Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

{Trumpet Fanfare} Hear ye, hear ye! Please note the passing of 6.5 kilos of ugly flab! That would be 14.3 pounds for you US folks. Ah, the little things in life that can make us so happy.

Next week is the last week of the semester, with the semester final on Thursday. So, I've been cramming for that, plus trying to write the compositions that I haven't yet written (yeah, I'm a slacker sometimes and do my best work at the last minute). And after the semester is over, I have 10 days off before starting the new one on July 30. I'm guessing I'll be bored senseless most of the time.

However, I do have one lovely thing to look forward to - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! The book comes out on July 21, and I've already pre-ordered at Eslite. So this week I'm re-reading The Half-Blood Prince, since it's been two years since I read it and have forgotten some of the details. This is a strange sort of anticipation, because this book is the final Harry Potter book, and I'm so sad about that. How can Ms. Rowling leave us like this? I'm hoping she won't, that she'll continue writing books related to other characters or at least set in the same magical universe. Surely she needs to make even more millions than she currently has.

One of my friends here in Taiwan is writing a book, and she's been letting me to read it as she writes. It's a quirky vampire novel, and I love it! After reading some of the complete drek that's on the market now, I'm quite sure she'll have no difficulty getting published, as her work is miles above a lot of that crap.

The weather this week has been truly miserable, hot and humid like you would not believe. We had one or two days of marginally cooler air thanks to super typhoon Man-Yi that was making a fly-by on its way to Japan, but it wasn't enough. Today is supposed to be a RealFeel of 106F, bleah. At least there's wind, which does help a bit, and it will probably rain sporadically all next week. Being the bright bulb that I am, on Tuesday I decided it would be an excellent idea to walk from school to Zhongshan MRT station. The temp was probably around 103F degrees and not a cloudy day, and no breeze. After my almost one-hour walk, I damn near collapsed at the station! First thing I did when I got home was take a cold shower and then guzzle down a bunch of water. Yikes, won't be doing that again soon. Although I will try to force myself to go for early morning walks along the river while I'm on my school break, instead of sitting on my fat ass in the house all day long.

I started teaching a brother and sister last week. Jerry, the guy, is quite good looking (IMO) but a bit shy. He's 33 and is an interior designer with his own business. His 31-year-old sister, Celine, is an interesting person. She says she has "healing hands" and can use qi gong energy to help people heal. I'm hoping to get her to try on my bad knee, which still bothers me quite a bit sometimes. And I'm trying to surreptiously find out if Jerry has a wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend, because if he's single and straight, I'm going to introduce him to some of my friends!

Wu Bai & China Blue will be going to Malaysia in August for a concert at Genting. I will not be going, because if I leave, I ain't got no visa to come back. Just as well, since it would cost me tons of money that I can't afford. I also didn't go to the autograph sessions that were held today in the central and southern Taiwan because 1) it appeared that it would be just Wu Bai and not the whole band and 2) I have to study for my final. Hopefully there will be a session in Taipei that will feature everyone. Not that I don't madly adore Wu Bai, of course, it's just that if I'm going to get a CD autographed, I want EVERYONE'S signature since EVERYONE worked on the CD, not just Wu Bai.

Just one more month and my friend Ye Ying will be leaving for Holland for her studies there. I'll really miss our language exchange sessions. She's an excellent teacher and a fine friend, and I'm so proud of her for passing her IELTS exam and being accepted at Leiden. If the opportunity arises, I'd love to be able to visit her there, but I'm afraid it's probably far too expensive a trip to make.

And then in September my good buddy Aaron will be returning from England, where he's been studying for the last year. It will be great to have him back, and I know he'll be happy to be on home ground again. He called yesterday, and we talked for an hour and a half. One of his best friends had gone to England to visit him, and the cheap bastard sponged off Aaron the whole time! This guy is a teacher who makes good money. The only thing he brought as a gift to Aaron was one single pack of instant noodles, that's it. He stayed in Aaron's dorm, in Aaron's bed, while Aaron slept on the floor. Aaron had to spend his money eating out every day while his friend was there, and not once did the guy offer to pay for a meal - even after he won 25 pounds (around $50US) at the casino! Like they say, with friends like that...... So yesterday on the phone I taught Aaron all sorts of new words: cheapskate, tightwad, miser, stingy, penny pincher, niggardly (which I told him to avoid using, as it sounds far too much like a very unpleasant word, despite having nothing at all to do with that word). I'm so grateful that my friends are the generous sort.

The first year I was here, I wasn't very careful with my money at times (what a dork!), and I also spent a lot furnishing my apartment. My bank balance dwindled by $22,621 that year, which is not bad by US standards but for a person without an income not so great. So the next year I was much more careful, and I also managed to earn a bit more from teaching. Yesterday I finally calculated the cost of last year to my bank balance, and it was $11,223. Wow, I managed to cut expenses in half without even realizing it! I've been working on paying off the two credit cards I have, so I've been spending about $250-$300 per month on that (and was spending a lot more per month that first year). So, once I get those paid off (I have about $2300 to go), I'll be spending even less. I just want my little nest egg to get me through four years of university, and I think I can squeak that by, especially if I can keep teaching just a little bit.

By the way, a big thank you to all of you who faithfully read my blog instead of sending me e-mails asking me what's new (yeah, you know who you are, if you finally dropped in to read, cuz I already chewed you out for it). I have to say that it's truly disappointing to know that some friends don't bother to read it, especially now that I write so little, so it's not as if they have to spend hours a day catching up on my doings. I admit that I don't check my Chinese friends' blogs very often, because it's not so easy to read the Chinese, but everyone who blogs in English gets an almost-daily visit from me to see if there's anything new. I may not always leave a comment, but I'm reading!


aetherwellen said...

Good work on your weight loss! :D

Good luck with your exams! Hey, I'm sure you'll find fun stuff to do during your break.

Aaron's friend sounds like the ultimate nightmare visitor. Has he gone now?

Steven said...

That is so lame of Aaron's friend. Why the heck hasn't he told him where to go? I understand the whole not showing anger thing, but being walked on so often???