February 23, 2009

The Big Ass Market and Then Some

This weekend was full of events. On Friday we had our super student night to McDonald's. This is were the really good students get their chance to go eat and play. The parents come along and watch as you basically get their child to speak in English while stuffing their face with fries and chicken nuggets. The group that I was in charge of was quite entertaining. On your left is Eric and Engine. Eric the one on the left reminds me of my nephew Shane. Mostly because was very much concerned about eating enough food like he was going to starve. I of coarse didn't have a problem with them not talking it was more of okay you need to eat then we can talk. They also wanted to eat all of my food. They were more concerned that I might not finish mine so the students pretty much ate most of my meal. When my food was brought out to me the kids just kept saying "so good teacher so good" I of coarse shared my meal. I would hate for the little Taiwanese children to be left out of having a fully loaded fatty meal. As you can see the picture on your right this is Yo Yo I also like to refer to him as Yo Yo Ma just because I can. Here he is about to karate chop me for some fries so I willingly obliged. I actually asked him if I could take his picture but he said only if it looked like a cool picture apparently he has an image to uphold at such an early age.

On Saturday Rebeckah, Adam, Molly and I went to a movie and the night market. I also had my first experience riding on a scooter in traffic which is quite the experience. As the picture shows my little Taiwanese friend and me on the back I felt like at any moment I could throw off her balance if I moved but don't let those tiny Asians fool you. They have quite the leg strength I would have to say it is the result of using squat toilets I mean doing squats really strengthens your legs. Before heading to the movies we stopped by the gas station. After she filled up the scooter Molly said that the gas attendants watch out for you. I said what if someone said that in America they would be considered a stalker. Asians are really nice they are always concerned for you safety. We went to the movies and at the theater they have assigned seating. You are also allowed to take any type of food into the theater. I was informed as soon as the movie starts we switch seats. It was so enjoyable to watch a movie it seemed like it had been so long. I enjoyed it so much that the next day I went again and because it is 140 Taiwanese dollars which ends up being a little more than 4 american dollars you cannot beat that. After the movie we decided to go to the night market. When Molly was telling us which one we were going to Rebeckah and I thought that she said we will now go to the Big Ass market. I started to immediately laugh. Molly seemed really confused. I then tried to explain the word Big Ass. This was quite a comical moment in the evening pointing to my dairy air and saying big. Molly laughed really hard about it. She said it is Asslan Night Market it is the biggest market in Changhua. I then said well I'm just going to call it the big ass market because I feel that I enjoy swearing when ever I can. When we got to the night market it was a challenge trying to find parking. Look at the crazy photo below. When we arrived I kinda felt like everyone was staring which they were but sometimes I get used to it then I realize we stick out like a sore thumb. First of all we are white and I have what some might consider red hair.I mean my roommates Rebeckah and Adam are over six feet tall which is nice because I can always find them. The funny thing is when people do the double take and you can tell that they are trying to get the rest of their family to see us. It was crowded and pretty much Molly and I linked up because we are on the average height and if I was going to get lost in the crowd it would be with her because I could understand her. We tried a wide variety of foods and desserts. I also had an Asian man totally stop look directly down my shirt and walk on. The thing about Asian men is they are not sly at all there is no hiding about it. Just for the record it was not a low shirt. I really just thought to myself that was hilarious. The one of the best part about hanging out with Molly is is that she tells you what other people are saying and she asks a lot of funny questions. For example she asked about the phrase If you were a booger I would pick you first. I laughed for a bit then said it just is a funny way to say your their favorite. During the night market we also saw some Asian card tricks. The guy had a lot of his friends hanging out behind him. So I asked Molly so is this like his Asian paucy/peeps? She said what does that mean? I then explained you know like his friends or his people. She laughed and said yes. I figured I will teach Molly the slang and she just might teach me some Chinese swear words. I figure its a win win situation at best.

