Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cats, Kiwi, & Counting

David Henry Thoreau once said, “We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.”

This past week has been fraught with discoveries and has turned into quite a character building exercise. This was my first week of homework, classes, and balancing the difficult process of living in a different country. Last week was a little different since we were all just trying out various classes, this week has been an intense experience as we all learned how/where to get books, how to use the multiple libraries (which are somewhat in English), and where to go to print our assignments. The little things add up to be rather time consuming and exhausting, thus making this week just a tiring blur in retrospect.

The Cat Coffee shop

I went with Lidia (a 2nd year classmate) to go pick up our ARC's and we had lunch at a pizza parlor over in an area that is famous for its night market experience. This area was a little more Westernized since it's close to National Taiwan Normal University and more foreigners live in that area. While over in Shih Da, Lidia took me to a coffee shop that catered to those patrons who couldn't own a cat, but missed their cats. At one point, it was advertised that there were 45 cats at this particular coffee shop! I was amazed by the idea, but at the same time, I was kind of weirded out by the fact that the cats could sit or stand near the food prep area and seemingly play with your order!

The Fruit Stand Man

I frequent this little fruit stand and have found that the Taiwanese climate is perfect for growing watermelon and pineapple. I've been eating a lot of watermelon, pineapple, oranges, and bananas...but right now is the season for persimmon and they are phenomenal! They look a lot like a square tomato, but they are sweet, delicious, and messy. I survived my first experience and went back for more this afternoon (the survival part was mostly due to the fact that I was told to try it right there in the store and didn't really get a chance to find out if it had been washed).

For those of you who knew I once wanted to be a kiwi farmer, I tried a kiwi smoothie (made from fresh kiwi) at the cat coffee shop and have found that fresh kiwi juice is available daily at the fruit stand! It's like kiwi heaven dream of being a kiwi farmer has been resurrected!

Mandarin Lessons

As of Tuesday I have decided that Mandarin is a rather hard language to learn and since I already have trouble with Spanish...let's just add a language with a gazillion characters! I was learning basic greetings and how to count, but because Mandarin has 4 Tones (ā, á, ǎ, à), I have trouble pronouncing the numbers 4 & 10. They sound so similar and yet are so different...I also have to be careful or I'll inadvertently say "lion" instead of 4 or 10!

That's it for now...I'm hoping to get some homework accomplished over the weekend so that I can wake up insanely early on Monday (3/4am) and go to the Confucius Temple to watch the Shidian Ceremony held in honor of Confucius' birthday.


Sue said...

Oh Baby! This kiwi thing looks yummy! and look at the size of that whopping orange persimmon! not at all like the tiny black ones I fight the coons for here! However, I think the seeds look the same??? You will have to tell me...
Did you take the cat cafe photo? Cool! (In a sneezy sort of way... )

Rachel said... YES!
i want to go to a cat coffee shop! isn't it a bit dangerous to be a cat in taipei?
i love that food always makes it into your entries one way or another. an e-mail is coming your way soon!

KrysTina said...

A kiwi farmer. Genius.