Category Archives: Uncategorized

Adventures with Ideal Day: A Social Action Group in Taipei

Yesterday morning, I returned to a familiar spot to witness environmental awareness in action: Fuyang Eco Park, for a Scavenger Hunt organized by Ideal Day. It was 11 am, and the heat was just beginning to rise, but it was moist and shady until the umbrella of trees enveloping the entrance to the park. Participants in the scavenger hunt gathered in loose groups– the teams that they brought or formed on the spot– and Taiwanese and foreigners, students and professionals and families, all mingled together happily. Excited anticipation hung in the air.

“I’m so afraid to speak Chinese, afraid that people will laugh at me,” said an American student to a Taiwanese girl. “Don’t worry, we feel that way about speaking English!” her new friend replied. “We won’t laugh,” they all agreed. “Let’s practice both languages today.”

My new friend Dan is part of Ideal Day, a group for social action, philosophical discussions, and the promotion of social change through raising money and awareness about various causes. In May, they had their first event to raise money for a few different charities– and this weekend, the cause was the environment. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pippi Longstocking in Taipei

Friends + Cast after the show. Pippi is the one with the orange braids, of course!

Do you remember Pippi Longstocking, the beloved Swedish books (and movies) from your youth? Well, apparently Pippi has gone from the “south seas” all the way to Taipei, and our friend Bryan told us about a wonderful Swedish director’s version at a Taipei theater on Guling Street.

So we trooped down, for a live show in Chinese with Pippi, wiping the floors with towels strapped to her feet, dancing and singing with her friends, the white horse and the monkey Mr. Nilsson…. as well as a few human children too.

And it was surprisingly good! Great, even. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What I’ve Been Eating Lately

Sushi Express, you complete me.

So I’ve been packing and shipping boxes home the last week or two, as I enter my last month in Taiwan. Which leaves me very little extra energy to write every day, work on the book, make coffee, sleep, say good bye to  friends, follow up on research– let alone blog. (Also maybe I was being haunted in the fantasy treehouse–possibly).

But I still had time to eat!

So this is an unabashed excuses-making post, documenting some recent photos of food in Taipei. Aka: what I’ve been eating lately.

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost!

One of the lanterns at the Keelung Hungry Ghost Festival.

This month in Taiwan is Ghost Month. Like an extended Halloween or Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Ghost Month is the 7th month of the lunar calendar. Apparently during this time, the gates of the underworld fly open and the ghosts are unleashed into the land of the living.

Sound morbid or spooky? Luckily in Taiwan, Ghost Month is quite raucous, loud, full of bonfires, parties in front of temples, festivals, and sacrificial offerings of food, paper money, and treats for one’s ancestors– who are just on an extended visit. Like a summer holiday with the in-laws, if you will. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

13 Ways of Looking at a Coffeepot: An Expat Fable

Brilliant photo that captures my inner state by Lotzman Katzman, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

Let’s face it: everyone has an opinion on the best way to make coffee. Some are downright elitist about the obvious supremacy of their method, others are looking to trade up in the world of home brewed caffeine. Others, like myself, shoot for an optimal blend, if you will, of their priorities: for me, it’s convenience, consistency, and flavor. So when I found my perfect French press coffee maker about 2.5 years ago, it stuck. And as this summer has been all about daily routines– writing routines; research at libraries, archives and doing interviews; waking up before 11am–the coffee routine has settled into a flow of shared French-pressing with my coffee-drinking roommate.

Until the day. The Coffee. Stopped. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pop Goes My Heart: Taiwanese Songs for Every Occasion

Click here to check out more of Crowd Lu (盧廣仲, Lu Guang-Zhong)'s songs!

So everyone I know is, has, is about to, or is starting to think about leaving Taiwan. WHY is expat life sometimes like living in a freaking train station?!?!  Okay, rant over. It’s just I’ve been doing a lot of saying goodbye to lovely people who I adore, for say, the last few weeks (and also, 2-6 months), and sometimes, words are just not enough.

Sometimes, you need a good pop song.* Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

On the Writing Life: Chip Cheek, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, and Grub Street

This is how my writing desk is.... in my head. Photo by EvilErin, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

This week has turned into a week of writing about writing; how meta. Writing spaces, writing discipline, reactions to when writing gets read, reactions to when I’m bored with the sound of my own voice and it’s late at night and instead of analyzing my next stack of research I start reading funny blogs on the interwebs….

So now, to come full circle, here are some thoughts on the thoughts of some of my favorite Boston-based emerging writers, Chip Cheek and Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. Chip is primarily a fiction writer, and Alexandria, nonfiction, and they were at times classmates, friends, and mentors of mine at Emerson College when I was doing my MFA in creative nonfiction writing.  Both of them published quite incisive articles recently on the Grub Street Blog, so here are excerpts and links, to share their thoughts on getting writing done, and prioritizing one’s choices when you’ve chosen to be a writer: Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized