Most people know my English-speaking skills have been going down the drain over the past 6 months but today was just a little worse than usual. Hence my title (I was going for Dick Clark during a New Years conversation) followed shortly by “Don’t count your chickens before their hatched!” Which Jacqueline of course had to point out made no sense and I meant eggs. I’m sure there were some others but it happens so often now I can’t remember them all.
Anyway… it’s been awhile. I think the last time I wrote I said Chris was coming. And as the few of you reading this already know (unless some random internet person stumbled upon this blog) he just got back to the states from his visit. He came for a little over a week. I was super busy the whole time he was here, and have been since he left, and haven’t talked to people much so I’ll go through all the details of his visit in here. His flight came in late Monday night so I went to school that day and then jumped on a 5:10 train to Taipei. I got there a little before 8 so I met Karin for dinner and then she showed me how to get a shuttle to the airport. Chris’s flight was supposed to be coming in 9:55 and we had to catch an 11:05 train to Hualien. The airport, I was told, was about an hour shuttle bus ride from the train station and of course it would take time for him to get through customs and get his luggage so I was oober worried about not catching the train in time (which was the last one out of Taipei for the night). However, his flight ended up getting in early and aside from the long customs line he had to wait in we were able to get out of the airport by 9:45. I decided to take a taxi instead of the shuttle to shave off 15-20mins even though the price difference was ridiculous ($35 vs $8). We ended up making it to the train station with a few minutes to spare and were headed back to my home, Hualien. There are about 3 different types of trains and ours was the slowest one so we didn’t get back until 3am.
I called in “sick” on Tuesday (headache due to lack of sleep haha) and we slept in until almost noon but once I got up and saw what a gorgeous day it was I had to get him up and moving =) As soon as I mentioned that our first stop would be the train station to pick up my scooter (I scootered to the train station to go get him but we took a taxi when we got in at 3am) AND rent him one, he was ready to go lol. His scooter was a lot newer and nicer than mine (which isn’t hard to find) and fast so he was excited. We got some lunch, ran some errands, and then headed out to a favorite spot of mine, the beach. It’s about a 15 minute drive out of the city so Chris got to really cruise down the roads and take in the scenery. We were able to get some good pictures at the beach and then headed back to town to go to my hair salon for a shampoo and massage. Haha, I know it probably sounds weird, especially for Chris but it’s really normal here. The salon is super super cheap and a lot of people, male and female, go often just for a shampoo and massage. They do your scalp, neck, and shoulders and it’s amazing! My roommate Cassandra had family in town also so we met up with them and Jacque for dinner at a Japanese restaurant that our friend Doris’s husband owns.
Chris had a busy and tiring first day and then had to get up at 6am to go to school with me Wednesday =/ He was able to meet my staff at my favorite school, who of course adored him, and see all my kiddos. Their reaction to him was sooo funny. Before he came I made sure to learn how to say this is my boyfriend in Chinese and as soon as my kids saw him and I said “Ta shi wo du non pon yo” (that’s my own spelling lol) they were all sorts of excited and giggling. We were trying to walk down the hallway and he could barely get by with the kids walking backwards in front of him and pretty much standing on top of him circled all the way around. Finally someone understands what I went through when I first got here =) I explained to him that in America we’re used to seeing all different colors, shapes, and sizes of people, but here, they don’t see much variety. So we would very rarely see someone who looked “foreign” to us until we hear them speak. But here, we are very, very clearly foreign and some of my kids have rarely seen that, if ever. SO, they just stare, and then stare some more. They literally put their face about 6 inches from yours and just take in every detail of your face.
Wednesday is a half day for students, and teachers meet in the afternoon, but it’s usually all in Chinese. So my director said Chris and I could leave early to go do some sightseeing. I took him to a couple of well-known spots that are near my school, the power plant and Liyu lake. They both are incredibly picturesque and he was able to get some great pics and video. That evening we met all of my staff for dinner in the city and my principal LOVED getting to introduce Chris to Taiwan Beer. They are so proud of their “Gold Medal” beer here and I told the principal before Chris came that he really enjoys beer. Principal Lee prides himself in having “good feet” the translation of a Chinese saying they have for people who are always up for some social drinking and wouldn’t be the person to cut out early- can stay and drink beer with the last of the group. I told Principal Lee a few weeks back that Chris has good feet too so he wanted to drink with him first thing. Chris gave his approval of Taiwan’s Beer (the food was a different story though haha) and seemed to have a good time with everyone.
