Sunday, September 26, 2010

American Things = $$$

Today we went to Dunkin Donuts for some birthday coffee and donuts. Mmm! We are saving money til pay-day so we haven't been able to buy a coffee pot and other non-essentials. So this was my birthday splurge.
Dunkin is in the mall where there is a good size grocery store in the basement with lots of American goods. We walked around to see what we could find: a 30$ muffin tin, a box of cheerios for 9$, a jar of peanuts for 9$, Tostitos for 6$ and method laundry detergent for 13$ and a bag of shredded cheese for 6$. So every now and then we'll be making a trip to the American grocery store for a carton of Hagen Daaz ice cream that cost 10 bucks, and we're talking a small carton.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Y tu Hsinchu?

I think I often forget that Leah and I take on challenges that people often steer clear if at the beginning I am prepared for the difficulties that lie ahead, but once I get going, I forget, and act all surprised when thing get difficult and irritating. I mean, its the reason most people don't move across the world to live in a different culture. I felt like this when I first moved to D.C. I said so many times "I hate this #$%^&* city!", and then I eventually fell in love with it.

Well, Hsinchu has proven to have its difficulties and obstacles, and I think they get the best of me sometimes. Example 1: Asian people stare. It's just not an impolite thing to do here. So when the foreigner gets on the train, it's totally acceptable to stare at him for like 4 minutes straight, even if he meets your stare back. It's not the American stare but don't stare, and then look away if you get caught. It's unabashed gawking. I had this guy at the grocery store stare at me and turn in a full circle as I walked by. Then I stopped and stared straight back at him...nothing. Just kept looking at me, like I was a giant bald leprechaun or something. So, I raised my arms in frustration and let out a "WHAT????"...still nothing. After a few curse words, he finally looked away. I am not proud that my frustrations got the best of me. I guess I can just start going around saying Ni hao to every on who stares...but, alas I am human.

I got pulled over yesterday. In typical fashion, I got the treatment that "no one gets" and it "surprises everyone". Usually cops are rather helpful to foreigners, and for the most part they just wave you on once they see that you are not Taiwanese. Well, it seems that Billy Badass was on duty yesterday, and he was having none of my turning left on a green light. That's right, I turned left on a green light. You can drive down the wrong side of the road, you bust U turns everywhere, you drive like a complete maniac with 4 children crammed onto a scooter, but you CANNOT turn left on green if you are on a scooter. Fine, whatever, but dude took 40 minutes to write my ticket. He just kept looking at me and screaming in Chinese. When I would tell him, with increasing impatience, granted, that I did not speak Chinese, he would scoff and start yelling some more. Then he'd get out his cell phone, which apparently had 10,000 numbers, cause he would just start scrolling down..beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep for 5 minutes, call someone, look at me, walk around, look at the ticket, scroll, call, repeat. Anytime I'd ask what going on, he'd scoff and turn his back to me. The other cop wrote tickets for 8 people in the time I waited. I finally got my ticket and got to work just in time. I had my boss read the ticket, and it turns out it pretty much a warning. for some reason that made even more mad, and I was a very unpleasant teacher for my first 20 minutes. It didn't help that my student are catatonic in this class, probably due to the fact that they are in school for 10 hours before they get to me. I get a lot of confused stares and refusals to speak. They're good kids though.

In more hilarious news, I met the crazy old guy at the RT Mart. He is awesome. And annoying. And crazy. He is apparently an old teacher from some university around here. According to him I am "Superman" "The most handsome boy ever" "The wealthiest person ever" and Leah is "The Female Jesus" and "like a beautiful baby Asian girl". He then told us how to say thank you in 50 different languages. When we finally politely pulled ourselves away, we realized we forgot some essentials for typhoon preparations (wine and ice cream), so I ran back in. Crazy guy saw me, and started running towards me yelling "Handsome boy! Handsome boy!". I waved and ducked back into the store as quickly as I could.

Well, back to reading, which I am totally slacking on to write this post. I am lacking the endurance to read this much so far...hopefully it develops soon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Train Ride

So, I found this small book I wrote for a project I did in 2009 where I rode the subway and wrote a poem during every stop of the Blue Line in DC. I re-read them tonight, and I thought "I should share this with the masses". I wrote these all in about a minute or two. I still find them humorous. I decided to choose a topic beforehand, so I could write quickly and not be stuck thinking too much. Be forewarned; there is a lot of cursing.

Farragut West

Turkey, I roast you in my oven.
I eat you with potatoes and some fucking corn.
I make gravy of your juice.

McPherson Sq.

Get in my mouth hamburger
Your so delicately mashed
So I can taste your fat and blood

Metro Center

Green Beans are for fags, as my Mother would say
So I chop them small, so I still feel straight when I eat them

Federal Triangle

All communists praise the embalmed corpse of Lenin.
And eat pizza.
But commies use goat cheese.
Not mozzarella.


C'mon, eat my taco, you silly bitch.
Put hot sauce on that shit.
Lettuce, cheese, fuck yeah.

L'Efant Plaza

I went to France, once.
In my dreams.
I had powdered cakes and watered down wine.
Then and only then was I able to see the French, as before, they were invisible.

Federal Center SW

Oh, cheese, you vile mistress.
I will conquer the Mongols for you.
They are begging for it anyway.

Capitol South

I put NyQuil in my orange juice in the morning so I can live my dreams during work.
Occasionally I drool on the keyboards, but they are shit, anyway.

