Saturday, May 14, 2005

Slow, rainy, lazy week

Not much to write about this week, that's for sure. It rained. All week. Every day. Sometimes for hours, sometimes for minutes, sometimes a sprinkle, sometimes cats & dogs. Yes, it's the rainy season here in Taiwan. I don't mind so much, because it's keeping the temperature down, for the most part, although today it's supposed to get up to 84 and the forecast for next week says up to 88, and still rain every day. It does curtail the activities somewhat, though.

Finally got out a bit last night, meeting up with Natari, Charlene, Gin (that's pronounced Jean), and Kieko for some food and chat. My three Taiwanese friends were having a rather serious discussion in Chinese, so Kieko, one of my classmates, and I had our own talk. She's from Osaka, Japan and has been here studying Chinese since February. I'm enjoying meeting people from Japan and getting to learn more about their country and traditions. Although I've read many fiction books that deal with Japanese culture, I'm never sure I can believe what I'm reading or if the author is taking liberties. Hopefully, I'll be going to Japan on holiday one of these days, getting first-hand experience. Apparently, visiting Washington state was an eye-opener for Kieko when she saw a sign at a school proclaiming the place was "gun free." The idea that guns would ever be brought into a children's school is simply unthinkable in Japan. Ditto for Taiwan. Americans might have the freedom to bear arms, but just think how many have lost their lives because of that freedom and some unhappy teenager (or even younger child) taking Dad's prized handgun to school and killing his/her classmates and teachers. Sometimes too much freedom is not such a good thing.....

Instead of taking the MRT at the closest station, Charlene, Kieko, and I walked to the farther one, around 11:00 p.m. Took us a little over a half an hour, and thankfully the rain held off, except for some minor sprinkles. Now, I don't believe I'd want to be walking anywhere in the US with just two girls that late in the evening, but here in Taipei I feel perfectly safe. There are always so many people out and about, many of them teenagers (but not the scary sort), and that fear element just doesn't pop up. And by the time my train dropped me at my stop, it was almost 12:30 a.m., and I walked alone back to my place, about 10 minutes, never once feeling uneasy as I went through the narrow streets and alleys. Some young girls, maybe 14 or 15, got off the train when I did, never having to worry some maniac would abduct them and commit rape and murder. I've noticed very young children out on their own, running errands, playing - and no parents in sight. Nowadays, leaving a child unattended in the US is an open invitation for a child molester to grab 'em. What the hell happened to our country?

Anyway, enough of that, let's just say that I'm happier than I ever thought I could be. Let it rain :)

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