I’m going back to college! My university years were some of my best, and I have always wished I could just get paid to be a fulltime student. Think of all the things you could learn over a lifetime! Anyhow, I’m back in the game.
Chris and Britton have been in class for the last week, and their absence has left me and Heather on our own. I never foresaw myself wallowing around the apartment when there is an entire city to explore, but pathetically that’s pretty much all I’ve done since. The heat and humidity have driven us indoors, and the 45 minute commute to the heart of the city ensures we don’t go anywhere even when the weather is bearable, so we stick to the confines of our apartment building as much as possible. Heather and I wake up, go to the lobby for an hour of internet time and risk running into a mean cat lady that who always yells at us in Chinese, swim laps (the only productive our of our day), and then burn time waiting for the boys to get home by reading. Even when they get home they have been so busy with homework, they might as well still be at school. I’ve been going bonkers. Initially I was hoping to get a job teaching English, but I only have a visitor’s Visa and getting deported isn’t part of the plan.
At church this Sunday Heather and I met a new friend, Samantha. She is from Switzerland and is fluent in French, Italian, English, German, and is planning on taking Chinese classes and encouraged us to do the same. (We are very impressed with her.) She suggested we meet on Monday for lunch and then she took us to National Taiwan University (it has the best Chinese program in the nation) and helped us register for classes. At first all we got was a big fat “No.” Applications were do a couple weeks ago and classes are starting Friday. You really can't procrastinate any worse than us, but with a little persuasiveness they let us in!
I have orientation tomorrow where I will get my class schedule, and after that I will be attending a beginner’s Chinese class 2 hours a day, 5 days a week at the MTC (Mandarin Training Center). No English allowed. ALL Chinese. Gulp. I've made it through our trip without any tears. We'll see how long that lasts once school starts. :)
Update of last few days:
Uncle Dick came to visit Chris and I in Taiwan--he must really love us. Ok, we was on the island to begin with, but it was still great to see family.
We went to the top of the 101. Sadly the signage still advertises it as the world's tallest building, but it got beat out by some beast in Dubai this year. It was rainy and we were perched in the clouds, but despite the fog, it was disorienting to be so high. Unlike other skyscrapers in New York were there are other buildings competing in height, nothing in Taipei can compare with the 101 so the view is of the tops of tiny faraway buildings. The only thing at my eye level were the tops of distant cloud-covered mountains.
(Below) - from the top of the Rock in New York - you see the difference?
Chris and Uncle Dick in front of the massive damper ball--a giant pendulum suspended between the top four floors. It acts to offset building sway caused by strong winds.
The restaurant Uncle Dick so generously took Chris and I to was in the basement of this building. You know it's going to be good when you pass the building's glass encased parking garage containing a Rolls Royce.
This was the first $1,400 meal I have ever had. Well, that's in Taiwanese dollars, but it was still highly impressive. Prime rib and mashed potatoes have never been more relished.
Monday we went to Amy and Zach's house for dinner (new friends of ours). They are house-sitting for a wealthy family from church, so unlike the rest of us, they aren't confined to an apartment. Check out that American food! We took full advantage of their grill.
Samantha (girl who helped us get into class) and her husband Joe are the couple on the back left while Amy and Zach are on the back right.