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Posts Tagged ‘lost’

Today I had my first….oh shit, I can’t read experience.

I mean I haven’t been able to read characters in the past either however I’ve always had Tina to offer suggestions of what’s on the menu, what that sign says etc, but the past 3 days I’ve been adventuring out by myself, since Tina has teacher training from 1:30 till 4:30 every day. My own errands have been at my school, which is in the opposite direction from her work. Not a big deal, I can handle the subway, I can read the street signs since they have pinyin as well. I have mastered clumsily ordering coffee at Starbucks and buying super-glue at the bookstore. But today…I had to ride the bus.

While I knew what bus to get on, and in what direction, and how to pay etc. I had not accounted for the digital sign that flashes the pinyin for the next stop to be out of order, or the fact that only half the bus stop signs have pinyin, or that the bus driver would mumble the stop in an incomprehensible manner to my ears. So I’m riding, I’m staring out the window…I know where we are, I know where we are, I know where we are….we turn….oh crap. Was that my street? Should I keep riding getting further away, or get off in case I’m not there yet? Crap, crap, I can’t read any of the stop names.

So I get off. Better in the middle of the city than in the middle of nowhere. Inspect the map at the bus stop…nope still can’t read, haven’t magically learned to do it under stress, apparently. Lots of characters, which mean nothing. The only ones I know being women, trash, up and down.

Left the pinyin map at home. Great.
Decide, this is the street I need, since its called Ren Ai Rd, I’ll walk this way and hope I come upon Ren Ai hospital since that’s where I’m headed to pick up my health form. Logical? Walking, walking, great neighborhood, trees, nice boutiques, its quiet, starting to get a blister, walking more, walking, painful walking, realizing I am probably walking the wrong way on this road and have been. Blister is screaming at me now. Stop in front of a giant bank, while my feet are telling me I’m stupid for wearing new shoes. My mango juice isn’t so cool and tasty now, more like melted and warm.

Cabs. My saviors. Get in cab, realize cab driver doesn’t know English and my attempt at saying Ren-Ai in Chinese is really not enough info, since this road is apparently really long. Crap. Cab driver calls person who does know English. Woooooooo. Information relayed. We go to the hospital, its not that that far away by car, and I was only 5 minutes from it when I started walking in the wrong direction. Damn. Cab ride total – 95NT – 3$ US well spent. After getting my paperwork, I walk to the next intersection – debating buses again, then I realize there is a metro stop one block up since I can see the Sogo Mall towering above everything.

Wait, you mean I could have taken the subway? It wasn’t really far away, as I had been led to believe.  Dammit.
Take subway, limp .7 miles home, rip of shoes.

Spent the rest of the day trying to call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get my visa extended, get a busy voicemail – 8 times.

That said, we went to go look at an apartment. It looks pretty nice, if they come down on the price a teeny bit then we may just take it. It’ll be a relief to get to unpack my suitcase. We can also then go scavenge the tons of people selling their belongings at yard sale prices since they are trying to move back to the states and come back with all sorts of furniture treasures.

Also things that have happened:
Uncle’s birthday. Delicious chocolate and cherry cake. Red wine with ice. Why for the love of God ice in the red wine. Its reverse Europe, they put ice in everything, even beer. I kinda like the ice in beer but in wine. No. Plus I was served at the other uncle’s – karaoke-Uncle we’ll call him, “Taiwan wine”…which is like grape juice with a bit of a winey-tang. Pat- think of “The Show” wine we had last summer and you’ll get a good approximation. They all asked what I thought, so a thumbs-up meant, drinking 2 more bottles of it. At least it wasn’t very alcoholic.

Maggie, an aunt on the mom’s side, took us to see Millet exhibit at the Museum, however when we got there, there was a line down the block, literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people all waiting patiently for tickets to get in. HUNDREDS. On a Wednesday night. 3 weeks after the show opened. Amazing

Do they know something about Millet I don’t. They’re just paintings of peasants people. Needless to say we did not wait in the line, I can’t imagine what the inside of the museum looked like.

Instead, we went to a night market. Wandered around, did some shopping, ate some cold, sweet tofu soupy thing.

I have a theory that if I was ever to become toothless someday, I could easily live here without dentures. Noodles, tofu, steamed veggies, jelly things. No teeth required, slurp and munch to your hearts content!

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