February 17, 2009

Cingjing Farm

Yeah that's right. I came all the way to Taiwan to see a sheep farm. My friend Molly called me the day before and said would you like to go to a farm? I said what? she replied just say yes. So like a loyal friend I said yes. I was also curious what would an Asian farm consist of? So Molly, Colin, Jerry, Janae and I headed out for Cingjing Farm. I was very excited because I felt like this was my opportunity to learn more Chinese. I was a little nervous hanging out with my new Taiwanese friends because I didn't know how much English they knew. After knowing Colin for a total of 5 minutes he said "will you give me name". I said that I would have to think about a name for him because he requested that his new name would start with the letter M. I gave him a lot of options like Michael, Mathew, Macgyver I was secretly hoping that he would choose Macgyver. I said you should switch it up I will call you different name every so often and if "you no like" we'll get rid of it.
The farm was way up in the mountains and it was kinda chilly. I feel like the saying another mans trash is another mans treasure is appropriate. We hiked up to pretty much the top of Taiwan which was beautiful. The sheep would just follow you demanding food. When we arrived I noticed that everyone had a camera with a tripod. When we bought our tickets my friend Molly was talking to the ticket office. I could tell that she was trying to get a discount because she kept saying megorian(American). Lets just say I was the only whitey on the mountain that day. While touring the evergreen grasslands(Cingjing) I noticed something different about cultures. Asians don't mind just taking pictures of just themselves. However I am not accustomed to this. Molly kept saying I will take your picture. I said I don't do the solo Asian picture thing. However I did take more solo pictures than I usually do. I think Molly would have to be the funniest person I know. We have the same sense of humor and she is willing to do outrageous funny pictures which I adore. Colin and Jerry said that Molly and I have the same personalities. Colin then said "you twins". I then said except she is the cute tiny Asian girl and I'm the red headed step child. They all laughed and said "you so funny" when Asians laugh it always takes me off guard. Because I am usually not ready for it. The high pitched giggling and the covering of the mouth really throws me off. I think the high light of the day would definitely have had to have be the sheep shearing show. My new friends Colin, Jerry and Janae kept asking "do you know" I instantly said Oh ya. Even though I cannot understand Chinese I get the just of whats going on. It was like sea world shamoo but with sheep. We watched the man blow a whistle and the dogs chasing after the sheep running down the steep hills. And then the highlight of the performance would definitely be the shearing of the sheep by an Asian cowboy. It was quite the eventful day. Since it was Valentines day Colin decided to asked "what type am I". That is the thing about Asians they ask questions that most Americans wouldn't dare ask. Like how many boyfriends have you had? What went wrong in your last relationship. I quickly responded I am not sure I would have to say A or B positive of coarse. He immediately said No type of she. I said I'm not really into that.(I knew exactly what he was asking but Asians get he/she mixed up so I just kept going with it) I said well my type of guy would have to be nice and caring towards others(I find myself trying to model appropriate English but most of the time I find myself speaking chinglish). Colin said how tall. Well I would have to say at least taller than me. He then told me that in Taiwan you are very tall. I replied with well that's the first time anyone has called me that. Being around my Asian friends listening to them speak made me feel like I could understand what they were saying. When Molly dropped me off one of guys were outside and started talking to me in Chinese I understood everything he was saying. He was inviting me up to his apartment for tea. I immediately responded with boo yao shae shae(no thank you). I was a little taken back by me actually responding and understanding the language and refusing a perfectly good cup of tea.

