Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Random Collage of Senryu's Impressions of Taiwan…

What follows are quotes from Senryu’s letters home, giving some impressions of the sights and realities of living in Taiwan. The headings and paranthetic comments in green are mine.

On Necessities:
“Normal Toilet (as opposed to a squatty potty.) *thanks the toilet deity*

On School:

“Yeah, school was something like culture shock. Especially when lunch came around. We just sat at our desks to eat. *grins* It was fun though.”

“At my school, the shop only sells food items. As for bookstore...? OMG!! It was so big, and there were even books in English, so I won't die from lack of reading material, even if I do run out of books I brought!!"

On Food:

“I would really love some Constant Comment, and if you can find it, that French Vanilla tea we had a long time ago. The one you don't buy often because of the caffeine? But mostly the Constant Comment. I haven't had tea in ages! At least, not hot tea. My host family doesn't seem to drink it.” (We were sending a care package.) “And don't forget my precious Smarties! Also, if you could pick up some host family gifts, that'd be awesome. The syrup in the little bottles, maybe... ”

(When I asked if she wanted pancake mix to go along with the syrup she had requested, so that she could make pancakes, she told us this):
"Uh...maybe the syrup isn't such a great idea after all...we've got a microwave and a frige. That's it. There's not even a kitchen sink! They use the bathroom sink -- the same sink everyone washes their hair in.”

“We also had icecream for just 10 NT. Do you realize how amazingly cheap that is!? And it was delicious too. Strawberry and mango flavor. Don't have a heartattack or anything!!! Lol. But seriously, it tasted awesome. “ (NT are New Taiwan Dollars. About 33 equal 1 us dollar, so the ice cream was very inexpensive. Also, she doesn’t ordinarily like “exotic fruits” such as Mango. *grin*)

“Mooncakes are gross. They have hardboiled eggyolk in them.”
Then, in response to my comment, “I can't believe Mooncakes are gross! They sounds so picturesque and yummy. You're spoiling my delusions!”) she said,
“Ah, dellusion dashing... So terribly sorry, Mum. I was disappointed too -- especially since eggs under normal circumstances make me gag. To be given a "cake" (me thinking REAL SUGAR, YAY!), and to have it be filled with the vile natural product known as "yolk"...

(And then shockingly, she mentions Mooncakes as a Good Thing when making suggestions for our Christmas Dinner.) The Grand Hotel has a fantastic restaurant that serves traditional Chinese. Um...just don't serve blood popsicles. *gags* Moon cakes would probably be acceptable, as well. ^^ They're very simple (sweetish tasting dough, filled with red beans -- pulped red beans). Milk tea, oolong....if you can find tapioca, you could make knock-off pearl tea. I don't personally care for it all that much, but it is unique and kinda fun the first time. ^^
(She must have eaten better Mooncakes sometime between the first comment and the second.)

On sight-seeing:
“I'm going to the southern part of Taiwan with the other inbounds -- we'll be (snorkeling)! Don't worry; I'll watch out for stingrays.”

“Snorkling wasn't really snorkling. It was doing the Dead Man's Float with a mask above the reef. But still lots of fun. I got to swim in the ocean for the first time, after all!”

In reference to that same trip: "The clams, we pulled up in nets, and we were out on these floating rafts on the water...a good ten, fifteen minutes from shore. ^^ And they weren't really baked, so much as fried. DELICIOUS. ^^

On Books:
“Kaa-san, I bought The Little Prince in Chinese! There's the English translation in the back, but the language is simplistic enough that I should be able to read it some day.” (Kaa-san is Japanese for Mom.)

On Holidays and Special Occasions:
“I miss Halloween. It is, I think, my favorite holiday. Yes, possibly more than Christmas! Or perhaps they're tied... But, yeah... No one here really celebrates it. I painted my nails black, to honor it, and I may where my Fox-ear hat to school tomorrow (if they'll let me), but... *le sigh* Free candy... I miss free candy a lot. But mostly I miss the costumes."

“I had a very good Saturday. I went to a wedding this morning (boring, but with excellent seafood...) and then joined the other inbounds in an anti-drug march. Got a t-shirt for that... lol. I'm tired now, and my feet hurt, but other than that…”

(When she attended a talent show that was called a Christmas Party:) “The Christmas party was....okay, I guess. It certainly looked festive, but it made me miss you guys. The only Christmas I get, is when I'm out and about. It's really strange to come "home" each evening knowing Christmas is in less than a week, and have the house be.......just.....a house. There's NOTHING Christmasy about the apartment, and it's vaguely depressing... Could you send pictures of the stockings, the tree, etc. for me to share (my host family and) my classmates?"

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