I think I often forget that Leah and I take on challenges that people often steer clear of...as 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.