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Airport

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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Semi-autobiographical

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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Level of discourse

Spam comments are getting more confrontational these days!  Check out this little gem from today’s garbage can:

The next time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I do know it was my choice to read, however I truly thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might fix should you werent too busy in search of attention.

I had thought my neighborhood was pretty green, but I guess there must be some blue folks around...

I also noticed something on the way to work that supports my argument.  There’s been a DPP poster up for a good long time, but yesterday morning, I saw that someone had blacked out the candidate’s tooth.  As I walked past later that same day, a group of schoolkids was going the other direction.  One boy almost fell over when he spotted it, he was so excited to tell his classmates!  All he could say was “Her tooth!  Hey, you guys, look at her tooth!”  No one cared but him.

It’s okay, kid, I’m with you.  It may not be mature or even very effective, but it’s funny.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Comedy of errors

Sundays are usually straightforward, but yesterday was the most complicated day I’ve had in a long while.  It started off well: I met my private 1-on-1 student on time and had a very informative conversation about civil law systems and common law systems, then went home to hang out for a bit.

Everything started to go wrong when I began to study my planned route to the hash in Sanxia.  My co-worker was resolved to go, and since he intends to buy my scooter and I wanted practice before I make my way to Jiufen by scooter, I thought we’d scooter there together, especially since I feel much more settled and comfortable on a scooter when I have someone on the back.  It seemed the national freeways didn’t allow scooters, but I wasn’t quite sure, so after consulting with him, we set off on the scooter.  We made it to Banqiao without problem, but then I asked a person beside us at a stoplight if we could go on the 3.  It was good I did, because my suspicions from earlier were true!

Sorry I have no pictures from this fiasco, but please enjoy this adorable bread from October.

After getting some ridiculously complicated–or just in Chinese too advanced for me–directions at a 7-11, I decided we should just go to Banqiao Station and take the train like the run’s organizers suggested.  At this point, we would have been only a little bit late, and my hopes were still high, but once we got off the train in Yingge, we couldn’t find a single taxi.  We walked down toward the center of the town, and when we finally found a taxi and hopped in, he kicked us out because he didn’t go where we were heading.  A gas station attendant recommended a bus, which we caught pretty quickly, but it was after 3pm by this point.  We quickly got a taxi, but we were supposed to follow flour from the freeway exit, and I couldn’t make that clear to the driver.  After trying to call a few people, we just had him take us back to Yingge, where we walked the pottery street and took a much needed break at a restaurant.

A bus brought us back to the MRT, and we parted ways as I went to pick up the scooter.  I thought I was safe, but no.  It had started raining while we were on the bus chatting about politics and such, so I got on my scooter a soggy mess.  I set off and had a strange problem with the engine just sputtering out.  Throttling up seemed to help, and so I proceeded until I mistakenly believed myself to be at the Sanchong bridge which would have taken me home the easy way.  I had missed the turn, so I started a long loop through some side streets and alleys where my scooter died for real.  An old man in front of a grocery store couldn’t really help, so he directed me to a scooter repair shop, which, it being Sunday, was closed.  I left it in a parking spot and trudged off to a bus stop.

The bright side?  The bus home went by Longshan Temple and I got a lead on a Christmas gift for one of my brothers.  Also, I saw a little bit of a traditional puppet show that was just puppets fighting each other to the clamor of cymbals and possibly live music.  It was part of a festival, and I’m totally going back before it ends.

And that was Sunday.

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Giggles

It was so much bigger in real life...

Halloween just passed, but let me show you a little picture of what greeted me in the stairwell a few days ago.  It was not fun and I definitely screamed a tiny bit.

Now, on an unrelated note, I’d like to talk about a strange mistake I’ve been hearing from my students more and more these last few weeks.  It really cracks me up because they sound like Gollum: clothes said as “clotheses” and eyes said as “eyeses.”  It’s definitely an understandable mistake, but it’s a new in my experience.  I wonder if there’s a TV show or personality who’s been doing this as a joke…

On that Gollum note, one of my highest level students also speaks German and is studying French right now, so she has a very peculiar accent.  When she talks about hobbies and habits, the words meld and twist until she’s talking about hobbits.  I wanted to let her keep saying it that way, but she works for the government and I thought it would just be too mean.

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Chickens

Shying away from the camera...

I went for a little walk this morning to run errands and what should I see but chickens in the park!  Not my park, but Dalong Park a little way up the street.  My park is the frog park, although I’ve never seen the little guys; I’m guessing Dalong Park is the chicken park!

They were hilarious, scratching and squawking in the leaves.  I gobbled at them a few times, but they weren’t having it and just bounced away quickly.  I had more luck whistling to the caged bird hanging by the mechanics’ near the shoe store.  At least he cawed back.

All in all, a fun, animal-filled jaunt, all in less than an hour.

It wasn't hard to catch up with them, though!

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Titular absurdities

This challenge always cracks me up, and I’m proud to say I’ve got two long ones this time!  I guess I’m feeling more creative than before

Both are four books long, and the first one requires no additional words of any kind.  Without further ado, I present this mystic mantra:

Sacred hearts ghost-walk the world inside the ear, the eye, and the arm.

Well, lawd-a-mercy!  Crazy things are going on everywhere!

Bless me, Ultima! The starfish and the spider rendezvous with Rama on the island of Dr. Moreau!

Actually, the last one sounds like it could be a code phrase from Captain America.  Was that movie awful or was it awful?!

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