Posts Tagged ‘Xinzhuang’

An evening of geek

Tonight as I walked home from work, I had such a confluence of geekiness I couldn’t quite believe it myself.  I was listening to a college classmate’s band (which rocks like System of a Down, A Perfect Circle, and little bit of Coheed and Cambria) and thinking how well it would complement a science fiction show a high school/college classmate is involved in.  As I did this, I walked was walking past the goose-in-a-pot store (they have a LOT of goose–a lot of ALL the goose parts everywhere) and I saw a middle-aged man wearing black pants and a long-sleeved plain red shirt.  On a normal day, this is enough for a private Star Trek smile, but he took in one better: he was wearing a small bag slung across one shoulder that could have easily been a tricorder.  Seriously, the resemblance was close enough that I almost did a double-take.

Guys, this is why I don’t have a boyfriend.

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The glass is… not broken?

Every time I get fed up with my job (bear in mind today was my first day back from vacation, yet I still feel the need to vent), I look at this picture and remind myself that it could be worse.  For this reason I say the glass may be empty, but at least it isn’t cutting my mouth to ribbons when I try and drink from it.

Positive thinking!!!


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Occasionally, I run into students outside of school.  Usually it’s slightly awkward for me as I struggle to remember their name out of the context of the classroom and their classmates, and sometimes, as in the night before Halloween, it’s awkward because I’m walking down the street with my roommates, carrying open beers and heading to a bar.

Less frequently, it’s awkward because the student is weird.  This afternoon, I ran into a kid who I really only taught for three or four lessons, but who nevertheless always greets me loudly: “Teacher India!”  He never says hello or good morning or anything else, only the teacher’s name.  To be fair to the kid, he’s only been in English classes for four months or so, but on the other hand, he’s one of the best students in that class and it surprises me that he doesn’t try to branch out any farther.  The encounter kept getting more awkward, since we ran into each other at a bakery I don’t even usually go to anymore and wound up going in the same direction almost all the way to my house.  At one point, I stopped to pointlessly adjust my headphones just to fall back a little.

But there are also the great little run-ins, and after I lost Toby/Eric (he changed his name because Toby can sound like “pen-thief”), I saw Leah and her whole family.  Leah is one of my favorites from Tara’s class that I’ve subbed for long stretches, and it was just sweet to see her, say hi and keep walking.

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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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That castle on the right is an elementary school.

My current bank is a 30 minute walk north past an immense elementary school and through some large green fields.  They’re quite lovely, although the humidity increases exponentially the closer you get to them.  Recently, I discovered that the bus can get me there in 5 air-conditioned minutes, but most of the time, I just walk.

The last time I went, it had just rained and the snails were out.  Or rather, THE snail was out, and it was huge.  I took a picture for you.

Genus: Massive. Species: Snail.

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What a difference!

It makes such a difference just to get out of my city on the weekends! After about a month of spending weekends watching TV, doing Chinese homework, and taking myself on little walks around thrilling Xinzhuang, I was able to get into Taipei to hang out with my friends and just chill. We caught up on Glee and watched Toy Story 3, but most of all, we enjoyed each others’ company. It was great, and next weekend should be even better as I hope to go to Yingge. Finally, a place I haven’t gone yet!

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On your right…

I’ve taken some pictures of my walk from kindergarten to my house, which I take every day so I can get home and squeeze a little rest in.  I just yesterday discovered a reliable and more direct route, so it turns out I didn’t have to go along this main road like I’ve done since I moved here, but it’s okay.  The variety will keep me from boredom.

Without further ado, here’s the photoset on flickr, full of captions and comments, and there’s a slideshow below!

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