Monday the 26th of May 2014
It’s midnight here, my Sunday has ended and I have managed to mark a pile of exams, eat whatever I had left in my room (four eggs, two slices of bread, rice with soy sauce, two ice lollies…) and watch The Wolf of Wall Street, which I have to say, (although a good film in its own right) is not my kind of film. I found a sachet of hot chocolate earlier, so I’m about to make that.
It’s as though reading less has caused me to write less, it’s a strange dilemma, no time to read, no energy to write, willingness without execution is rather a depressing state of mind. I want to do so much and yet I’m unable. Even when I’m being productive, I feel like I’m procrastinating. I washed my dishes in the shower again today, I long for a kitchen sink. Living alone in one room, with a shower room attached, as though I’m an immigrant in a 1960’s tenement building (if you ignore the electronic devices, WiFi and cable television) is something I never really considered a viable living arrangement for my twenty three year old self.
I went to Taichung or 臺中市 yesterday for Compass Food & Music Festival 康百視雜誌美食音樂節. It was good, I liked the Taiwanese punk bands more than the others but the music wasn’t the highlight of the event. There were stalls selling all kinds of exciting food and produce as well as nice bar tents etc. It was a family event, there were lots of kids everywhere blowing bubbles and dancing near the stage, the weather was hot and not a drop of rain fell. I had to buy make up at one point as my skin (due to being ill almost constantly here) was affected by the heat and I needed to reapply. I have never seen so many English teachers in one place at the same time. I say English teachers, some of them might be expatriates in other fields of work such as engineering but I didn’t think to ask.
It was a very sociable event, although, one that I found meant towards the end (it started early and ended at nine o’clock) people were rather drunk. I have almost zero tolerance for ridiculously rude and reckless drunken behaviour, I can’t stand it, it is probably the bête noir I despise the most. It shows when I myself have had more than one drink, I make it quite obvious someone is starting to bore me and then I apologise because it’s not their fault I don’t find them interesting. We went to a KTV after the festival; we were shown to a huge fancy room with a big screen and three microphones. It looked like a hotel on the inside with a marvellous buffet which I kind of wish I had eaten more of. I should’ve taken plates of biscuits into the room and saved them for my house. Standard buffet etiquette, steal the deserts…
I got a taxi to Changhua with two new friends and one of the other Shane teachers, the journey back was quicker than I had initially expected. However, once I had said my goodbyes at the dimly lit train station (it was very late), I headed by myself into what’s known as ‘the bike graveyard’ to some. I heard there was another place called ‘the bike graveyard’ where a little old Taiwanese man sells second hand bikes. I don’t recall seeing that one though. I posted the following status update after a horrendous start to my journey home, in the dark, in Taiwan, from the city out into the country:
I don’t understand Taiwan sometimes, I thought someone had stolen my bike as it wasn’t where I left it (locked up) at the train station. I spent ages scrambling around in the dark (in the early hours of the morning) trying to find it amongst hundreds of other bikes. As if it’s fine because where I’ve parked is more convenient for them… Find your own damn space, I was there first. You’re going to ruin my bike… This is not the first time it’s happened either (although this is the most extreme case). Furious.
I realise now that this status update required a semi colon rather than a comma after sometimes but that’s fine. My manager constantly moves my bike, almost every day in fact and it drives me mad. I realise now that all the razor blades and glass I kept finding in my bike parking spot outside of school (for months I experienced this) were put there on purpose. I realise that when my tyre burst in the middle of a storm, whilst cycling on the road it wasn’t due to any shrapnel or wear and tear, it was sabotage. I know this because my boyfriend read in a guide book that there is a culture of extreme passive aggression in Taiwan when it comes to convenience of parking, a sort of ‘if it suits me, screw you’ attitude. I’ve seen slashed scooter seats and tipped motorcycles and thought nothing of it, I’m much more aware now that this is some kind of petty turf war they like to play here. Anyway, so after my boyfriend told me this, I went online and sure enough there are forums full of upset people (mainly English teachers) whose neighbours have decided to mess with their property. I actually heard someone (a neighbour) attempt to move my bike from beneath my window today. It was dark outside and he saw me as I moved my curtains to the side and with me living on the ground floor, he noticed the light, he looked at me, I glared at him with a ‘if you dare’ look of pure hatred in my eyes and shook my head. My lips pursed as though I was holding back the urge to scream.
I didn’t make it to breakfast, followed by church in the end with my new friend and although I said I would go next week, I now realise it’s my colleague’s birthday and Dragon Boat Festival so I don’t think I’ll be able to. I need to get in touch with her later on. My internet is questionable (almost as questionable as The Great Gatsby soundtrack) at the moment and my messages don’t seem to be sending properly. I also don’t own a smart phone which can access apps or the internet. Although my Blackberry is now unlocked thanks to my parents help, the Taiwanese SIM card doesn’t allow the use of apps etc. At least I know that once I’ve moved to Poland, my Polish SIM card will be one which does allow apps. I considered buying an iPhone here as technology is so much cheaper in Taiwan; however on learning how many people are poisoned here in those electronics factories my view on cheap products has changed slightly. For being known as ‘the safest country in Asia’, it’s nauseating how dangerous Taiwan is when you get past the beautiful cultural heritage of the island.