Saturday, October 06, 2007

Getting Krosa to You

Once again we have a super typhoon paying a weekend visit. This time it's Krosa, and it's been krosing in on us for a few days, putting panic into the hearts of many, who say it's one of the biggest, baddest storms in the last 100 years. Jury's still out on that one, since it seems to me that typhoons in Taiwan always remind me of the little boy who cried "Wolf!" all the time. However, it's better to be prepared, so I have a bathtub full of water to use for flushing toilets should our water supply be cut off (apparently this happens) and boiled water to make coffee and for drinking. I think the water problems are more apt to happen in areas like Taichung, though. We had a typhoon on September 17, and everyone got the day off work and school. It hardly even rained in my area and it was sunny most of the day! The wind was howling at times, but not that bad. Didn't even stop the workers from continuing on the buildings that are going up close by.

So, right now I have rain, rain, rain, and then there's a little rain on top of that. Wind is still pretty mild, but I don't guess I'll be hanging my laundry on the balcony to dry today. Nope, the dryer will be put into use (as long as the electricity doesn't go out).

Next week is the last of the semester. Wednesday is a national holiday. Monday I have a small test, Tuesday I have a bigger test, and Thursday I have my semester final. Gee, the teacher just loves tests! We had a four-day holiday for Mid-Autumn Festival, Saturday through Tuesday. The Friday before she gave us four pages of homework to complete and told us we'd have a test on the first day back. So, I spent most of my holiday time studying. Paid off, though, because I did well on the test. I have no idea which teacher I'll have next semester and what the textbook will be like. Part of me is hoping for less homework, but another part of me knows that being pushed is good for me and helps me make progress. I'm a lazy soul and if no one prods me, I tend to not do anything on my own.

I still haven't gotten a working ATM card. The password never did arrive for the first one, so the bank cancelled that one and issued a new card pre-pinned with a password I'd selected. That one arrived, but when I tried to use it at the bank, no luck. Wrote back to the bank asking what the problem was, and got the reply that apparently foreign banks don't accept US cards with passwords beginning in zero! Would have been nice for both me and the patient woman who's been helping me to have this knowledge in advance. So, she sent yet another card, pre-pinned with a different password that I know. That was on 9/21, and it's still not here. What worries me is that I just received my September credit card statement, and stamped on the front was "Missent to Bangkok Thailand." Oh, hooray for the US postal service, which doesn't know one country from another! My friend Wendy, who works for the USPS, once mailed a package to Nigeria. It got sent to Nicaragua instead and took a whole year to finally get to Nigeria! So who the hell knows if my ATM card ended up in Thailand? Thankfully the card for the second account is still working, or I'd be SOL for sure.

My trip to Japan is set for October 14 through 19. I'll arrive very late on the 14th and will return on a 1:00 p.m. flight on the 19th, so really I'll just have four days there, and two of those will be used for visa application and (hopefully) pickup. Kayun is so sweet, she's going to meet me at the airport because she's worried I'll get lost. I think I'd be OK, but it will be nice to have someone to talk to on the hour ride to her part of town. I'll meet up with Kieko, too, and might spend one night in Kyoto at a guest house that's pretty cheap. I'm not looking forward to spending all the money for this, but I need the visa, and the Hong Kong office most likely won't give me one, so it's to Japan I go. And of course I'm very happy about seeing Luke, Kayun, and Kieko!

I'm still on the diet, but I haven't lost much more. The total lost is 9kg, not too bad, but for the last two weeks I haven't gotten as much exercise as I'd like, so the weight ain't budging. Nat and Charlene are doing so well on the Herbalife diet that I'm tempted to try, but I don't think I have the discipline to not eat in the evenings. We'll see, maybe I'll try it for a month or something.

I'm really bummed that Carol can't come for the Wu Bai concerts. Now I need to sell the tickets I got for her, and if I can't, Charlene and I might just go to the Hualien show, because we can exchange the tix for that venue. Originally, we had decided it would just be too expensive, because there's no way to get back at night and we'd have the expense of the hotel. But what the heck, we may do it anyway. If I return the tickets for a refund, I only get back 70% of the cost, so I kinda hate to do that. And besides, I've never been to Hualien yet! But dang, I really wish Carol could have come, since I didn't have a chance to see her when I went back to the US last year, and it's been five years since she's been to Taiwan for a Wu Bai concert!

