Friday, July 31, 2009

Bright lights and 50 tea!

A few things I really like about taiwan:

1.Bright lights- Everything here at night is colorful and light up. This makes me very happy. I like rainbow lights. Its pretty much magical. :)

2. 50 tea!! not so much the black tea with ice cream in it. Its yummy but made my stomach a bit queeze. And not so much the tea with pearls (little bubble thingies that are sort of gummy and starchy but not really flavorful at all) because there are so many at the bottom of your tea that you feel so full of starchiness, like you just a ate a bagel. But the honey green tea is maybe the most amazing tea i have ever had in my life. That tea alone was worth my thousand dollar plane ticket to come here. 

3. Don Bing's... There are no words for how Delicious these are. its a green spring onion pancake with a fried egg in it. yes, it sounds gross... but is AMAZING. My favorite part of each day is getting up in the morning, waking to 50 tea to get a green honey tea and then going to get my Don bing. There are not words for how fabulous that is and how happy my tea and don bing make me. The only thing that makes my Don Bing better is the little old asian man who sells them. I wish I could ask him his name! All he can say in English is, sit down, go home and bye bye. He waves frantically every time I walk by the stand to go anywhere and always says "go home!!!" in a joking voice and laughs really hard haha. I want to shrink him to the size of a quarter and take him home with me. He is the happiest man I have ever met. Jenna and Travis dont know his name either so they have officially named him "Don Bing". 

4. HILARIOUS english tee shirts. They make no sense. Half the time your not even sure what they are trying to say in english. The other half of the time what it says has nothing to do with the picture on the t-shirt. 

5. how friendly people are. I have had wonderful conversations with a few people so far. They just come right up to you and ask where you are from in their adorable broken english. They are so sweet and I love them! One girl took a picture of me on her cell phone today and turned around and walked away without saying anything haha. It made me laugh a lot. 

Things Im not such a big fan of:

1. uneven side walks! I seriously think I just might kill myself. I can not tell you how many times I have tripped since being her. 

2. The heat!!! It is seriously nine thousand billion trillion degrees here. Every picture I take im sweaty in! My make up literally melts off my face. I have given up trying to wear it! I get out of the shower and start sweating within minutes. I have decided its a bit like Chinese water torture. Its ok at first and then it just wears on you. You cant get away from it. 

3. bugs... i am glad the mosquito's here dont Carry deadly diseases like malaria because no amount of bug spray seems to keep them off of me. I hate them all an wish they would die. 

4. the air pollution. It smells like warm garbage quite often when you walk down the street. If you walk over a sewer grate you just smell hot sewage. If they are cooking stinky tofu any wear near you can pretty much count on throwing up from the smell. Stinky tofu is made out of tofu and rotten cabbage. 

5. Not knowing how to order anything other than noodles for lunch and dinner. seriously... it gets old. 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Taiwan adventures

So I feel a lot less tired now which is really great. Jet lag is not super fun. I have really been enjoying my time in taiwan and it has actually been extremely relaxing. This may be the most I have felt relaxed all year. I have been going to bed around 9 or 10 and waking up around 6... which sounds early but is a good 8 hours of sleep. I wake up, go get breakfast, take a shower, read a little, check e-mail, maybe talk to justin a little through skype and then by around 9 or 9:30 Jenna wakes up. Its such a relaxing way to start my day. I then get to spend all afternoon with jenna walking around taiwan. Jenna goes to work around 3 or 5 depending on the day and is gone until 9:30. I get to explore taiwan alone all afternoon. I have not had this much alone time in...well... i cant remember. I forgot how refreshing it feels. I usually fill my time with people but since im here I cant really do that. I have lots of time to explore, read, nap, whatever I want to do! I really want to sit by "love river" and read but its so incredibly hot that I need to wait for the sun to go down. Its definitely in the mid 90's. In america I shower every other day. Here, you get dirty so fast! I dont know if its the heat or air pollution but my hair gets greasy half way through the day and im breaking out from all the heat and sweating so much. I never really feel clean. Thats the only thing I have found that I really dont like here. Everything else is pretty fun :)

So I went to the night market last night and walked around which was a lot of fun, not to mention hilarious. They LOVE anything that is really "cute" and sparkly, like really crazy sparkly jewelry or little cartoons and animae. They attempt to write english on things but its so broken and most of the time does not make any sense. Its hilarious! My favorite thing to do is to read all of the t-shirts. Its fabulous entertainment. 

I had to use the bathroom in a department store the yesterday. It was a "squatter" toilet which means it is basically an oval in the ground and you stand over it and pee. There was a sign in the stall that said "line up to keep it fresh" haha. I laughed so hard. 

