Friday, July 20, 2007

Watching the Calories

I've been back in Taiwan for a week. As I try to eat as healthy as possible this month without a kitchen in my temporary one room studio, I succeeded entirely in abstaining from pearl milk teas, bubble teas, or other delicious sugared/iced green teas (all high in calories!). I have also stayed away from any kind of American fast food (McD's, KFC, etc). Last night at a stall in a night market I did consume what some consider the signature dish of the Taiwanese people-- an oyster omelette with some greens and other things in it.... very very greasy and unhealthy. But it was good!

Since my last post, in addition to discovering a few more new Starbucks in various places (when will it all end?), tonight as I was riding home on my scooter I was surprised to see a CostCo under construction EXTREMELY close to my old apartment-- about a 3 minute scooter ride in fact. Before, I always had to run up to Taipei to buy stuff at CostCo but a good bit of what I bought wasn't very healthy anyway. God has a wonderful sense of humor, since I'll be living an hour and a half from here!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

10,000 Released; 5 Die already.

Two days ago 10,000 prison inmates were released here in Taiwan as part of a presidential amnesty declaration. Yesterday 5 of them died of drug overdoses and 3 more were arrested.

May the beautiful news of the Lord Jesus Christ continue to penetrate and transform the prison system, offering hope and liberation to all those who use drugs here in Taiwan.

Appendum: 8 have died now as of Friday morning.

As of Monday 7/23, 13 of these have died of drug overdose.

Please stop your talking

I want to try to eat as healthy as possible this month in Taiwan while I have no access to a kitchen. And the average meal at a street-side rice or noodle shop has as many calories as McDonalds. So yesterday I checked out a vegetarian restaurant which claims to use a healthier grade of cooking oil. As I approached the front door, there was a very large sign partially obscuring the operating hours I  wanted to read. Roughly translating into English, it read: "For the sake of everyone's health, please abstain from talking when picking up food." Don't think I've ever seen anything like that posted in a restaurant before!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

First night in New Commercial Apartment

Yesterday was a busy day. In the morning I took my first three hours of Taiwanese class. In the afternoon I drove way over to the other side of town on my scooter to make a pick-up. Then I took a taxi to deliver all of my stuff from the SEND guest house where I stayed my first four nights to the commercial apartment room (only about 100 yards from where I lived last term) I will rent for the next month. Somehow, after that I still managed to get a quick BODY PUMP work-out in at my old gym, which has once again changed management (It was a litle sad to see so few of the old employees there).

Because the bed here is rock hard, I slept terribly again last night. I like hard beds and in fact my bed in storage here is really hard. But it'll take a few nights to get used to again!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Readjusting to Taichung

Thanks be to God for my first good night's sleep since arriving back in Asia! (the key was plenty of coffee and no long naps :-) )

A few of the things I've already begun enjoying (or detesting) since my arrival back in Taichung:

+ Guava, papaya, and mango!

- Shoes thoroughly and clothing partially soaked while riding on my scooter during a heavy rainstorm (in spite of wearing rainclothes) and then roasting in the heat and humidity on same scooter a few hours after the storm passed through.

Yesterday I spotted yet another new Starbucks... that's a total of 4 new ones in less than a year. Also found that two small restaurants I enjoyed from time to time have both gone out of business. Not atypical for Taichung.

Very Moving

I received this URL from one of my uncles... so moving it almost reduced me to tears! (and I'm most assuredly NOT an opera fan)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jetlagged in Taiwan

I enjoyed a full hour and fifteen minutes last night of sleep. Can't remember having had quite this much difficulty adjusting timezones my first few days back on previous trips. Looks like I'll be savoring another 4 hour nap later this morning/afternoon. Depending on when I begin to feel like I can sleep, I may be worshipping at a church with an afternoon service!

Appendum: Wound up sleeping 6 hours this afternoon after church and am now enjoying a Latte at Starbucks in order to send/check e-mail. So it'll be another long night! :-)

What was Lost is Found

My lost bag (containing my digital camera and new notebook computer not to mention lots of new books and winter clothes) has been found by United Airlines! Thank the Lord.

Summer Night Exploring

Summer nights in Taichung are much cooler than the blazing hot daytime humidity. Plus, because of jet lag, I wasn't going to bed anytime soon. So this evening after a quick dinner catching up with a friend, I decided to ride my scooter around town to see what changes I'd see in a year's time.

In Taichung it's not uncommon to see small mom-and-pop family businesses open and close within a matter of months. So I wasn't too surprised to see that the scooter shop where I bought my scooter 5 years ago (and swapped owners 3 times while I was here)  is now closed with the space being absorbed by a electronic appliances chain store.

The large Wellcome grocery store near my old apartment has now leased part of their building to a pharmacy.

A huge new park has opened.. never too many of these in a city of over 1 million.

Near the neighborhood where I use to live stands a giant new Carrefour (Taiwan's French equivalent of "Super Walmart"). It lies not even a quarter mile away from where the old one continues to do a brisk business.

I observed at least THREE new Starbucks in a city that already had no lack of them. So I guess the coffee craze that hit the island around 8 years ago certainly isn't just a passing fad!

In light of all these changes, it was nice to bump into a few stall-keepers and store workers that remembered me. I'm looking forward to opportunities for follow-up conversations these next 4 weeks.