Thursday, July 29, 2004

If It's Broken, Don't Fix It.

My sole foreign co-worker has been "laid off" from my school. Due to foreign affairs meddling and the graduation of his kindergarteners, they told him that his services would not be required next year. That's fine, I guess, though being the only Western face at school may get kind of tiring. I rely on our cigarette breaks (we're the only 2 who smoke) to get me through the day.

So, he's found work at another school. I wish him the best, but I fear the worst. The school he's going to work for has, among everyone I know, a horrible reputation for lying and cheating it's staff. In fact, he was surprised that they even hired him. He figured they must be desperate. When he went there for orientation, there were at least a dozen other foreigners there for the same thing.

Of course, they had that many foreigners there last year, but every single one of them quit. Tired of being treated like children, cheated out of wages, being lied to even when the truth is harmless, and then being socked with fines and extra work when they complained, they all left, one by one.

I imagine that from the Chinese (Taiwanese) perspective, all those foreigners were insolent complainers, who needed a firm hand. What they really needed, in my opinion, is a union, but they're illegal in Taiwan. I'm sure next year will be the same, my former co-worker already having been lied to about several things before he's even started.

The school, staffed by Chinese managers who value face-saving above all other concerns, would never admit that they don't know what they're doing. So the cycle will continue. Foreigners will hate the place, and the school will acquire a new crop of them every year.

So be it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Got Milk?

When I was a kid, we always had a gallon of milk in the fridge. Once I was old enough to drive, it was frequently my duty to be the one to remember to pick it up from the store on the way home from somewhere. So, yeah, I like milk.

This is not a complaint about the local milk. Taiwan's milk is just fine. It's available in all the usual varieties (whole,2%,skim,chocolate,soy), as well as an additional host of more unusual choices (papaya, apple, banana, fruit, etc..)


It's only available in 2 liter jugs. In principle, that's fine, because our Taiwan fridge is small (about 4ft tall), and there are only two of us. And, it's quite a bit more expensive. Two liters of milk runs about $2.75 US.

Recently they have started selling 3L bottles. They still fit in our fridge, and necessitate fewer trips to the store. And the best part is that it actually makes me happier. It's nice to drink from a big new jug of milk, because it's guilt-free. You won't have to go back to the store for a couple of days, and you can still have cereal or Oreo cookies or a fucking milkshake. When you only have 2 liters at a time, it seems like you're always almost out. And you always need to save a little bit for next morning's coffee.

Oh, and as a random aside, I can't sort out what's wrong with the photo posting, so I won't be doing it for a while. It's not that important.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Ok.  Skip the pictures.

Tim and I went out to eat tonight.  On our fourth try, we finally found somplace to eat.  First place was closed on Mondays; second one was a little too local; third one had no food, just drinks; last one was open and serving food, but it turned out to be crap.  So now I'm fed, but barely.

Not important.  Must get back to television.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Today is Saturday.  The day that the "senior" class graduates from my kindergarten.  For some reason, kindergarten is up to 3 years long here, and some of the kids will have been here even longer if they started very young, like some do.  Can you imagine being in school 51 weeks a year when you're only 2 years old?

Anyway, none of my kids are graduating, but I still have to put on a suit and go watch them walk down an aisle and kick each other in their chairs for three hours.  Here's how I feel about that (my first attempted image post):


However, despite that sinking feeling, I did manage to update this page to reflect current links and maybe just a slight alteration or two for a new look.  You know those websites can't stay static.  Who wants everything to always be in the same place?  Besides me, I mean.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Hey everyone.  I honestly didn't know that anyone was still checking this.  That's the truth.  I'm not being modest or self-deprecating (although pointing it out is, in itself, kind of snooty), but I really haven't even thought about it.  I do kind of miss the habit of writing a little bit.  I think that must be what blogging is about for a lot of people.  Sure, there's the self-expression angle, but isn't it just nice to sit and write a few words that don't matter at all? 

I know a lot of people have to write things for work.  I actually have to write for my job.  As in, lots of fairly neat printing that is unlike my own personal handwriting.  I'm dealing with lots of people who have a tenuous grasp of English, and messy writing doesn't help anyone.  I could type, but then there's lots of tedious cutting and pasting instead.  Some of my printing has to be even neater, like making handwriting worksheets--does everyone remember this font?    Now, I'm using the computer for more of it, but it still isn't writing.

So, here are my meaningless words for the day.  No one at my school will read them, they're just for me and those of y'all stopping by.  I had to get that "y'all" out of my system.  It's been sitting inside me all week, surrounded by people who don't get that kind of crazy talk.


Monday, July 19, 2004

If you know what's good for you, you've stopped reading this blog by now.  I remember for one glorious day, my blog was the number one Google hit for "Made in Taiwan."  Must have been a mistake.
I went back to the states, had a great time visiting family, and now I'm back in Taiwan.  Tim and I just rented a car for a self-imposed three-day weekend and drove around with the car and a tent.  Our favorite campsite, in the mountains by a river, was completely washed away by the rains from Typhoon Mindulle last week.  I mean, totally washed away.  The levee broke and the river just ripped through, taking every damn bit of the place.  Now there's just rocks.
I'm back at the daily grind now, but it's Tuesday morning before work, and things seem quiet and calm.  This Saturday, me and six Chinese teachers will be performing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the kindergarten graduation ceremony.  Ick.  I'm playing the keyboard and singing, and they're playing xylophones.  It's too horrible to even contemplate. 
Have a good week.