Out of all of my adventures so far the most amazing of all was my asian message. I have had a head ache since I got to taiwan because my back was so tense from traveling. I tend to get tension head aches a lot but from being on a plane for 23 and a half hours and carrying my giant back packing bag on my shoulders I was hurting. I passed a little store front message parlor and saw that an hour long message was only about 20 U.S. Dollars. I decided that I would get one while jenna was at work tonight. I had NO idea what I was in for. This tiny little innocent looking asian woman with beast hands gave me my message. Now I like my messages pretty hard but I have never experienced anything like this. I was honestly in pain. She was so rough! I kept telling her softer which at first she didnt understand but i kept saying "ouch!!!" and I think that is pretty universal. She finally got it and would be a tiny bit more gentle for a minute or two and the regress to her more brutal state within minutes. Some of the things I was not accustomed to when compared to previous messages was 1. having her message me with her feet while walking on my back. (she would dig her toes into my butt which actually hurt a lot haha) 2. smacking my back with open palms extremely hard (I felt like I was being beaten!) 3. having her take a towel, wrap it around my neck and then, holding the ends of the towel, yank the towel twisting my head violently to the side which cracked my neck a million times (i was afraid i was going to end up paralyzed) 4. stretching my legs to the point I was almost folded in half with my nose touching my knee ready to cry. (I kept saying ouch and she just laughed and smiled at me haha). and 5. cracking my fingers 6 different times through out the message, which, by the way I HATE when people crack my fingers. All of that to say, it was quite the experience. I do have to say that upon leaving my head ache was gone and my back actually felt a lot better. It was very painful but apparently helped a lot. I feel great right now but im not sure its an experience I would want to go through just to "relax". I feel like she should have been wearing black leather and hand cuffed me to the message table she was so rough haha. Well... it was definitely an adventure! 

I think im going to nap for half an hour and then go to the river to read and maybe get some gan mien (dry noodles) because its all I know how to order here. All I seem to eat here are noodles, which I love, but they start to feel like a giant brick in your stomach after eating them constantly. I am actually starting to crave fruit and veggies... which i normally dont like all that much. Starch gets a little old after a while and its only been three days! I think there may be a serious possibility of me turning into a noodle!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Right now it is 7:48 pm here in taiwan and 7:48 am back in the states. Its crazy how you can fly into the future. If you are reading this from America you are living in july 27th but I am living in july 28th. Im like a time traveler! A very very deliriously tired/jet lagged time traveler who has not slept yet. Im trying to make it till 9 tonight so I can sleep through the night.

Jenna and trav-dad are at work (They work evenings) so I have decided to blog in order to occupy my time and stay awake for another hour and 13 minutes.

I think my favorite part of my flight was when we landed in Anchorage Alaska to refule at 4 am. We all got off the plane and a little tiny stand opened up for us so we famished travelers could also refuel. In this tiny concession stand was a vast array of breakfast foods. They had everything from bagels to cereal to breakfast sandwiches. One menu item caught my attention and my mind quickly returned to kindergarten when I was given the "which one does not fit with these" worksheets for homework. In the middle of the plethora of assorted breakfast items was a plate full of GIANT hot dogs. Now Im not sure who eats hot dogs at 4 AM unless you are in college and have not gone to bed for night yet but I found this strange. Suddenly, I glanced at the sign and realized they were not hot dogs at all but REINDEER DOGS! Yes, Santa's little helpers all ground up and served for breakfast. Who eats reindeer? I thought eating deer was bad enough. Who wants to eat bambi? But now Alaskan children are being forced to eat prancer, dancer, dasher and rudolf. Had I not been so ridiculously tired i may have tried one just to say I once ate a reindeer in alaska at 4 am, but my stomach didnt feel too settled about that idea.

Once I got to Taiwan the first thing I saw as a big metal trashcan. I realized I was at a loss as I had not brought any small animals to "deposit" into the large metal quarantine box. I laughed so hard as I read the sign that kindly asked to make a deposit of all animals into the trashcan looking bin, along with plants and insects. I imagined three small rodents and a poodle all scurrying around the bottom of the metal trashcan, but I didnt look.

I ate a don bing today. my first Taiwanese food. It was a green onion pancake with a fried egg wrapped up in it. I was sceptical at first... but it was surprisingly yummy. I think i will like the food here.

On many of the houses there are red glowing lights at night. Jenna told me that the red light is where people believe their own personal god resides. They go out and worship it and burn incense to different idols many times through the day. The red light is good luck or good karma or something and I guess the gods are attracted to it. It is sad to see so much idol worship. I dont think they worship idols much more than the gods of materialism or success and power that we worship in america... but there is something sobering about watching people bow to metal gods that will not come through for them. My heart feels burdened and wishes they knew the one true God that all other gods bow to. I wish they knew truth and could be set free by it. There is so much oppression here. Jenna told me there is a young man they often pass on their way to work. He has a mental disability and they let him go outside sometimes. When they let him out of the house they chain him to a wall, like hes on a leash, so he cant run off. He just sits in his front yard in chains. I can not think of anything more oppressive. My heart breaks for this man. He desperately needs freedom. But whether someone is chained to a wall or chained to an idol its all the same. Christ came to proclaim freedom for the captives.

As burdened as my heart feels... there is almost something refreshing about how in your face the oppression is here. Its not masked behind quite so much deception like it is in America.You dont have to sort through quite so many lies to see the oppression thats beneath it. Its out in the open. Its everywhere. And all i can do as i walk down these streets is silently pray.