Tuesday the 7th of January 2014
Here’s something I didn’t know until today: In Taiwan, you will be fined NT $6,000 for not recycling. There are no bins in my building, so I’ve taken to leaving the rubbish in front of the main gate as most of my classes take place in the evening (which is when the rubbish is collected). I noticed other people’s bags there, so I thought it was ok. This morning, I heard the most vicious row imaginable happening outside. Now, I don’t know what it was about (I was in bed trying to keep warm) but I’m presuming it was about rubbish.
In certain buildings, there is a person employed to sort through the rubbish, which is fair enough. I’ve been here since November 2013 and I still don’t understand what I’m supposed to do with mine. I’ve even brought rubbish to school and sorted it that way using the schools recycling bins but I won’t be doing that ever again as cycling to school with a bag full of rubbish made me feel sick and made my rucksack smell weird. I have looked in the supermarket for the special ‘none recyclable waste’ bags to no avail. There are plenty of regular plastic bags, which can be used for ‘recyclable waste’. I won’t go into detail but you’re not even supposed to flush toilet paper here, as a general rule. Now, I haven’t been following said rule because I live in a one room apartment, on the ground floor with a small bathroom. Am I supposed to live amidst organised rubbish? Do other people? Hoarding feminine hygiene products because I have no idea what else to do with them? I think not.
The rubbish trucks here are similar to ice cream trucks; they play music to alert you of their presence. Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska’s ‘A Maiden’s Prayer’ and Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’ are popular choices and can be heard almost constantly for some reason (including when I’m trying to teach). I have yet to see one for myself but I’m sure it’s a perfectly ordinary tuck full of rubbish, trash, garbage, recycling etc.
I promised you a more positive post. Well, here is a paragraph (or two) of (almost) positive writing. My ankle feels a little better this morning and although I haven’t been to work yet, it’s not as bad as it was yesterday. It is currently 14:38PM; my first lesson starts at 16:20PM. Tomorrow, I start at 13:50PM and finish at 8:30PM, which means tonight I will be planning four back to back classes. On the 4th of January 2014, I was picked up (at home) by a TA and my manager at 16:00PM; we drove to Taichung for the End of Year Celebration Dinner. I spent a while getting ready as I wanted to look nice. I used the sock bun technique to curl my hair the night before and I wore my favourite red dress, the same red dress I wore for my graduation in 2012. I decided not to wear my glasses but put them in my bag just in case. I ended up putting them on as soon as we got to the restaurant as I couldn’t see a thing. I usually feel like crying when I’m in public and I don’t have my glasses on nowadays, it’s like walking through thick fog, particular if I’m in a new place or if someone waves or tries to talk to me.
Once my glasses were on my face and I realised it didn’t matter what I looked like, I started to enjoy myself. The food was amazing, the company was genuinely lovely and it was just a really fun evening. We went to a buffet restaurant called Harbour or 漢來海港自助餐廳 followed by drinks at Britannia Bistro Bar. I got a taxi home with three other teachers and then had a nice Skype conversation with my boyfriend; whilst I ate my handbag cookies (I might have over filled my dessert plate so they went into a napkin) and drank some tea. The taxi driver seemed pretty concerned as he was driving me home, Hemei Township or 和美鎮 (Héměi Zhèn) doesn’t exactly look like the safest of places to live, especially at night.