my mom got an iphone. i think this means she can't make fun of the faj for his blackberry ways. we'll have a contest for who can drive one handed the best in a few months.
(the story of this stamp is at the bottom of the page so just deng yi xia.)
today was super fun and super long, so here are the highlights..
alex and i went to yingge this morning. i really enjoy alex, and riding on the back of his scooter is so nice. we were having the funniest luck. he doesn't like to acknowledge mistakes, but our mistakes today were what made the day really interesting. we got on a train that neither of us realized wasn't the kind of local train that stops frequently, so we zoomed right by the yingge stop. then we were waiting on the wrong platform at banciao station and would have just kept going toward taipei if i wasn't so lovely and attentive.
thennn we walked through downtown where all of the little vendors were set up with their baskets of produce and fish swimming around. once we got to the top, nothing was open. it was sweltering hot and we just walked around in circles pouring sweat until we stopped for some emergency ice cream and then ended up making some ceramic cups at one of the shops. the whole town is famous for pottery, so a couple of the places offer informal classes or just the opportunity to use a potter's wheel to make your own stuff. the girl showed us how to do it (all in chinese, i'll add) and then left us to our own devices. my previous ceramics experience didn't really help much. alex did awesome though--the wheel can be really tricky.
our ying ge day ended with a tea shop where alex chatted like a pro with the tea shop woman and i did my best to catch anything i could. i think i understood about half. the most interesting part was learning the proper tea etiquette.(this is leila's picture of a tea farm (?) in the Ruili/Alishan area.)
1. put dry, shrunken tea leaves into small cup
2. steep in boiling water for 30 seconds
3. pour hot tea all over the tea pot and cups to wash them
4. refill cup with boiling water and dump out, this time to rinse tea leaves
5. refill cup with boiling water and this time you get to drink it!
6. pour from little cup to strainer to pot to little cup that your drinking cup goes upside down on top of so you can smell the tea and then taste itthe tea i bought is from alishan which is where dawn, leila and dena went for vacation not too long ago. i'll be thinking of those tea fields every time i sip that tea.
after that, i spent 10 minutes at home and headed to da chu to go swimming with mr. kuo, his sister and nephew. it's funny that we've spent hundreds of hours together but never outside of their restaurant. we picked up his [taiwanese only speaking] mom and the three of us went to his sisters. he told them i was an english teacher andd a swimming instructor which is a little more than a white lie. then they wanted me to teach the nephew how to improve his swimming strokes. luckily, my blonde-girl-in-a-ruffly-bikini trick worked well enough to distract them from the fact that i don't know how to do any fancy swimming strokes, and the afternoon was a success. we stopped at a fried dumpling place on the way home and i think i ate 14 dumplings in about 3 minutes.
after class (which was the last class with my coteacher, angel. she's going to canada for her masters. we did the QA 'what do you like about angel?' and the kids wrote their answers in a card for her. sad! fun!), after picking up dinner, i went to family mart to cash in these stickers that would get me a free stamp. this girl with blue hair was waiting to buy stuff so i said i like your hair and asked the family mart dude if 15 stickers was enough to get me a stamp. he said no, i need 20, but since i just told that girl i like her hair, and since he likes my hair, he'll just give me 5 stickers and not make me buy anything. love taiwan.
cucumber salad that tastes juuust like aunt carols.
p.s. this video is what inspired me to apply for the internship in the office of correspondence. it is awesome.
and the o'sullivans have arrived in taichung and their blog is soo fabulous. it'll probably make you cry and definitely make you laugh.