Eastern Market

Squash, Rhubarb, Cabbage.
These are all things a rich man carries in his knapsack while crossing the great deserts of Arabia.

Potomac Ave.

Little fishes, you have no central nervous system.
Which makes stabbing you with my trident all the less meaningful.
Lie to me, fishes, and scream in pain.
You are delicious fried and dipped in tar-tar sauce.

Stadium Armory

Nachos make a man...a man.
Melted cheese.
Boys cannot handle jalapenos until their balls have dropped and grown large.

Benning Road

Splattered green, flat and explosions on my plate.
Peas...I have vanquished you!!!

Addison Road

Oh, yes, flower up you uppity bloom of cauliflower.
Nourish my body...Great!
I am SO fucking thankful for your vitamins. Hooray.
You snide vegetable, you posh little plant.
Feel good about yourself.
Feel good about stealing jobs from broccoli.

Capitol Heights

What wonders lie stuck to the sides of my old repulsive microwave?
What stories could be told by burnt spaghetti sauce and old Ramen Noodles?
Those few who made the escape, only to perish in the radiated hell of my kitchen appliance.

Morgan Blvd.

Oh, worthless corn.
You do nothing for me.
Our affair was brief.
But you knew it, and so did I.
Now get out.
There is cab fare on the breakfast nook.


Little bits of food, I floss you from your temporary home.
I spit you in my drain.
My gums bleed in grief, but are quickly sanitized with Target brand mouthwash and a stern talking to.

Largo (Return)

What magic box can cook my bread so perfectly, to make it so warm that the butter melt immediately?
Toaster, what the fuck would I do without you?
Ignore those who say "Use a broiler".
Broilers are bullshit.

Morgan Blvd (Return)

Refrigerator, you squeaky, clunky, metal, old moldy box.
Keep my ice cream frozen and my Kool-Aid cold, and keep your mouth shut.

Addison Blvd (Return)

I put my stick of butter in you, butter dish.
Hold those melted juices.
Firm them up in the cold, cold refrigerator.

Capitol Heights

Stir, pour, on, off, on, off, on...done.
Blender of breakfast, grind up though naughty strawberries.

Benning Road (Return)

My dull knife.

Cut, cut, cut, cut, fuck, cut, cut, cut, fuck, fuck, cut, shit! shit, damnit! fuck, cut, cut.

Stadium Armory (Return)

How the neighbors will bow when they behold my mighty dishwasher!
8 cycles, and it warms dishes.
Those peasants will beg to wash their dishes in my kitchen, but I will scoff at them.
Scoff, I say!

Potomac Ave


Capitol South (Return)

Where art thou, magical machines?
Of which dreams, and sliders and 1 chop coleslaws are made?

L'Efant Plaza (Return)

Heated to a mushy texture, your steamy insides scald my mouth!
Your grade D meat churns the acids of my stomach.
But I am drunk, and Hot Pockets are delicious when I am drunk.

Smithsonian (Return)

Given as a wedding gift, you are worthless to me, salad bowl.
You are giant and wooden.
I cannot eat that much salad.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stir Crazy!

I've been in Taiwan almost 2 weeks and still haven't started teaching, which was OK till now. Steve started school today and I'm on my own till he gets back. It would also be nice to be making that money. So my day will be filled with cleaning and settling in to our new place and watching episode after episode of "True Blood".
We also joined a "tennis club". I would describe the court as playing on kitty litter. So maybe I'll go play tennis to get my body moving. I still haven't been able to find Bikram yoga, my favorite way to exercise, but there are many other kinds of yoga here to try.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Pour One Out For One's (Troll) Homies

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my stint as a "professional student", and I must say, its a bit surreal. Being in a foreign country not-withstanding, the idea that I would get a Master's degree one day is still a bit hard to believe. It is really a testament to how much the Lord has changed my heart and focused my energy, and a tribute to how much my beautiful wife has sacrificed for us and how much she has loved and encouraged me. So, now begins long days of commuting, learning Chinese, writing papers, eating sporadically, early morning workouts (blarg), and reading, reading, and more reading.

There is a lot of belt tightening, rice eating and penny pinching going on these days. We only get paid once a month, and that has thrown a wrench into everything. Things will be a little rough for a month or two. While we are confident in God's ability to provide for us, it's hard not to get a bit frustrated and/or depressed and/or stressed out. We ask for your prayers for our provision in getting through these next two months. We also have the puppy's ticket to save up! I miss that guy a lot though, and it will be awesome to have him here. I have to teach him to ride on the scooter. All the dogs do it here. At least all the cool ones. And Dex is definitely part of the cool crowd.

Today was an awesome day. The day started off sort of disappointingly, with a visit to our first church here in Hsinchu. It was not a good fit, to say the least. There are very few English speaking reformed churches here, so to have the first one be a less-than-stellar experience was really disheartening. We are going to keep searching, and hopefully we can find something. After church we took a loooooooong scooter ride into the mountains with a few the pouring rain. Its been raining off and on for the last couple weeks, and it seems every time we plan a trip into the mountains, the skies open up. Well, today we decided, rain be damned, and we slipped on our hideous rain gear and headed up. With my driving skills still in the novice stage, driving up huge winding roads with Leah on the back in the rain pouring down proved to be a little difficult. The scenery was gorgeous! We stopped to grab food at a Hakka street market (awesome corn!) and then visited a small Buddhist shrine with a fabulous view.

Enjoy some pics!