We went to Luxy for the first time last night. It was a really fancy club, definitely one of those places where you go to be seen. A girl from work knows someone who knows someone who had a table reserved so we got to get in on that. It’s pretty cool to have connections and meet all sorts of people. I guess that’s how you make friends in the real world. Some female artist, Lumidee, was supposed to perform last night but that never happened. We are currently in another typhoon right now, so that might be why. Hopefully, we’ll get another typhoon day tomorrow.
Stacy handed me an card as soon as she walked into class. I asked her if I could open it right then, and she told me, “Yes, but no read out loud.” It was really cute because she was all shy and bashful when I read it.
“No, Teacher is not married.”
Riley pipes up, “Why not, Teacher?”
“I’m still young to be married. I’m only 23.”
“But Teacher, my parents say that when you turn 20, you can get married.”
“Yes I know, but I don’t have any money to get married.”
“You need money to be married?”
“Yes, to pay for things like a pretty dress and all the guests you will invite.”
“Oh, that’s ok, Teacher. You can just ask the boy’s parents for a thousand dollars.”
1000 dollarsNT? What will that buy me? 10 cans of beer?
So we got to check a few more problems before somebody piped up again. “Teacher, do you have a boyfriend?” And we went on a tangent as I told him about my boyfriend who is American, lives in America, who still goes to school, and when I told them I was six months older than him, they actually cheered. They wanted me to write his name on the board, and they were really excited when I told them he would be coming to Taiwan for Christmas and maybe in time for the Christmas Show at school. In fact, Joanne asked, “Teacher, where will he be sitting?”
A few more problems later, Riley raises his hand again, “Teacher, I have a question. Have you and your boyfriend be together?”
Thoroughly confused and a bit terrified to what he might be asking, “Excuse me, be together? What do you mean, Riley?” while silently praying, Please don’t be asking what I think you’re asking. I’m so not prepared to have this conversation with second graders.
“Be together. You know, be together.”
I took a chance, “Um.. like.. sit next to each other?”
“Yeah. Ooooo… Teacher.” Remember, second graders do not like the opposite sex. To them, they still have cooties.
“You know, Riley, I have seen my boyfriend.”
“But Teacher, does your boyfriend come to Taiwan before?”
I think he was confused as to how I’ve seen my boyfriend if I live here in Taiwan, and he lives in America.
I haven’t really missed missed home until today. I’ve been so busy trying to settle into life here and dealing with day-to-day hurdles that I took for granted back in the States. It’s all been so exciting and fresh.
I finally remembered that I had an iPod which I could really use on my 40-minute bus rides to and from school. Nothing has made me miss home more than music. Yes, I’ve missed my family and all my friends, but the constant communication via phone or skype or AIM makes it alright to deal with. But hearing songs after songs float through my earphones on the long bumpy ride as I sit watching the world fly by, I’m instantly transported to a place of familiar faces and good times.
I think I’m a bit homesick.
Fun Fact: You take a number for everything here: the bank, the post office, the hospital, any government buildings to get things processed, etc. I like it cause it’s more fair. And another thing, all the people who work in retail and the service sector are really really nice. They’re always smiling, always acting like they’re having the best day, and they’re really excited that you just came through their door.
I officially have a bank account, but the process made me want to cry. I get there, and I had to wait 30 minutes for my turn. Then when they finally called my number, and the whole process is done over the counter, so I got to stand for over an hour. Not like in the States, where you can sit in someone’s office and it’s comfy and you get a lollipop from their candy bowl. And of course because I don’t understand half of the Chinese language, I wrote the original application all wrong and had to do another one. And then, some technicality issues arose, and we had to deal with that. But all in all, I walked away with a debit card and my money in the bank. And the teller was really nice to put up with me and my dumb questions and confused looks.
This is what usually happens. I ask a dumb question in Chinese, people look at me blankly like I should know what the word says or means, or they misunderstood my question and are confused/offended as to why/what I’m asking, then I have to follow up with, “I’m sorry, I just moved here from America, and I have no idea what’s going on.” Then they immediately understand and will explain the situation to me, and sometimes I even get a, “Wow, your Chinese is pretty good for living in America for so long.”
But I’ve really been humbled here in Taiwan. I’ve always been an independent person, so constantly asking people for help is not my forte. I’m no longer the one who knows everything. I really can’t do things on my own if I don’t understand what I’m reading and having people walk me through documents and whatnot is quite an interesting experience. At least I know what it’s like to be on the other receiving end of what I’ve been doing with English my entire life with my parents and now my students.
We wandered down to Taipei 101 today. It’s a ten-minute walk to the subway station closest to it, and then you can take a free shuttle from the subway station to 101. It looks so much bigger close up. And the stores in the bottom of 101 are ridiculous. Cartier, Tiffany’s, De Beers, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or any other name-brand clothes and accessories that costs the amount of a small house or a really nice car you can definitely find there. We overheard a stat that 90% of the visitors are tourists and only 10% actually go there to buy things.
And since we were there, we had to go to the very top. It cost $400NT ($12USD) per person, and there was an elevator that took us from the 5th floor to the 89th floor in 37 seconds. Here’s proof from the elevator panel:
Buildings as far as the eye can see, in all four directions. They weren’t kidding when they said that there’s a lot of people in Taipei. I’m surprised the island hasn’t started sinking with all the weight.
Here’s the damper ball that keeps the building up. It’s 660 metric tons and very pretty.
We went walking around afterwards, and there’s a massive bookstore a few blocks away, as well as sad mall called New York, New York where the most interesting thing was the fake Statue of Liberty in front of it.
Fun Fact: They change the lights on 101 every day according to the day of the week and the colors of the rainbow, ROY G BIV. Today is Sunday, so the lights are purple, if you can tell from the picture.