Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Little Things...

     Yes, I feel it is the little things about a place that make it stick in my memory. I lived in Oakland for just under 6 years and I will never forgot the wonder house I called home, for more reasons than I have space to write about here. Then I moved to San Francisco for about 4 months and for the most part hated it, because I lived on a Hill... a big hill. And I biked up and down that big hill everyday for 4 months. My time in SF was dull, nothing note worthy happened during that time, living in SF had little impact on my life. But I will never forget living there only because of biking up and down that hill.

     I just walked in the door 20 minutes ago after walking 4 blocks down the street in flip-flops and my soccer shorts carrying back two jugs, 3 gal. of fresh water that cost me $0.69 US. I cannot drink water from my tap so I have been looking for  a water re-fill station since moving into my new apartment, and I'm glad I finally found one because the empty 1.5 gal. water jugs were starting to pile up on my balcony and it seemed a waste to toss them out to buy a new jug instead of just re-filling them. A new 1.5 gal. jug costs $1.30 US, so I just two dollars, hooray!

     I know that paying a deposit on bottles is fairly common, but I have never experienced it my self until a few days ago when I was charged $52 NT for my $50 NT bottle of beer. "Now hang on a minute!" I said... Well I would have said “等一下吧!” But then they explained that I had to pay $2 NT extra as a deposit. So now when I go to get a fresh beer I just bring back the old bottle and only pay $50 NT, and that other 2 kuai (kuai mean $1) just stays in the system, I suppose until my last day in Taipei when I return to the shop with an empty bottle and and a smile on face and they'll ask "Another bottle Mr. Allen?" “冷先生再一瓶呢?” to which I'll reply  "Not today thanks, I'll just be taking my 2 kuai back." 2 kuai is about $0.07 US.  It'll be a small, but important victory to get it back.

     Lastly, in a continued attempt to seriously grab the Chinese Bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground (by that I mean get really good at speaking chinese) I found a local Taipei resident who is in a similar boat with learning English. I'm moving to China in August to study at a university and I feel linguistically under prepared. He is moving to New York in January to study at a university and also feels under prepared. So we've teamed up for language exchange. Today was our first meeting, first hour speaking all English, second hour speaking all Chinese. I have plenty of opportunities to speak Chinese with teachers and class mates during the 15-25 hours I spend on campus each week, but this language exchange is great opportunity to study and practice my chinese during my free time.......  my free time away from studying and practicing on campus........... But he's a cool guy and our first meeting went really well and I think I'll get a lot more out of this summer because these extra hours I'm putting in.

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