Posted in Taiwan, tagged exercise, language, me, music on Wednesday, 27 July 2011|
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I’ve been lazy for a month or so, but when both classes were canceled today and the weather wasn’t horribly hot, I knew I had no excuse not to go to the gym. It felt good, and, as usual, it was hilarious and weird. The music is often a bit old and sometimes utterly unsettling. As I was lifting weights (they ARE in kilos, by the way; I’m not as wimpy as I thought I was!), a song came on calling for a toast to douchebags and assholes, including such lyrics as “I sent this bitch a picture of my dick” and “24/7, 365, pussy stays on my mind.” It turns out it’s a Kanye West song and I often enjoy his music, but that doesn’t change the fact that the words are supremely bizarre, unnerving, and unhelpful to hear in the middle of a workout.
When I finished, I went downstairs to check out the pool and “Steaming Rooms.” The pool’s pretty big, and I might take advantage of it at some point, but the best part was the downstairs translation of steam room: oven. There is a Gentleman’s Oven at my local gym, folks.
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Posted in Taiwan, tagged Chinese, culture, exercise, religion, school on Sunday, 12 June 2011|
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Midterms have sprung upon me suddenly, so instead of going hashing today and whiling away a good 6 or 7 hours in travel, running, laughing, and drinking, I decided to stay home and focus on my speech, powerpoint presentation and essay. I’m not super-pleased, but on the bright side, I let myself wake up naturally (which was a bad idea, as my body decided on 6:58) and had none of that leaden dread that can happen in the mornings.
In keeping with my goals of more activity and more air conditioning, I went to the gym after a healthy breakfast of bacon and fried onion-thing-bread. I paid my 50元 for an hour using the long thin room on the third floor, but on the way up the stairs, I was distracted by chanting. From the third floor, I could see a large Buddhist service on the basketball courts. The music was pleasant, but even after reading the wikipedia page I found based on the 南無阿彌陀佛 banners, I’m still perplexed on the structure and significance. I guess I’ll find out next week if it’s a recurring service in the community center, or just a one-time event. There seemed to be sign up tables as I passed by the 2nd floor landing, but I was too cowardly to ask questions with my paltry religious vocabulary and I was worried distractions would sap my workout resolve.
The gym itself was nice enough: not too big and with a comfortable mix of genders, sizes, and dedication. I tried a rowing machine just because there were some people I could watch to check myself (and for some dragon boat nostalgia, although the motion was utterly unrelated), and some free weights, just because they’re the same in every language. Now that I think about it, though, they should have been in kilograms… I would feel so much buffer if my arm work was done with 4kg weights!
Now to write a presentation on the Chinese Chicken Little.
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Posted in Taiwan, tagged Chinese, culture, exercise, funny, language, people, wandering, Xinzhuang, yoga on Thursday, 28 October 2010|
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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.
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