Sunday, November 20, 2005

Weekly update time

Autumn in Taiwan has come again, and this time it looks as if it's really here to stay. The days have been overcast and cool, but not much rain, sometimes quite a bit of wind. It's a refreshing change from the heat and humidity of summer, but my skin is a bit sad to see the humidity drop. I watch the Taiwanese running around in heavy winter jackets while I'm in a t-shirt and just laugh. They're all saying how cold it is, and I'm wondering how 65-70 degrees could ever be considered cold! I'm still turning the fan on at night, but pointing it away from the bed. I use the noise of the fan to drown out sounds from upstairs and outside. This morning I'm wearing shorts and a sweatshirt inside, because it's about 62 in my office and slightly chilly on the arms.

The best news I have to offer is that after completing one week with the latest teacher, Ye Laoshi, I'm ecstatic! She's so good, and class has been so much fun, that I was actually sorry to have Friday arrive. This woman has what it takes to be a teacher - she's entertaining, gives clear explanations, keeps the class involved, and teaches more than what's in the book. And....I understand every word she says. Why? Because she's only using words that she knows we've studied, unlike the other teacher, who used about 10% words I knew and 90% words I've never heard before. Also, Ye Laoshi insists that we talk in full sentences. If she asks a question, we aren't allowed to give just short, yes or no answers, we have to repeat the sentence completely. For example, if she asks, "According to your experience, have you met people you consider to have a low standard?" we must reply, "According to my experience, I have met people I consider to have a low standard." and then most likely she will ask us to elaborate on our statements. The other teacher would just take "yes" or "no" and move on to the next question. Not much help. My confidence in my ability to speak has already made great improvement, and I'm looking forward to week two. And if they try to take this teacher away from me, I'll raise such a fuss they'll regret it! Even the jerk of a Brit who's in the class has changed and gotten to be tolerable and almost funny at times.

Yesterday I met up with two of my friends, Lisa and Vivi, to go shopping for a book for them to learn English. They brought along their boyfriends, William and Marx, and we had quite a nice time picking out a book, walking around, eating at a nice little buffet that had way too many yummy desserts, then going to the movies at the second run theater. We tried to get in to see Harry Potter, but every theater was already sold out, so we figured we'd wait a week or so. We ended up seeing Brothers Grimm, which wasn't bad at all, and The Cave, which was simply horrible (but the guys wanted to see it, what can a girl do?). Also caught the last 40 minutes of Must Love Dogs, which seemed to be a good movie. By the time we got out of the theater, it was too late for the MRT, so Marx and Vivi drove me home. DZ was irate at being left alone for so long, and she'd gotten up onto my dresser, knocking to the floor a piece of ceramic and breaking it. Little snot. This morning I caught her on the kitchen counter, too close to the gas burner where I was boiling some water, so I tanned her hide really good. Don't want my cat to go up in flames.

I tried to buy a new bed on Monday, because I'm tired of sleeping on the too-hard, too-small single bed I originally bought. However, IKEA was out of the bed frame I want, so I have to wait until the end of the month. Bought some curtains for the bedroom (been here 8 months, still don't have curtains in the place), but they were too long and the blue didn't match the bedspread, so took them back. Picked up a heater for when winter arrives, since all the foreigners here say it will get colder and I'll be sorry if I don't have one, along with two small bookcases (only $10 for both, wow) to put in the office. Guoxi was once again driving my ass all around town doing the shopping, so I treated him to lunch at The Outback Steakhouse. Hadn't had a Bloomin' Onion in a couple of years, so it was a nice treat for me, too! Wanted to order a Wallaby Darned to drink, but it was around $6 US, and I figured it just wasn't worth it.

Wednesday Guoxi invited me to his house for lunch, because his grandmother was visiting, and she's the best noodle maker around (he said). He was right. I had the best "liang mian" I've ever eaten. This is a cold noodle dish made with garlic, vinegar, sesame paste, a little sugar, and ground peanuts. I got Guoxi to give me the recipe, and as soon as we buy the right kind of sesame paste (gotta have the good stuff), I'm going to make some at home.

Friday night I made another cheesecake, this time using Oreos for the crust. It turned out fabulously, not overdone this time (because I finally figured out how to use the mini oven). It's too bad that sour cream is so difficult to buy and so expensive when I find it, because I'd make cheesecake all the time :) Well, maybe it's a good thing I can't easily find sour cream......

Next Friday night I'm going with Natari to see the Cloudgate dance troupe perform a ballet. They're rather famous here in Taiwan, so I'll have a report on that for the weekend.

No turkey dinner for me this year, and I'm a little sad about that. I think I'll just try to find a nice place for lunch on Thursday, something more expensive than I usually go to.

That's about all my fuzzy brain can remember about last week, so I'll sign this one off here.


Ranger Steve said...

That's great about the new teacher!

So at the Outback Steakhouse, do they act like Americans selling off American food as Australian food, or as Taiwanese selling selling off American food as Australian food? ;P

aetherwellen said...

Ye Laoshi jia you! So awesome to hear you've got a new teacher who's cut out for the job. :D

I passed the Outback Steakhouse once, sniggered and kept walking. It really is American food passed off as Aussie food - we like steak and chips, but that's not quintessentially Aussie.

Hope the Oreo cheesecake tastes as delicious as it sounds. :)