Thursday we headed back to Nanhua again and he was able to see me teach my classes. Let’s just stay he is definitely not, nor ever will be an elementary school teacher. He pooped out after 2 classes and had to head back to his computer in the office because he couldn’t stand to sit through another Dr. Jean Kindergarten song about “Color Farm” or the alphabet, lol. Thursday was Dec 31st, New Years Eve, so right after school we headed to the train station to turn his scooter back in and hop on a train to Taipei. We spent New Years sitting directly under Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building, currently, and it was incredible. Incredible doesn’t even come close to being appropriate for what we saw. They shoot fireworks out of the building top to bottom, all the way around, and we were completely awestruck. You’ll have to check out the pics on Facebook and video on YouTube to try to get a better feel of what I’m talking about.
Friday and Saturday we did some sightseeing around Taipei, mainly just in the 101 area. We went to the top of Taipei 101 which I hadn’t experienced yet and Chris LOVED hahaha, then we met up for a little bit with my friend Staycie (a fellow Hoosier). Saturday afternoon we went back to Hualien and enjoyed a nice buffet dinner at…Pizza Hut =) After dinner we walked around the night markets of Hualien and started picking out gifts for people. I mentioned to Chris before he came that maybe he could hold off on getting Christmas gifts for people and get them really unique gifts from Asia. He decided against that and went ahead and got things at home so that he would have gifts for family on Christmas day. But then when he got here, the list of people to buy for seemed to grow haha. Suddenly we were consumed with tracking down gifts for 10 people. But shopping here is great and we got to travel around to a lot of my favorite spots to try to find great gifts for everyone, and people who know me well know that I LOVE to pick out gifts for people. Sunday we drove around (I rented him another scooter when we got back on Saturday) and saw some more areas of the city that I really enjoy and sought out more gifts. Sunday night we had a Mexican fiesta night at my apartment with Cassandra, Jacque, and Linda. Yum.
Monday it was back to school. My director Doris told Chris what his Chinese name was and I told him he should get a stamp made. So over the weekend we had picked out a marble stamp for him and his friend Julian. On Monday we left at lunch to take the stamps to have their Chinese names carved in them. Chris is “Ka lee si” and the “lee” part has three different characters he could choose from. Well we learned that one of them meant “power” so of course that became the one. We were able to go pick them up that evening which was really nice because it typically takes a few days to finish the marble ones. Tuesday Chris got to go to my other school for the first time and saw what it’s like for me there, ridiculously behaved kids and a staff who doesn’t really talk to me (with the exception of 1-2 people). It’s a completely different environment from my other school and again, it was nice to have someone from home experience it first hand. After school on Tuesday we had to catch yet another train to Taipei. Chris had to be at the airport early Wednesday morning so we needed to take the 2 hour train ride the night before. I called up my friend Karin when we got there because she’s a pretty cool cat and I really wanted Chris to meet her before he left =) We met her at one of the more well-known touristy night markets for a little stroll. Wednesday was an even earlier morning than school days to get to Taipei Main Station and catch a shuttle bus to the airport. I fell asleep on the bus but I guess we got caught in some traffic and were cutting it close, getting their around 9 when Chris’s flight left at 9:45. We had to say our goodbyes quickly so he could get through security in time and then I suddenly found myself all alone in the airport trying to find my way to the place to buy a shuttle ticket back to the city =( it was really hard after having company 24/7 to be traveling all the way back to Hualien by myself. But, I had a good book I was in the middle of so that kept me pretty well distracted.
Whew, that was a lot, haha, I love that I gave you all those ridiculous details even though they really weren’t all that interesting probably. I’m sure the pics and videos we both got are much more entertaining than reading through my novel of an entry =) But, I will end this with sharing that I finally chopped all of my hair off today =D Some of you already know this but I grow my hair out to donate to Locks For Love. This was the 5th time I’ve done it (started in high school) and each time it seems like the minimum length gets longer and longer. The first time I donated it only had to be 6 inches and now it’s 10. My hair grows really fast which is why I like to do it, but I’ve been working on growing it out for a while now so alot of people have gotten used to it long, especially people here, even though I’ve had it short many times in the past. I teared up just a tad when she cut the ponytail off, I always do, but after that it was fine. I even had her go back and cut it shorter after she was all done the first time. It’s quite a difference, but I’m satisfied with it. I have bangs again which is good, it was getting a bit shabby and out of control. Even Chris who loves long hair admitted that it was a bit too long lol. I took before and after pics but they’re on my friend Linda’s camera so I’ll have to post those later.
Okay, that’s really it now =)