February 9, 2009

Baseball, McDonald's and Asians Oh My

On Saturday I got invited to play baseball with some of the kids that go to the school that I'm working at. I find it hilarious because if you have 5 Americans what would be the best activity for them? Baseball and McDonald's of coarse. Whats more American than that. The other day one of my little Asians asked me do you have baby inside or did you go to McDonald's. I didn't get upset with the little girl. Because lets face it isn't her fault she has not been exposed to the effects of childhood obesity. She also doesn't have the genetic makeup that says every winter you must keep on the pounds also known as winter weight. Those Asian mothers just layer their children like marshmallows one day in the younger class we counted how many layers we were wearing. One child said Teacher I have seven! (this is not a joke because I questioned him at first but he definitely took this one home) Sorry I get so side tracked. When I was invited to play baseball I immediately got nervous because first of all I haven't played since tee ball. Which not a whole lot has changed except my hair is a little bit manageable and I'm taller. We were picked up and crammed into a car like little sardines. Its a good thing Asians really know how to lap it and it also helped that we caught a ride with the smaller of the bunch. We went to an elementary school to play some baseball. One thing I have to mention is that most parents in Taiwan do not speak English or they are a little scared to attempt the language. So the children usually translate. One of the little Asians were a little scared at first. But with in the first hour I felt like she was attached to my leg. One of the parents then said "we must stretch" "then we run". I thought to myself oh no. They really take this seriously. If I have to already start running I'm not going to make it. I just don't have the endurance. We do some stretches and run around the track. Then another parent says "we must play" they quickly set up a tee ball contraption. I immediately think Oh I can handle this. We started playing at 5 till sun down. The young Asians have quite the stamina because it is very hard to run base to base with at least two little Asians attached to each leg. It weighs you down a little bit more. It was funny I didn't have to pay attention to when I was suppose to bat because this Asian would just come up and say you now. We then ate McDonald's and lit lanterns while the children showed us the play equipment at their Chinese school. I now know why Asians are so small and stay fit. The play equipment is work out equipment. If those little Asians had any idea. They might throw a riot and only go to school 8 hours a day instead of 12! It was a lot of fun getting to know some of our students families and seeing how they act around them. You could tell that the parents were very proud that they were improving their English. While my quality of speaking English is diminishing but I guess it wasn't high quality to begin with.

February 3, 2009

Taipei and the Brothels

A day later Leslie and I decided to go back for some more fun. So we packed our overnight bags and headed out for Taipei. We then got standing tickets yet again. But we got some good standing seats. We had to fight off a couple of Asians for them but it was well worth it. We arrived and went to the hotel and went shopping and did some site seeing. We went to a couple of temples and it was very interesting to watch what was going on. There was a lot of chanting and lots of smoke. At the Lonshan Temple we met Mavis this girl kept looking at me and I could tell she really wanted to talk to me. I also noticed her brother had on what I would call a dog carrier sling. In Asia mens standards of what they wear are quite different. I don't think that I have seen so many foofy dogs in slings and man purses apparently they have no shame or they are very comfortable in their sexuality. Asian men definitely have different standards they wear pea coats, have better hair styles and look better than some of the other women. I really didn't understand what was going on in the temple so Mavis told me what was up and I recorded her so check it out. They also leave food or other things that they might think that the gods might need in heaven. In observing what they were giving to the gods. It looks like the gods have munchies and some bad breath. I noticed that there was a shrine of chocolate pies and a lot of chewing gum for bad breath. That's right that is exactly what it said on the package. I thought to myself now if god has bad breath don't you think we should give him a toothbrush and some Colgate all whitening toothpaste. I mean come on lets fix the halitosis not cover it up. One thing that I found interesting is that things that the people give to the gods live food, money etc is things that they need in the next life. I saw a wide variety of things that they burn like paper I pods, paper scooters, paper cars etc. I am thoroughly enjoying how different the culture and customs are here in Taiwan. After going to the temple we continued shopping. Down an alley way there were a lot of old antiques. So everything looked authentic which to me means really old. Then I started to look closer and it was kama sutra. I was a little surprised and confused because it looked like two girls and because I for some reason thought that Asians were a little on the conservative side. Then I started to look around and noticed most of the people were men on the street. I later found out that this area at one time was a brothel and it didn't close to long ago.
We stayed in a hotel that was quite luxurious. It had a huge flat screen TV and slippers and such. We also had a complementary breakfast that was included. The first day Leslie and I got up to get some breakfast. We enter the cafe and there is salad, noodles, some type of cabbage, potato salad and some toast. We were both a little on the disappointed side because first we got up early thinking that it might consist of bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gray. But that is probably why Asians are so skinny because they are havin lettuce, noodles and some toast for breakfast. While the Americans are livin it up consumin those calories which is probably why there is an obesity problem. I just figure go big or go home. On the way home we took the slow train to Changhua. We had sitting seats I figured we did a lot of walking we deserved to sit. However if I would have known who was going to be seating next to me I might of had second thoughts. It was an older very traditional man. Long beard long pinky nails which they are not snorting cocaine don't worry about it they are just bringing honor to their family by using it to pick their noses. Well the man started belching really loud. Which you get used to but it was so gross because every time he burped I felt like I just ate sloppy seconds of what every he was eating. Thank goodness he was only on for an hour. I don't think I could have made it much longer. The next person would just turn and stare. I couldn't even tell if this was a man or women. I could tell that they really wanted to talk to me. She/he turned and said whats up? I said nothing much just riding the slow train. He/she continued to think of things that he/she could ask. I noticed they quickly pulled out a notebook and started to ask me questions like whats your favorite color? Where are you from? Can you teach me English? Of coarse I reply all of the questions accordingly and the last one i said well I am still trying to master that one. I then told her that it would be breaking my contract. He then wrote what is your phone number? I told him I don't know which is true and then he asked for an email so I gave it to he/she and he/she said love ya. I felt like this was one of the most awkward moments in my life. But I figure there is only more to come.

