I remember from my earlier Chinese classes, one of the most common topics for essays (aside from 自我介紹 ) was 我的日常生活. So, true to my Chinese Ba/Bb roots, I thought I'd make a post on some of the things in my daily life here that are far different from my daily life at home (Berwyn, Cambridge, or otherwise). I've broken it up into a few categories...
Because of the size and (lack of) appliances our kitchen has to offer, in addition to the fact that eating at restaurants is very inexpensive, we have yet to cook a meal for ourselves. So far I've taken to eating most of my lunches and dinners at a restaurant right next to our apartment building. Though she has a more extensive menu, I've only gone for 湯麵, 乾麵, and 餛飩麵. Until we officially exchanged names and phone numbers, I referred to the young woman working there as "Noodle Lady." The other day when I got 乾麵 for the third time in a row, she gave me a hard-boiled egg "on the house." I'm not sure whether she was trying to be friendly, or gently reminding me to vary my diet.
But more on "Noodle Lady" another time. Spoiler? She is a great friend who has been immensely helpful in my settling in here in Taiwan.
A common form of food is the 便當, which is what they fed us for lunch every day of orientation. Every 便當 is different. I could explain it to you, or I could just show you a picture. This picture is of the best meal I've had here, from a vegetarian buffet one night. In the large compartment there is white rice and some sort of tofu, and on the right there are green peppers (top), lima beans (middle), and corn/carrots/eggs (bottom). Few can relate to my deep appreciation for lima beans... but trust me, these were amazing, thus earning it the "best meal" title.
Finally, in an effort to save the environment and guard against unclean restaurants, most people carry their own set of chopsticks around. Here is my chopstick carrying case:
Because the traffic here is dangerous and Kaohsiung is currently spending a lot of money on new public transit, our program directors are strongly advising us against buying scooters (the most popular mode of transportation). My roommates and I all bought bikes to help us get to and from our schools and other places in the area. While Dan went the fancy new road bike route, and Dani and Vicky got some nice standard mountain bikes, I decided to go in another direction. I wanted a foldable bike so that I could take it on the MRT (subway) or buses for free (can't do that with big bikes). Again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of explaining the ridiculousness that is my bike, here's a picture.
Yeah, this thing doesn't even have gears. Also, the basket has an elephant on it. In case you couldn't tell.
Also, the seemingly "Asian" thing to do is to wear one of those facemasks around to protect yourself from airborne disease, or pollution, or something. Though I initially thought this was ridiculous, after riding around on the back of Susan's scooter I realized that not getting stuff in your face as you ride in traffic has its perks. Alas, I bought a facemask:
(The little pink dachshunds on it are an homage to my two dachshunds back home.)
The Little Things
It's really, really humid here. So every closet, cabinet, and hamper needs some sort of dehumidifier. I hung a dehumidifying pack in a small closet when we first got here, and after a month, it was basically a Ziploc bag full of water. It's a little hard to tell but... on the left there's the bag I just removed (flat on top, full of water on the bottom), and on the right there's the new bag (full of dehumidifying stuff on top, empty on the bottom):
Also, I have a fish. This is not unlike my life at home, my summer apartment, or my dorm room, really, but um, it's a different fish? His name is T-Rex.
Well I hope you all enjoyed yet another glimpse into my Taiwan life. Sorry for the post of novel proportions... we're going for a Fulbright conference in Taipei tomorrow, so this post, like my very first, is just another effort to avoid packing.
Talk to you Sunday, when I get back from Taipei!