Friday, June 08, 2007

Plum Rainy

Let's see, it's been steadily raining for about a week now, with very few breaks. We've gotten 5 inches of rain so far today, and I was wading in deep puddles getting from the bus stop to the MRT station at Jiantan this afternoon. This is the 梅季雨, the Plum Rains season. The nice part is that the weather is much cooler, even though it's still quite warm during the day. I'm continually drenched with sweat, and I'm really tired of my paper sticking to my arm when I'm in school and trying to write. Still, I'll take this over California winter rains any day!

Observation: no matter how flippin' hot it is (with a RealFeel of 103 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit), you will see these teeny, tiny Asian women wearing long-sleeved sweatshirts, denim jackets, and other various forms of warm clothing. I'm not sure if it's because they're so damned skinny they freeze to death when the air conditioning hits them or if it's because of their unreasonable dread of a single drop of sunlight falling on their skin. There was actually an article in the Taipei Times awhile back stating that Taiwanese women were often deficient in vitamin D because of their vampire-like dread of sunlight. When my teacher went to Thailand over Chinese New Year and came back with a beautiful tan, her Western students complimented her on how lovely and healthy she looked, and her Asian friends started back in shock and exclaimed how dark (and therefore ugly) she was. Me, I'm envious of the beautiful color of her skin when she tans. I just end up turning a very funny color when exposed to sunlight, not pretty at all.

Got my official grade from last semester, and it was 93. I surely hope this means I will get the scholarship next time. Gimme money, gimme gimme gimme. I'm doing OK so far this semester, getting in the mid to high 90s on my tests (Wang Laoshi doesn't actually give a grade on compositions). I truly enjoy her classes, and I'll be sad when the semester ends on July 20. She'll be going to the actual university to teach beginning in September this year, so maybe I'll be lucky enough to have her again when (and if) I start at Tamkang proper.

Was going to go apply for a visa extension today but because of the torrential rain decided to wait until Monday and hope it lets up. If they say "no" then I guess I make an emergency trip to either Singapore or Osaka for a new visa. Osaka will cost more, but if I go there I can see Luke and Kayun, and everyone says it's never a problem to get a visa in Japan. Some folks have had issues with the Singapore office. Well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

More than minor annoyance: my friend Carol was kind enough to do some shopping for me, as I'd checked the US Postal Service's shipping rates online and decided just how much I could spend for some stuff. She ran all over and got the things I wanted and then went to ship it, only to be informed that as of May 14 the post office has discontinued economy surface shipping internationally, everything is now priority mail and hence much more expensive. Like costing about $5US per pound expensive. WTF? So poor Carol had to return a bunch of the stuff, since I wasn't willing to pay $5 to ship a box of low-fat Cheez-its! As it was, it cost me $37 for the small 7-pound box I got, but at least that was all stuff I just can't get here, important stuff like earplugs, ibuprofen, and hair color in lighter shades.

Hm, what else? Well, next Saturday I'll be going to the Golden Melody Awards, IF I get my visa extended and don't have to leave the country. Wu Bai's official website was giving away 50 tickets, and of course I got one. Being a foreigner does have its perks. Wu Bai & China Blue will be performing, and Xiao Zhu has been nominated as best producer for an indy band. Hope he gets it. Then the following week is the concert, also looking forward to that. The new CD came out today, and I was going to pick it up this evening but decided it wasn't worth a trip out in the rain. I'll go get it next week.

The diet is going well, losing weight albeit slowly. I've lost 8.4 pounds (today, Saturday, was weigh-in day, so even though no loss last week, at least there was this week!), and I feel better already. If I could get more exercise, I'd lose more, but until my foot is better, I just can't walk much. If I ever manage to get the home gym I bought in November put together, then I could use that, but I haven't found anyone who can help me yet. So, it's still in pieces in the spare room. What a waste of money, huh? I guess I should just sell it.

On Wednesday I got together with Sherry, the woman Hiyoshi used to teach Japanese to. I hadn't seen her for over a year. Last week I got on MSN, which I hardly ever do, and she was there, so I started to chat with her. Apparently she'd called a few times, but every time must have been when I was out of the country, because my phone never showed any missed calls. She thought maybe I'd left Taiwan. She's the one who told me about Hiyoshi's baby, and she said he had never contacted her, either. Because she's going to Tokyo next month, she called him to ask him a question, and then he told her about the baby. I was very happy to connect with Sherry again, because she's really cool. Hopefully we'll be able to meet regularly now. Oh, and here's an example of just how straightforward the Taiwanese are. We were at Sherry's house chatting, and her husband was there working (they have a home business). I was bemoaning my weight, trying to refuse the snacks Sherry was pressing on me, and she said I hadn't gained weight. Then hubby piped up with, "Oh, yeah, much fatter than before!" Gee, thanks, I needed that. There is such a thing as too much honesty. Never mind, continue to diet.

Next Wednesday our class is going to the museum to see the special exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors. If you don't know what they are, just click the link. Someday maybe I can visit the museum in China to get the full effect of the magnitude of this amazing project.

Can't think of anything else right now. DZ is fine and is still misbehaving whenever she gets the chance, although she hasn't torn up any posters lately. Life in Taiwan is still great, despite the summer heat and all the rain. I still love Wu Bai as much as I ever did, despite wanting to give him a good hard whack on the head sometimes. And...that's all. :)


aetherwellen said...

Congratulations on your grade! I hope you get a scholarship! :D

Hope you can make it to the Golden Melody Awards!

The Terracotta Warriors exhibit should be awesome. I saw the warriors in Xian in 1995, and it was incredible.

Steve said...

I read that Taiwanese women mimic Japanese women in that they don't want darker skin. They think pale skin is more attractive. Crazy.