiwan 17 days ago, and I’ve been home in California for 9.  It’s past time to wrap up this blog and start my new life!  I will, however, have a few back-dated posts that got lost in my drafts folder, so feel free to search for those in your spare time.

Happy New Year.  I’ll see you again soon, Taiwan.

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I like the wood and white with soft light. It's relaxing.

It’s weird: I’m not filled with excitement or full of thoughts of home.  At the same time, I’m not numb; I think my brain has just put off processing this for a little while.  I remember thinking when I woke up that the rain was falling far too heavily to be tears for my departure, but that’s about the extent of my dwelling on leaving Taiwan.  Perhaps it’s because my last two days have been filled with hassles like taxes and wiring money and packing boxes to mail.

Looks like a temple! Looks like a church!

Now I’m sitting in the airport, in a very nice and spacious departure lounge.  On my way here, I passed a lot of cute little nooks (Taoyuan International’s upgrading and renovating), but my favorite was the prayer area beside the butterfly garden beside the “King-fu Massage.”  The whole area was quite peaceful, kung fu notwithstanding, and there was a lot of thought put into the design.  If you look at the first picture, you can see that it’s quite modern-looking, and if you look at the first and second together, you can see how each prayer room’s door echoes the design of that religion’s place of worship.

Now I just have to wait for the plane and Japan.  Here’s hoping it’s as good as people make it out to be!

I leave you with the butterfly garden.

Terminal 1 is under construction; I hope when they finish, it all has this much green!


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I had a young student who lived in the Taipei equivalent of a mansion.  She didn’t like to be read to, but she loved being the teacher and leading me in activities that she would do in a normal school day.

This stick-figure collaboration came from an offshoot of “Writing Workshop” called, appropriately enough, “Making Books.”

The best part, I think, was when she actually sat still for the 2 minutes it took to read the book, and then we named all of the heads in the last picture.  It included her teacher Mr. Couch, her mom, dad, baby brother and herself, as well as her grandmother and maybe her aunt.

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35 minutes exactly

At 3:08pm, I got a reminder phone call.  At 3:34, I had X-rays taken.  At 4:09, I was out the door and on my way to the pharmacy.

What was this quick and easy appointment?  Wisdom teeth!  I had been terribly stressed about it because the overwhelming picture of this procedure in the American cultural imagination is of a chipmunk-cheeked, miserable young adult laid up for a day or two eating mush.  So far, the only real problem I’ve had is making myself understood, and frankly, that happens even without marble-mouth and a cotton pad clenched between my molars.

On the downside, they would only take two teeth and there isn’t time to schedule another appointment.  I guess I’ll get to experience this all over again, but the American way.

PS: It’s 5pm, so I get to take out the cotton pad!  The only thing I need to remember is to swallow my spit for the rest of the day.  No spitting it out; it’s all got to go down the pipes.  I didn’t understand why, but that’s par for the course.  Probably something to do with bleeding…

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