Hello, my name is Jennifer and it's been 7 days since it's been truly sunny in Taipei (snaps for sunshine). So last weekend started the rainy experience as Taiwan was subjected to the aftereffects of the typhoon that slammed into the Philippines (and later Vietnam). It was during this rainy week that I learned that there are different types of umbrellas here...the basic version is apparently only used to protect from the sun. If you want an umbrella to use in the rain, you will need to make sure that you choose one that is structurally approved for actual usage in rain or damp weather. I became aware of this difference after my umbrella that must have been approved for sun & light drizzle turned inside out and broke- leaving me looking rather pathetic in the rain.
Merriam-Webster defines to proselytize as 1: to induce someone to convert to one's faith 2: to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause. On Friday I found myself the target of proselytization. It was a different sort of experience. I was on my way to meet a friend after buying a badminton racquet when this young looking Asian girl stopped me in the middle of the street and said something to me in Chinese. First, you never want to stop in the middle of the street. Second, I get spoken to in Chinese all the time, so I didn't think much of it. Third, beware of young looking Asian girls with backpacks & clipboards! I quickly gave her my confused look and told her I only spoke English thinking that whatever she needed or wanted would quickly be passed off to someone who spoke Chinese. No. In laboured English she said something about saving me. Some parts of the conversation were lost in the obviously present language barrier, but I somehow went from being confused to being confused and captive. She kept a firm grip on my arm and led me over to one of her friends (who at that moment had another person deep in conversation) and told me to stand there and wait. She tried to talk to me while her friend wrapped up talking to her person, and it eventually came out that she wanted me to become a Christian. Thinking to myself, lucky me, I'm already a Christian...I quickly told her that I belonged to the Christian persuasion, whereupon she did the most surprising thing- she jumped up and down, clapped, and shrieked. Her friend came over and asked me if I had been baptized and when I answered that I had, she too jumped up and down, clapped, and shrieked. They kept jumping up and down, clapping, and shrieking...so I decided that it was time for me to leave. I thanked them for their time, wished them luck, and fled for my life! It takes guts to talk to complete strangers about becoming a Christian, but I think their exuberant reaction was borderline terrifying...
This weekend (Sat) was the Moon Festival and to celebrate the Moon Festival you apparently gift everyone with mooncakes and eat tons of mooncakes. Now don't let the cake part of the name fool you...these are little twinkie sized "cakes" that are nice looking, but filled with terrifying filling! I tried 4 one day, 2 another day, and have had many encounters with this festival food. Since I'm new here, my sweet friends kept giving them to me because they wanted me to try a taste of Taiwan. With every new mooncake, I was slightly scared to bite into it...not knowing if this time it would be pineapple with a salted egg yoke, or just pineapple, or something that was unidentifiable but chewy, or horror of horrors- the one with red bean paste AND the salted egg yoke! I started re-gifting them. It's kind of like when you are given a fruit cake at Christmas...you re-gift it or take it to a Christmas party! It's been fun gifting people with little wrapped cakes, but I think in the future- I'll just stick to giving them, not eating them!