Another friend, Krista, is mulling over the idea of perhaps coming for a visit during Chinese New Year. I have two weeks off, and even though so many places are closed, there's still a lot to do and see. She thinks perhaps she could come during the last week and then stay on a bit longer when things are back to normal. It sure would be nice to have company, because I'm always so bored then. Maybe I can talk Cheryl into coming over for the first week! Or maybe I can actually go to Hong Kong to see her (depends on what sort of visa I can get).

My friend Ye Ying, who went to Leiden, Holland, to study is finding that the Dutch are not very friendly. Her boyfriend, Xuan Yi, went with her and stayed a couple of weeks, and they traveled to Brussels and to Amsterdam, and he said they ran into some incredibly rude people. It's quite sad, really. I find the Taiwan people so friendly and helpful, always willing to assist me, asking me if I'm lost if I'm looking at a map at the MRT station or on the street. I recall how the first time I needed to take the airport bus from Minquan W. Rd. station, and I couldn't figure out where it was, a complete stranger went out of her way to walk with me and ask people where the bus stop was, making sure I got on the right bus before going on with her own business. I hope Ye Ying will soon be accustomed to the unfriendly atmosphere in Leiden and not let it bother her so much.

I miss my language exchanges sessions with Ye Ying, and next week will be the last language exchange I have with Xuan Yi, because now that he has graduated, he needs to move out of the dorm and go back to Tainan. Then he needs to do his army service before looking for a job. He's going to help me find a new partner. I get to see Shannon sporadically, which is nice, but she's working every single day, not even one day that's completely free, so it's not easy. She's going to spend the night Tuesday, since we have Wednesday off, and that should be some fun (but I have to spend a lot of time Wednesday afternoon and evening studying for my final!).

My Wednesday afternoon brother and sister students flaked out. Pisses me off, because I met with them first, told them that learning English wasn't something that could be done in a once-a-week, one-hour lesson! I told them they'd need to spend time themselves working on it. The brother is just too busy with his business, and since he was paying for the lessons, both and his sister have quit. Now I'm only teaching Claire for one hour on the weekend, and her friend Jessica is supposed to start, also for one hour on the weekend. Meaning: no money coming in. I guess it's OK, because I do need a lot of time for my own studying. I've decided that I'm going to be picky about students. Just like I pay for three months in advance and if I don't go to class, I don't get any money back, any new student is going to have to do the same. I want a commitment out of them! If they aren't willing to do this, then they aren't serious about learning, so forget it. I hate wasting my time, no matter how much someone is paying me. This way I should weed out the flakes for sure.

Oh, here's an ad I happened across, can't even recall where:
"Don't strees any more over which tense to use and how to rearrange your sentences on your college application essay. Let a Berkeley graduate help you to create the best written expression of your qualifications and get into your dream school. I'll get into your head and help you turn your cognition into English. A coheret and fluid essay makes a vast difference!! $2/per please contact via email (removed)

Rather pitiful for a college graduate to produce such a poorly written advertisement with spelling and grammar errors. I can't figure out what her actual charges are, either. Per word? Per essay? Huh? But hey, she could get a job teaching English in Taiwan, because she has a degree!

My friend Aaron is back from England, yay! So nice to see him again, and so funny for him to be talking about how fat he got there. Yeah, right, if he walked outside today, the typhoon would blow him away. I'd be surprised if he even weighs 140 pounds! His sister's wedding celebration is today, and I'm afraid it's going to be ruined by the typhoon. Part of it is supposed to be in Keelung, and that's on the coast and getting battered severely right now. Relatives from Hong Kong were supposed to fly in this morning, but I'm sure they weren't able to. He said when his other sister got married, there was a typhoon that day, too!

I guess I've written enough. I should be doing homework, but I can't get into it right now. Still, the wind is picking up, and the power might not last, so I suppose I'd best get to it while I still have the 'puter to use.


Romita said...

I was so worried about you and the typhoon hitting Taiwan. I'm glad to know you are OK. Good luck on all of your upcoming test.

aetherwellen said...

I heard about Krosa on the weekend, apparently 4 people in Taiwan died this time. :(

Woah, that's a crazy amount of tests! I know you'll do well in them. :D

I got a few letters with "missent to Thailand" stamped on too.

Have a great time in Japan! What cities are you going to? Is this your first visit?