Monday, June 29, 2009

Consecutive numbers

I'm 23!

My sister gave me $50 to spend at, a site where different teachers can ask for donations for any project they want, and donors choose what they want to finance.

I gave $25 to this project titled "No, Virginia, There Is No U.S.S.R" and am trying to decide where to spend the rest of my donation dollars. Audience suggestions are greatly appreciated, especially since I should be packing right now (while I know a few of you have quite a bit of desk time)--check out the site and tell me what strikes your fancy.

Thanks for your help! Hopefully I'll have a good selection from ya'll when I return from my travels through Southeast Asia.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Hoolay hoolay!

ben: (Oh, I saw a WORLD GAMES ad the other day and thought of you)Ohhh, ok
me: omg, seriously?
ben: Yes. It was people doing gymnastics routines on big ugly buildings

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Discard Pile

Packing takes me an eternity longer than it should because I aspire to be utilitarian, organized, and free of overweight luggage charges, but at heart I'm just a big pack rat. There are several stages between my "Suitcase" pile and my "Discard" pile corresponding to the amount of affection I have fore each possession. Here are 2 items that won't make the cut but I hope to remember for a very long time:

1. Sexy Lacy Panties from 7-11

Found them nestled between the sunscreen and the condoms while I was looking for bobby pins...

I do have some friends getting married soon.... do you think these would make a good shower gift?

2. Official 2009 World Games Multi-purpose Headscarf

These were given to us by the Kaohsiung City Bureau of Education as a "token of [their] gratitiude for all our hard work"

You can wear it as a scarf!

Or a do-rag!

Or a hat!

So sexy!

So versatile!

The more I look at these, the more I think, "Surely ___ would love these panties and this headscarf!" I need more discipline...

4 days left in Kaohsiung...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sneaking A Swim In Sun Moon Lake: Guestblogging at

Hey folks,

I've been a busy lady as of late, and one of the things I've done while not updating is guestblogging about my trip to Sun Moon Lake for Here's a teaser:

Through the pedagogy of rote memorization, the magnificence of Sun Moon Lake has been ingrained in the consciousness of Chinese-speaking people. My local friends tell me that here in Taiwan, all schoolchildren memorize “Moonlight Reflecting on the Lake,” a poem written by Yunlin County Magistrate Chien Ming Shan in 1875. None of my friends can recall the words anymore, but the message remains. “Sun Moon Lake is a beautiful place,” they say, “you cannot miss it.”

Click here to read the whole thing!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Seek Glory and Glory You Shall Find


Kaohsiung Cab Driver: "They call it Glory Pier because this is where the soldiers would leave from when they went off to war."
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anthromorphic Charm


found at Taipei Main Station.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 5, 2009

At a Bitter Co-Worker's Cubicle Near You!

If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.
--Lane Kirkland

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiananmen 20 Years Later

Thanks, CNN!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Real American

Daniel Robert Markus is 1/16 Native American--just 1 generation shy of affiliation. This will not stop him.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Exercises in Democracy

The schoolyear is coming to a close, which means the outgoing 6th grade class has developed a serious case of 6th grade-itis, and the 5th graders are preparing for their future reign over the school. One facet of this takeover is the school mayoral election, which takes place tomorrow.

Each of the three candidates has taped colorful signs peppered with clipart images of ice cream cones and basketballs around the school explaining their intended policies. They are mostly in Chinese, which means the signs look like this to me:

My policies:

1. Increase blah

2. Increase dfadsf

3. Increase the limit on library book borrowing to at least 5

4. Increase uoiuoi

5. Ice cream at least once a month with lunch.

One of the candidates--my best English student--wrote the phrase "Yes, I Can!" at the top of her poster. I admire the effort, though I think the populist message of Obama's slogan was lost on her.

Ironically, the school's mayoral election happens to fall on June 4, 2009--the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. It seems that, at least from the things I've read, the state has mostly erased the massacre from Chinese people's memory through either fear or ignorance. If you can get your hands on a copy of Jan Wong's Red China Blues, I'd highly recommend reading it--she was one of the first foreign students allowed to study in China after communism set in and later (after her commie days were over) covered the Tiananmen Massacre as a journalist for the Toronto Star.

There are also some good readings on the internet. I really liked this article from the Guardian and this one from The Nation.

Update: Weird censorship decisions are going down in China right now. Read James Fallows for more details.

Monday, June 1, 2009

And So It Goes

Last week I received an email notifying me that my childhood best friend's father passed away suddenly. He was a pastor (I'll call him Pastor L.) and whenever he took us anywhere, he would talk to us about the importance of faith and spirituality in that Protestant narrative style that makes even very young children carefully consider these topics of great weight. I'd be a better "show-er not tell-er", but Pastor L.'s daughter and I hadn't been in touch in years so I don't feel comfortable giving more details. The point is, even though I am no longer a religious person, he greatly influenced the way I think today. May he rest in peace.

I can't decide how I should feel about his death--on the one hand, Pastor L. was an important figure in my personal development. On the other hand, his death has no bearing on my day-to-day life. Perhaps this is one of those conflicts we grow to understand as we grow older. The absence of important people in our lives cannot stop life from continuing. It will go on, with or without you.

I have thought about this constantly since I moved to Taiwan. I have responsibilities and a life here, but it feels like it exists in isolation from my "real life" back in the states. In my head, everything will be right where I left it when I return in July, but in reality, I will not come home to the same place. A family friend got in a serious car accident and has been hospitalized for three weeks. The college friend who once told me "The only reason I would save the whales is so I can eat them" is now working for some green project in New Hampshire headed by Al Gore. One of my friends dissappeared from facebook (she's not the type to quit), and it was only after several failed searches that I realized she'd dropped her maiden name after getting married.

It's June 1, which means I only have a month left in this place. Everyone keeps talking about how they're ready to go home. Certainly I am ready to leave, but I'm also unsure about what going home really means in this case. It's been a year and a half since I've spent more than 3 days in Ohio, and I'm afraid that I may long for a familiarity that no longer exists.