February 1, 2009

Taipei Baby

During the Chinese New Year we traveled to Taipei. We got on the train and had standing tickets on the high speed rail. I just don't know how these Asians can do it. I mean my out of shape American legs couldn't take the strain. While traveling I noticed a small Asian(when I say this it means smaller than the Asian norm) man in the corner. He was folded straight up literally the only reason I noticed him was because of the consistent belching which the Asians don't hold back at all. I also noticed a man hitting his legs so of coarse maybe this will help. I gave it a shot and while trying to get my leg muscles to relax. I kept thinking to myself when I come back to work and they notice all these bruises on my body what I am I going to say? Maybe I could tell them I got in an Asian gang fight in the brothel district or I was fighting over a pair of shoes for a killer price. The hitting of my legs helped and after a 2 1/2 ride we arrived. We then bought a MRT pass and headed to the Taipei 101. We made it and took some pictures and did a lot of shopping. Then we went to find a place to eat. Of coarse we went straight for Chili's as soon as we say the sign I started singing "I want my baby back baby back ribs". American food never tasted better and it helped that we had a highly attractive waiter named Anders. My roommates said to me Hanna you meet people everywhere you go. This usually works in my favor. After Chili's we got back on the MRT and we were going to try to catch the late train back home. But of coarse we got lost and I met a nice friend named Richard who works for one of the baseball teams. I made sure to snap a picture of our new friend on the way to the night market. We went to this huge night market and the shopping was outrageous. My favorite part of the evening would have to have been that we saw an albino Asian. Yeah you heard me right an albino Asian. I couldn't believe my eyes. I did a double take and I immediately went for my camera and I couldn't find it. I was so disappointed. After the intense shopping we headed back to the MRT which we found out closes at 1. So we wandered back to the station and ended up at the grand hotel. It was amazing which you can see in the picture. I'm not sure that we were suppose to be on the premises but were Americans we don't know any better. They immediately called a taxi for us. When We arrived we realized that the train station closes at one and that it doesn't open until five. So we went to good old McDonald's. We ordered us a cup of hot coco and slept in McDonald's. Please do not be alarmed a lot of stranded/homeless Asians are doing it too. Apparently it quite the hot spot to sleep if only there had been a play place it would have really topped off the night. We finally made it on the seven train back home. Its also good to know that if you are ever stranded in a foreign city you can just stop by the local McDonald's and sleep there because lets face it its a whole lot cheaper!


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