Archive for August, 2007


They’re Everywhere!

August 30, 2007

Yesterday one of my students told me that her mom sees me at the gym everyday. I’ve never met her mom, but it was a reminder of how often I’m being observed without my knowledge.

Over and over I discover that people I see all the time are my students’ parents. I’ve never had a parent tell me themselves. They don’t speak English or aren’t confident about English or just don’t want to talk to foreigners, or something. But gradually, from students or third parties, I learn: The beef noodle vendor is Lucy’s mom, the owners of the pasta place are Alice’s parents, one of my older students (still not sure which one) is my neighbor’s friend’s son. I must have around 200 students, all of whom live right in this area. That’s a lot of parents. They are everywhere, and they are watching. I’ve never met most of them but you can bet they know who I am. The really tall white girl, I doubt further description is needed. In general, people here are overly curious about everything I do, and to some extent I always feel like I’m under the microscope, but it’s just that much more disconcerting when I think they might be parents.

I had a discussion with a coworker about this yesterday and she pointed out how often parents see us at our worst and we don’t even know it. Make a stupid language mistake at the 7/11…a parent is watching, nearly crash the scooter… a parent is watching, walk home drunk at 4 AM… a parent is watching, get impatient and glare at the person who is giggling and pointing at the foreigner… well that person probably IS a parent. As if I wasn’t paranoid enough what with the staring and pointing and talking about me in Chinese while I’m standing right there, I also have to worry about parents! They are everywhere…. watching us…


Running and Complaining, Complaining and Running

August 28, 2007

Sometimes I think back fondly on the days when I could make a quick drive to Costco and back without getting blistering sunburns on my shoulders. Not that I ever went to Costco in the U.S., but never mind that. The point is, it’s HOT.

Fortunately, I won’t have to worry much about sunburn over the next month or so, since I will have absolutely no opportunity to go outside in the sun. I will be at work. All the time. Two of my coworkers are quitting without much notice, so there won’t be any time to find replacements for them. This means that those of us who are left will have to take on quite a few extra classes. Although, given their individual circumstances, I can’t blame either of my coworkers for leaving, it puts me in a very frustrating situation. My free time will largely disappear. There is no word yet on how soon we can get new teachers to fill those positions.

Now that I’ve whined and complained for a couple paragraphs, let’s see if I can come up with something positive to discuss….

Remember Taroko Gorge, where I spent last Christmas with Dad and Quinn? (Follow the link and scroll down for Taroko pictures.) Every November there is a Marathon in Taroko. It is, apparently, the “only Marathon run in a gorge”. Whoopty-do. Anyway, I’m planning to go down there and do the half marathon. I’ve never been much of a long distance runner, but I guess this is the year (year and a half?) for trying new things. It should be beautiful. And very hot, and very uphill. Or maybe very rainy and very uphill, depending. Uh oh, I’m coming dangerously close to whining and complaining again so I better stop.

This could be me!


Not That Super

August 19, 2007

The Supertyphoon failed to live up to its exciting title, at least here in Taipei. It was rainy and windy (no kidding, right?) but nothing spectacular. Oh well, I got two days off work, who am I to complain?


Typhoon’s a comin’

August 17, 2007

It looks like Taiwan is about to be hit by a typhoon. Not just any typhoon, a “supertyphoon”. They call it Sepat. Apparently the center of it will hit Kaohsiung and Taichung, so I don’t know what that will mean for Taipei. I guess I’ll find out in the next 24 hours!