Sunday, October 5, 2008

Animals and Children

Animals and Children

There are certain computer and video games in which you have to travel through an area using the information found in a journal left behind by some eccentric loner with occasionally very poor handwriting.  I got a little notebook to take notes in about my classes - not the official class notebooks in which I write my finished lesson plans, so I don't have to worry about making mistakes.  It was intended to be a book full of rough outlines of my lesson plans.  It's turning into that Eccentric Guide in a Spidery Hand.  It contains obscure phrases that correspond to certain computers which must be turned on in a certain order.  It stores the phone numbers of important people who can help you on your way.  It has mysterious admonitions in different colored ink, and occasional notes about the local language.  There are maps that only make sense if you're standing on a certain street.  And it's all in a little plastic-jacketed notebook graced by two stylized monochrome bears and a yellow bird.  The text on the front says: "a cute little milk&charcoal bear."  The bird says hello.

I started my A10 class since our last update.  It went very smoothly.  They're very advanced English speakers.  We talked about concepts like have to vs. got to vs. should and must.  I also have a job editing textbooks that starts tomorrow.  I don't yet know how that will go, but it's extra income doing nitpicky work that I can enjoy without giving it my soul.  More on that as I know more.

Katy got a little sick about a week and a half ago, but I'm managing to so far stay healthy.  Expect news of my ill health next week, now that I've made that claim.  Schools are breeding grounds for illness, and I have two schools, plus whatever bugs Katy brings back from hers.  Fortunately, fresh orange juice is readily available (and I'm thinking of getting a juicer and making it myself, we'll see) on the way to the MRT station at Minquan, so we're getting plenty of vitamin C.  Also, we have lots of garlic to put in our food.

Our food, which we're cooking ourselves, now.  We bought a wok, a sauce pan, and a rice cooker, and those are really all we need.  The Wellcome supermarket (I did not spell that wrong, there are two Ls in the name) has a pretty decent selection of vegetables to put in our stirfried concoctions.  Right now we've got carrots, pea pods, some kind of sprout that doesn't shrivel and die (or vanish) upon contact with heat, a very hearty cabbage that needs to be cooked for a long time, and some stringy mushrooms.  I'm hoping to find some spinach sometime soon, although I'm not sure what to do with it here.  It's not really a stirfry vegetable.  The supermarket also sells a lot of tofu, broccoli, tomatoes, and various other vegetables that I may have seen once in a dream.  We do most of our cooking at night, throwing rice into the Supa Fine rice cooker and vegetables into the wok and mixing them all up later.  Katy wanted me to point out that she also cooks.  I have proof, for those of you who doubt.  She made a very good dinner with carrots and other vegetables, and nothing was burned.

She and I and her conversation partner, Jenny, went to the Taipei zoo on Sunday last.  She told us it was the largest zoo in Asia.  They had no cephalopods.  I was deeply disappointed.  Nevertheless, it was a beautiful place.  We took the MRT there, and used our MRT cards to pay for admission.  These Easy Cards (a rough English translation of the Chinese casual way of referring to them) are possibly the most convenient things in the world.  We saw the Formosan animals first, which Jenny was kind enough to tolerate, but she was the most excited about the penguins.  I thought the lion and cub were entertaining, but the zoo's very colorful version of Chicago's Cows sort of took the cake.  It was a long trip, and we were tired when we got home, but it was fun.  Jenny seems very charming and friendly.  

Today is "Double Ten Day" ("Shuāng Shí Jié" in Chinese) which is Taiwan's national celebration of the ultimate collapse of the Qing Dynasty.  Everyone gets the day off.  Fireworks, military parades (probably what I saw them practicing for when I walked through the Art Park), etcetera.  Katy and I are going to the National Palace Museum.  We've heard good things.


Dan said...

Only through the Book of Rowan shall you learn the secret of the D'Ni, travel through the Moiety Gateway and defeat Gehn in Age 233.

Jacob said...

damnit i totally was going to post a myst comment too >:|

mishymc said...

Just remember who introduced you to Myst... :)

Rowan said...

I always do. I want to play it again!